[Bell Historians] non standard tuning

Mark Humphreys mark.humphreys at b...
Tue Feb 17 12:55:38 GMT 2004

Howard Smith:
Given the words major and minor keys we then get round to Dorian, Phygrian,
Ionian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian. These are words that
medieval founders would never have heard of let alone be able to tune to.

I'm not so sure this is true. If you mean that the words were not in use to
describe these modes, then that is not the case. Modes of this name date
back to the days of Horace, Lucian, Boethius (much beloved of music scholars
everywhere ...) and others. If you are asking whether bellfounders were
sufficiently educated to know about these things, I think we cannot be
certain. It was a trade, passed on through generations, and whilst they
(presumably) did not often deliberately cast rings based on different modes,
they may well have been aware of the concept.


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