PItch of bells

Bill Hibbert bill at h...
Tue Jun 24 09:27:21 BST 2003

Chris Pickford:

> "why can one always hear a strong fourth in big bells?"

This is a virtual pitch, not a real partial, and arises because the 
ear is presented with several harmonic series and picks out one based 
on a harmonic higher than the nominal. The reason why we hear big 
bells, normal-sized bells and little bells differently is down to the 
ear's differing sensitivity to different frequencies. Ears are most 
sensitive to frequencies from about 1 kHz to 3 kHz and so we tend to 
hear a note between 500 and 1500 Hz, roughly, whatever the size of 
bell, if there is a harmonic series present to give a suitable 
virtual pitch.

I fear the above is a rather woffly explanation, I had in mind an 
article on the pitch of Britain's big bells, sometime, to go into it 

Bill H

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