Carillonneur? Guild?

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Carillonneur? Guild?

Postby JohnGouwens on Tue Jan 01, 2013 9:39 pm

In the fall 2012 issue of Carillon News, I came upon a column by Margo Halsted, proposing we all call ourselves carillonists, and call our organization "Carillon Musicians of North America." Here it is:
====================================================
Carillon News, No. 88, November 2012
What's in a Name?
Two Proposals to Consider
by Margo Halsted

Language has the power to shape our thinking about almost everything. Words and names are extremely important and should be as exact as possible. This short article will present two naming changes the GCNA should consider.

I have been using the word "carillonist" for quite a few years to tell what I am and what I do. There are four reasons why I prefer the word carillonist to carillonneur.
The word follows the English language practice for performers of other musical instruments (pianist, violinist, etc.). When I say, "I'm a carillonist," a listener under¬stands and thinks, "Ah, she plays the carillon." The person may not know what a carillon is, but will strongly suspect it's a musical instrument.
However, if I say, "I'm a carillonneur," most people look confused, and those who know French likely think, "Hmm ... she is a male French something. How strange."
Carillonist is fairly easy to spell and to pronounce. Almost none of us pronounce the traditional French word correctly, and many misspell it.

Using an unusual male French word for what we are is inexact and sounds pretentious. Here I quote from an e-mail sent to me this year from one of our particularly knowledgeable and worldly colleagues, Carlo van Ulft, the Centralia Carillonist who heads the North American branch of the Belgian Carillon School, "I have the feeling that, in the minds of people who are unfamiliar with the carillon (which is probably 99.5% of the US population), the word "carillonneur" puts us outside the realm of "musicians" and tends to generate the impression of a well-trained hobbyist or someone who tries to keep alive an an¬cient, dying art form."
Fellow musicians, let's seriously con¬sider giving up the anachronistic "carillon¬neur" designation that doesn't really mean anything to the general public. Let's join the 21st century mainstream of musical culture.

In addition, here is one related and even more important proposal. Recently, the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers changed the official name of their organization. What is the new name? "Handbell Musicians of America." What good sense they had to make that change! Take a few minutes to think about our or¬ganization's name. "Guild"? What is a Guild? "Carillonneurs"? What is a "carillonneur"? A new title for our organization would be a most beneficial change. The word "musicians" in the title is key to placing us in the correct context. Colleagues, please seriously consider this sug¬gested new title: "Carillon Musicians of North America." These words could mean something much more exact, interesting, and worthwhile to us and to our audiences and supporters.

Adjacent from that was a column by Carlo van Ulft about electric strikers, such as have turned up in portable carillons in Russia and the one owned by Frank Steijns.
I have sent an extensive "Letter to the Editor" about both, but I couldn't resist, it's really a discussion topic, so I am going ahead and posting them here as well. I'll put my response to Margo's column here, since it's guild business. The other one I will put under "technical discussions." Have fun, and jump in if so inclined!

My response:
Carillonneur? Guild?

I think my friend Carlo van Ulft is right, that the great majority (I'm hoping it isn't quite 99.5% but it could be) of North Americans have no idea what a carillon is. The bongatron industry has only made that worse, of course. The challenge we face isn't coming up with a more "understandable" term for the player - it's helping people understand what the instrument is in the first place. If people don't know what the root word is, it won't matter what suffix you put to it. Calling a person who gives massages a "masseur" or "masseuse" doesn't seem to have confused people about what a massage is, and massage parlors (as well as more legitimate massage clinics) show no sign of a decline in popularity because the people giving them have a French suffix on the French word for what they do. In that sense, Arthur Bigelow and Anton Brees really had a better idea, calling themselves "Bell Masters." (I will entertain no protests about the "master" part of that until somebody claims on a biography to have completed a "mistress's degree" in music, or anything else for that matter.) If our organization really did change its name, I would adjust my title accordingly, but for all the posturing we've seen from people about this over the years, the idea hasn't taken hold.

