True-harmonic and Simpson tuning

Bill Hibbert bill at h...
Fri May 23 16:37:28 BST 2003

David Cawley, quoting Whitechapel:

> ... first 'Simpson' ring ... He did not use
> the expression 'true-harmonic' which I believe
> is confined to Taylors.

One or two people have contacted me off list to comment on the use 
(and confusion) of the terms 'true-harmonic' and 'Simpson' tuning. 
There is a case for clarification here.

I use the term 'true-harmonic' to describe those bells which have 
hum, prime and nominal tuned in octaves to +- 10 cents. I do this for 
a number of reasons:
* the phrase 'Simpson tuning' has been used widely without a clear 
definition of its meaning
* using the term begs the historical question of just how much 
influence Simpson had over Taylor's 1890s developments
* there are many 'Simpson tuned' bells (for example, Whitechapel true-
harmonic bells with sharp quints) which do not follow Simpson's 
* Simpson actually suggests tuning some bells with major tierces!

I would strongly advocate the use of 'true-harmonic' as the more 
precise term.

Bill H

PS It was Steve Ivin who first made me think properly about this 
subject a few years ago.

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