“Two Guitars” by the Kinjo Gakuin University Handbell Choir

Posted By Derek Nance on Sep 17, 2015 | 2 comments


I try to post from a diversity of ensembles to spotlight all the awesome things happening around the handbell world, but the Kinjo Gakuin University Handbell Choir keeps pulling me in with their spectacular performances that I feel everyone should see.  Recently posted on their YouTube account was this performance of “Two Guitars”, a traditional Russian folk song arranged by L. Campbell Bunting from their 23rd Christmas Concert in December, 2012.  Their mastery of both tempo and dynamics during this piece is stunning.

Watching the marts at the beginning of the piece reminded me of an argument Brian Seemann and I had when I lived with him.  We were both taught that you should hold the bell two tacos above the table before marting as a way to visualize how far the bell should travel before striking the table. I’m not sure where the two tacos theory originates from, but somehow on different coasts we both had been taught the same concept. However, I always visualized the two tacos standing up on top of each other, where as Brian thought the tacos were laying sideways on top of each other.  We spent quite a while debating the merits or taco rotation in relation to mart distance.

The girls in this video obviously are on my side of the argument.  They start their marts at least two standing-up tacos from the table, and they all sound perfect.

Maybe this is a difference in culture.  Since I live on the west coast where tacos are everywhere, I just naturally picture tacos standing up because tacos laying on their side are useless.  But maybe on the East Coast where they don’t have as many tacos they don’t have any preconceived notions regarding taco orientation.  Or maybe I’m just overthinking this whole debate…

Where do you stand on the issue or mart height?  Two tacos upright or two tacos sideways?  Let us know in the comments.