Moving to "guild," Ms. Halsted seems to believe that people don't know what a guild is. I know that those of us who were educated in other parts of the country learned that guilds existed (and still exist today) to establish standards as well as to protect mutual interests of its practitioners. That definition is still in place, in any English dictionary. The Carillonneur Member examination continues to be an important part of the GCNA's activity, even though most voting rights have been extended to Associate Members (some of whom, I remind you, have never attended even one GCNA congress). It's considered important enough, still, to be the topic of extensive argument, so nobody can seriously refute that the effort to establish "standards" isn't a significant part of the role of the organization. (I say this as somebody who has participated very actively in those discussions, and more than once been the target of criticism for same. People do care about it!) The addition of the Associate Carillonneur Examination to GCNA activities underscores a still broader mission on the part of the GCNA to promote standards - on more than one level, no less! Calling ourselves an "association" or a "society" does not acknowledge that role at all, but sounds more like a social group (not that we don't have an element of that, of course). A title like "Carillon Musicians of North America," which Ms. Halsted suggests, doesn't imply that there is any organization at all, and that the group might exclude those of questionable musicianship. (No further comment needed on those two points.)

Guild is certainly not an archaic word. There is an abundance of them today, such as the Writers Guild, Screen Writers Guild, the Guild of Book Workers (which is involved in setting standards for book bindings, among other things), the Piano Technicians Guild (which also does examination and certification), the American Guild of Organists of course, and copious others. Some guilds, such as the Screen Writers Guild, are more labor unions than guilds in the traditional sense, but honestly, the GCNA fits the definition much better than many of those other guilds do. In short, by keeping our titles, and our organization's name, we identify ourselves with an art that has already a distinguished and fascinating history, we set our purposes up front in the name of our organization, and we honor the example set before us by the pioneers who founded our organization.

- John Gouwens, Culver Academies
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Re: Carillonneur? Guild?

Postby FrancesNewell on Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:31 am

The word "guild" implies a pride in excellent craftsmanship.
That's a long tradition that I think we should be associated with when our name comes up.
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Re: Carillonneur? Guild?

Postby CarlSZimmerman on Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:41 am

I'm totally with John on retention of the word Guild in our organizational name. No other word does quite as well in describing the kind of organization we have.

However, I'm with Margo on the matter of occupational naming. I wrote up the rationale for using "carillonist" several years ago, in the online glossary which is now on my website:

http://www.towerbells.org/data/Glossary_alpha.html#cplayer

Actually, it connects very neatly to what John wrote about most people not knowing what a carillon is. Say "carillonneur" and they'll conclude from the suffix that it must be something French. Say "carillonist" and they'll probably conclude from the suffix that it means someone who plays the carillon - whatever that is. Although they still don't know exactly what a carillon is, they have at least a clue that it is something that people play, and they might even deduce that it's a musical instrument. That's a big step in the right direction.

I'm not campaigning for a change in the name of our organization; after all, we have a long and honorable history. But if there was a groundswell of opinion in that direction, I'd almost certainly support it.

Meanwhile, on the TowerBells Website I use "carillonist" as the generic term but carefully respect "carillonneur" in titles.
Carl Scott Zimmerman
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - home of at least 36 bell foundries or bell sellers, 1821-1961.
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Re: Carillonneur? Guild?

Postby JohnGouwens on Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:49 am

Of course, I can't resist pointing out that when Ron Barnes first launched this "carillonist" crusade, you (Carl) eagerly changed your database listing, and called everybody a "carillonnist," thus showing that we don't eliminate spelling ambiguities by changing the term. As long as we're the Guild of Carillonneurs, I'm a "carillonneur." Lots of luck changing that!
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Re: Carillonneur? Guild?

