Trebles on higher numbers

Andrew Wilby andrew at w...
Mon Aug 9 18:30:00 BST 2004

I have measured quite a lot of bells now and can claim no substantial evidence
that a heavier bell is significantly louder in itself. The loudness will be a
function of the speed at which the bell rotates and the force with which the
clapper strikes it.

With smaller bells you can actually make them measurably louder by pulling them
harder! Exactly the same as with the more obvious example of a handbell.

One case for not having tiny trebles centres on the swing time issue as David
says, which then relates to the force with which the clapper hits the bell.
Another case relates to the tonality of smaller bells when compared to the
larger bells in the ring.

The other complication here is that the higher the pitch the more energy is
required to make the metal vibrate.

Again prove that to yourself with a tuning fork or a hand-bell. The big deep
ones can be sounded with not much more than a gentle stroke whereas the tiny
high pitched ones require a firm smack.

So the larger the treble the easier it is to get a comparative volume out of it
providing the hang is such that the clapper swing generates sufficient force.

Oddly you might think, bellfounders concentrate on matching note and tone and
even hang but the main criteria that ringers judge the result by, the volume, is
not measured at all or considered by them to be anything other than a
circumstance of chance.


> David Bryant, in his article on the difference between rings and
> chimes, says:
> "When producing early rings of eight, ten and twelve bells, the
> founders discovered that it was necessary to make the front two, four
> or six bells respectively larger and heavier than a bell of that note
> would normally be in order to make them powerful enough when heard
> amongst the larger bells, and to equalise the timing of their swing
> with that of the rest of the ring."
> The mechanical argument about time of swing I absolutely accept. But
> is there any evidence that a bell cast to a thicker scale sounds
> louder? Or that one can put a heavier clapper in without knocking the
> bell to bits?
> Bill H
> Yahoo! Groups Links

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