Did you hear a handful of bells, maybe high and low, striking fast, percussive rhythms? You may have heard zvon.
Zvon refers to the set of bells prevalent in the Russian Orthodox Church, but also present in Eastern Europe. In this ringing method, the bells remain stationary and each clapper is equipped with a rope. One, two, or more players take the ropes and perform repetitive rhythmic patterns, sometimes via foot pedals! Often a large bell keeps the pulse while the small bells play at a much faster pace. The bells are usually untuned, preserving a unique timbre for each bell.
Zvon enact an important liturgical function in the Church, often referred to as singing icons, so you’ll only hear them in a Russian Orthodox or other Orthodox Church. There are precious few in North America, most of them on the west coast.