Non-standard tuning

Bill Hibbert bill at h...
Tue Feb 17 12:21:26 GMT 2004

In response to Howard Smith's post, and various other discussions:

If a peal of bells is out of tune I would suggest they should be 
described as 'Out of Tune'. Seems fairly descriptive to me! The 
trouble with 'Old Style' as a term for this is that it is already in 
use to mean something rather different (sharp hums, and flat primes 
especially in the smaller bells).

I am writing a long reply in my mind to the various posts on 'minor 
modes' but have not had time to put hand to keyboard. For example, I 
have just recorded and analysed Mancroft. These are old style, of 
course, but to describe them as out of tune is quite wrong. They are 
much more 'in tune' than I had anticipated and show evidence of well 
controlled design. Listening to them, I can understand why the old 
peals at Bow and Coventry were held in such high regard a century 

I disagree with DJB (and by implication Chris P). I think it is often 
possible to infer the intentions of founders of old - not from one 
peal, because tuning errors mask the scheme - but certainly by 
examining and comparing multiple examples of their work. I'll try to 
give some examples when I write properly.

I do agree, as I said before, that many 'out of tune' peals are just 
that - a collection of bells with notes that through historical 
accident don't correspond to any particular plan.

Bill H

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