Postby CarlSZimmerman on Thu Jan 03, 2013 4:06 pm

John, I wouldn't change a thing about you!
Carl Scott Zimmerman
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - home of at least 36 bell foundries or bell sellers, 1821-1961.
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What's In A Name? -- comments 01/09/13

Postby Ennis Fruhauf on Wed Jan 09, 2013 5:41 pm

GCNA Carillon News, No. 88, November 2012, p. 10
What's in a Name?
Two Proposals to Consider
by Margo Halsted

Response, Rebuttal and Comments
Ennis Fruhauf
Posted 01/09/2013

I am taking the liberty of airing several points of interest presented in Margo Halsted's article from the November 2012 issue of GCNA Carillon News, p. 10, (copied from the posted GCNA website .pdf file).

Two primary issues are: 1.) use of the term carillonist in preference to carillonneur; and 2.) the continuing use of the terms guild and carillonneur in the GCNA's organizational title.

In spite of my university carillon schooling under the guidance of Percival Price, whose cultural heritage favored the term carillonneur over other usages, I understand the desire for alternative names for players. The traditional French term, with its two sets of double consonants, a liquid double 'l' and final rolled 'r', can easily become a mouthful for non-Francophiles. It is useful to remember that the guild's name was in part the product of a germinal 'congress' – or meeting – at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and was held in an era when French cultural manifestations were very much in vogue, as was the Franco-Belgian carillon tradition.

In regard to gender-sensitive nouns and endings, a multitude of world cultures and nationalities have employed masculine gender nouns and endings with all-inclusive intentions, such as human and humanity, mankind, and so on. Given the nature of 21st century gender-inclusive vocabulary, the use of many quasi-poetic or chivalrous etiquettes from the past are now irrelevant and outdated to some –- but continue to be favored by others. When dealing with programming and publicity, one can always avoid specific player terminology by falling back on alternative phraseology, such as: 'A Carillon Recital by [name of performer],' or 'On [date], [name] will play a carillon recital,' or 'John Doe, Carillon Recitalist . . .', etc., thus avoiding the question of gender-specific suffixes (i.e.: -eur, -euse, ette, -ist, -ista, etc.) applied to players.

As for use of the term carillonneur in the GCNA title, and in consideration of optional organizational titles, it is easy to understand the author's desire to devise a new label for an ongoing society facing 21st century aesthetics, values and trends. To my thinking, replacement of Carillonneur with Carillon Musicians fails to do justice to the diverse activities and nature of the guild. As it now exists, the GCNA includes trained performers, composers, arrangers, students, teachers, scholars, librarians, research and communications experts, bell founders and consultants, technicians and repair personnel, music publishers, advocates, supporters, and hobbyists. To relabel the GCNA and group all of its components together under the title carillon musicians falls short of providing a comprehensive umbrella.

Regarding the author's desire to discontinue use of the term guild from the organizational name, there are multiple traditional options to consider: society, club, association, organization, institute, etc. In consideration of a specific group ethos with deeply specialized, esoteric and historical roots, use of the term guild is certainly appropriate: the GCNA collects dues: it works to maintain and elevate standards and protect the interests of its constituents; it also promotes increased public awareness, and serves as an exceptional source of printed music and educational materials, all the while helping to preserve a historical link.

Now, back to 'What's in a name?' The author has suggested 'Carillon Musicians of North America'. I suggest for theoretical consideration several alternatives, offered in multiple formats: 'Carillon Guild in [or of] America'; or 'Carillon Guild in [or of] North America'; 'American Carillon Guild', or 'North American Carillon Guild', etc. The use of Guild could easily be replaced by Society, Association, Club, Organization, Institute, etc. The avoidance of Carillon Musicians refocuses the primary unifying device on the carillon – that is, the instrument itself – rather than on the player, thus providing an all-inclusive umbrella that is unfettered by gender-sensitive terminology and/or suffixes.

Finally, is there any need to consider the ramifications of a name change? For starters, multiple licensings, registrations, listings, documentations and filings would have to be reprocessed. Multiple website pages and materials, printed forms, documents and stationary would require revisions, including a complete body of music publications, informational booklets, and promotional materials.

