The Crossover

Bill Hibbert bill at h...
Wed Mar 10 16:51:13 GMT 2004

I am very grateful to Chris Pickford, Andrew Wilby and Andrew Higson 
for providing such a comprehensive response to my original question. 
The list of towers and dates is very helpful. Here are some thoughts 
now that I have digested the information:

As regards which tower was the first true-harmonic, it's actually the 
evolutionary process I find fascinating, rather than trying to attach 
a label to any particular point. I will say, though, to agree with 
AH, that I heard the flat prime of the third at Norton from the 
ringing room before doing any analysis. Perhaps my ears are over-
sensitive to these things now!

The excitement in Taylor's foundry as the experiments and events of 
1896 unfolded must have been considerable - to solve the puzzle so 
quickly after so long. I wonder what the commercial management of the 
foundry had to say about so many recastings and retunings?

Chris Pickford asks why people think of an eight as being the first t-
h peal rather than a lesser number. My answer to this would be that 
it is the compass which is the challenge as much as producing an 
individual good bell. There are so many old-style peals which have 
good tenors and bad trebles, or more rarely good trebles and bad 
tenors. I think the big breakthrough was the casting of the trebles 
of higher numbers to ringing weights while getting the prime right.

John Walton asks why some t-h bells from later periods are less 
revered. I am still experimenting away at this one but would suggest 
that the factors include:
* tuning of partials other than hum, prime and nominal, mostly a 
matter of bell shape
* metal content, especially forced by tin shortages at various times
* clappering, and
* tower acoustics.
There are a number of reasons why founders might make changes. These 
* Tierce tuning. Equal-tempered carillons need equal-tempered tierces 
rather than the just tierces which Taylor t-h originally used
* Economics. I guess, without being able to prove it yet, that some 
profiles take less mass of bronze for a given note than those 
originally devised.
All speculation at this point.

Bill H

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