[Bell Historians] My recent query

Susan Dalton dalton.family at v...
Fri Jun 6 21:18:39 BST 2003

I think the answer is that we don't really know. The best ­ indeed probably
the only ­ indication is from the few surviving pre-Reformation rings of
five bells (just 2) and four bells (not many), and the rather more rings of
three. But subsequent re-tuning can distort the picture.

Ipswich St Lawrence bells (a mixture) are, so far as I can remember, more or
less in the normal major scale. Certainly St Bartholomew-the-Great bells
(London-cast) are, but then these have been re-tuned at Whitechapel.

Of the fours, Fawsley bells (Ldondon-cast) are major and have not been
re-tuned. Thurlbear (Exeter-cast) also major, more or less, and again not
re-tuned. I have measured the pitches of both these rings. Torbryan I
think have been re-tuned. Cambridge St Botolph I think haven't been.

When it comes to rings of three, I have found major rings and minor ones
(i.e. with a semitone or thereabouts between the treble and 2nd or between
the 2nd and tenor). A lot depended both on the founder's aims and his skill
at achieving them.

Christopher Dalton.

>From: "Mike Chester" <mike at m...>
>To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
>Subject: [Bell Historians] My recent query
>Date: Fri, Jun 6, 2003, 9:31 am

> I am surprised not to get any response to my query of Sunday. I had
> thought that between us we must know everything about bell history!
> ;-)
> What I have been asked is:
> I understand that in the late 1500's most churches had from three to
> five
>> bells, but can't find out how they were typically tuned (except
> that they
>> used Just Intonation). Would it have been a series such as A B C D
> E, or
>> would it have been more like A B D E G ?
> Can someome give any snippet of information that I can send back?
> Does anyone know who may be able to give me an answer?
> Mike
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