All in all, I recommend tradition as an invaluable asset, particularly in this instance. While recognizing the validity of Margo's comments, I am biased by the practicalities of no change as weighed against implementation of trendy updates that might in the long run alienate a large body of retro-conservatives, all the while falling short of the goal to modernize -– or 'jazz up' -– the title image of a music medium with such unique historical roots.
Last edited by Ennis Fruhauf on Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:06 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What's In A Name? -- comments 01/09/13

Postby JohnGouwens on Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:08 pm

Ah yes, good point about licensing and legal documents! Though I obviously advocate keeping the titles we have, I will point out that "Guild of Carillonneurs in North America" isn't particularly inclusive of bellfounders, publishers, and fans of bells. The bottom line is still, how much difference would it make in familiarizing the general public with the instrument and what we do? As I've remarked already, I don't foresee such changes making a whit of difference. I believe our energies would be far better spent on publicizing what we do, and practicing enough to play well when we are performing.
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Re: What's In A Name? -- comments 01/09/13

Postby JohnGouwens on Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:16 pm

Note! Ennis had posted "What's In a Name?" separately. As moderator, I saw that they were really all one topic. I therefore merged them! Since Ennis quoted Margo's original comments from Carillon News, I deferred to his title for the topic. It should be possible for all of you to see it and comment still. If for some reason that isn't working, please let me know.

Similarly, if I see that some discussions drift off to another topic, I can (and will) split topics, and when necessary will merge the results of those splits to others.
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Re: Carillonneur? Guild?

Postby WylieCrawford on Fri Feb 01, 2013 4:32 pm

Here's another take on "carillonist":

I appreciate Carl's respecting individuals' chosen designations as "carillonneurs" on his TowerBells.org website, but I note that the bold heading for each such person is "Carillonist" (which, by the way, could be construed as campaigning for a change). I can imagine it would be a bit confusing to visitors to his site to find that listings of "Carillonists" include "Carillonneurs." It is worth noting that he lists all sorts of people as carillonists (or sometimes "Players,") whether or not they have any affiliation with our Guild or any demonstrated musical ability. So perhaps we might conclude that, per his usage, anyone who claims to play bells at all where a traditional carillon exists can be designated a carillonist and that only those who have passed some kind of Guild examination have the right to call themselves carillonneurs, or associate carillonneurs, or honorary carillonneurs.

On a historical note, when this listing was part of the GCNA's website, I remember being asked by the Board - many years ago - to ask Carl to change the "Carillonist" headings he instituted to a more generic term, which I believe was "Performer" and he willingly complied. I think a more generic heading like this would better suit the TowerBells.org site - thus allowing each individual to adopt "Carillonneur", "Carillonist", "Carilloner", or "Can-Kicker" within each listing. We could then track the relative popularity of each title without prejudice to any of them.
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Re: Carillonneur? Guild?

Postby JohnGouwens on Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:34 pm

Further to this topic, I had a *very* interesting conversation last night with Denis-Pierre Villenave. Denis-Pierre plays the bells at Notre Dame, Buglose, France - Paccard bells connected to the only extant and working Maisonnave machine. Denis is a walking encyclopedia of campanological knowledge, especially in France. It turns out that though the term "carillonneur" has been standard in the North of France (Douai, Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, Dunkirk, Tourcoing), in most of France, the "eur" suffix is considered pejorative - representing an amateur. "Carillonniste" is the term usually indicative of an accomplished (diploma-holding) carillon player. About 10 years ago, the French guild voted to change what they called the player, That's interesting, for sure, but there are some who are reticent. Moreover, their organization is still called the "Guilde des carillonneurs de France." That guild's website doesn't seem to use the "carillonniste" designation.

Naturally, I asked Denis-Pierre about whether "eur" is pejorative in "chauffeur." His amusing response: chauffeur = car driver chauffeuse = hooker (prostitute). Oh my!! He says all carillonnistes are also carillonneurs (the latter being a broader term), but not all carillonneurs are perforce carillonistes.

So where does that leave us? Well, we can all have our own opinions, I guess. This does seem to weaken the argument against "bastardizing" a French root word.
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