Pitches of bells

Richard Offen richard at ...
Mon Jun 13 16:07:08 BST 2005

--- In bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com, "Dickon Love" 
<dickon.love at a...> wrote:
> 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 
> these 
> > 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 
> 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 
> DrL
> P.S.
> 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... :)

Alas, to most ringers, the key of a ring simply means a little column 
to fill in on the 'Towers Visited' page in their Ringers Diary and it 
wouldn't really matter to them if the bells were in 'K blunt' (I can 
think of a few rings that are!). Surely for those who are 
interested in this matter, the only really meaningful method of 
giving the pitch of the tenor, and the other bells in a ring, is to 
do that: give the nominal frequencies in Hz.



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