Non-diatonic rings

David Bryant davidbryant at h...
Thu Jan 6 20:24:16 GMT 2005

> Two real examples. Ugborough is described as 1-8 of 12. But, having 
> rung there, it was clearly not ever a possibility of them being a 
> I would say that 'second flat' is a much better description.
> My second example is Gidleigh, which are described as 1flat,2,3,4,5 
> of 6. But actually (I assume, I do not know their history) the 
> situation is that they are a set of bells which came together over 
> time without consideration of tuning, apart from the modern Taylor 
> bell. In this case, 'non-diatonic' is a more historically 
> explanation.

I think the point is that whatever system is used it should describe 
what the bells acutally are rateehr than just noting that they aren't 
major. I suppose the present system has come into use because many 
ringers aren't musical, and by describing it relative to a 'normal' 
ring it is something they can relate to in a way which perhaps they 
wouldn't with descriptions such as '2nd a semitone flat', or '5th a 
semitone sharp, or by describing the mode which the bells are in. I 
see that even the term minor is disappearing in favour of 
descriptions such as '1-3 of 4'.

> Now, in fun, I wonder if we should describe St Peter, St Albans 
as '3-
> 12 of 12' or West Bromwich, before the fire, as '5-12 of 12'? 
> I had better get back to work!

Where bells are hung in frames for more (or even where there is just 
the grillage for more) it is common to number the fittings relative 
to the intended total number. I notice from a photo that the 
headstocks of the new ten at Crediton are numbered 3-12, and I can 
think of a number of examples of sixes (e.g. Bishopthorpe) where the 
fittings are numbered 3-8.


More information about the Bell-historians mailing list