[Bell Historians] Pitches of bells

Dickon Love dickon.love at ...
Mon Jun 13 14:35:43 BST 2005

DLB said:

> In some cases, notes tend not to be 
> used - it is rare to find bells described as being in B#, E# or 
Gb, for 
> example, so C, F and F# respectively will almost always be used in 
> cases.
> With regard to the point about how the other notes are described, 
I think 
> that they have to be described to be consistent with the note 
given for the 
> tenor - e.g. C#, Eb, F, Gb, G#, A#, C, C# would be inconsistent 
and messy.

David - you have contradicted yourself. I agree that B# would never 
be identified as the pitch of the tonic, but there are certain key 
signatures which use B# rather than C higher in the scale, so it 
would be entirely appropriate to use that. 

A bells in a ring (these days) are put together to be consistent 
with one another and form an instrument in their own right. 
Therefore convention dictates the use of Fx, B#, etc on occasions. 
Sometimes the bells are just put together as a random collection (I 
rang a quarter on one such set of 3 on Saturday!) in which case this 
does not apply and absolute pitches are best used.

As I said earlier, I would never use Cb, B#, E#, Fb or any double 
sharps/double flats to describe the key of a ring (or any bell that 
is not in a scale). But it is fair game to include them in 
describing the resultant scale (as has been done at Brasted).

I am grateful to the responses from our current (and ex) bell tuners.



Andrew Higson said:
"(psst, Nigel - we could market both f#s and g flats as essential 
and boost bell sales!)"

Well Andrew, every little helps, as Prunella Scales would say... :)


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