[Bell Historians] Stretch tuning

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at viXn0VFChU9yVsCt6p93XI_XbDeWEPjNm22SJVAlGIAgOGxpdrEnAxgT4BajJSvDlsrDOFttJimMre_sAg.yahoo.invalid
Tue Dec 4 19:19:50 GMT 2007

Bill Hibbert asked,
>Does anyone have first-hand (or at least reliable) knowledge of how
>Taylors did their stretch tuning in the 1950s and 1960s?

and other messages seem to show that the first stretch-tuned Taylor 
rings were Evesham in 1951 and Liverpool (Pier Head) in 1952.  This 
fits with remarks in Bill's online article "Bell pitch and nominal 

I first heard of stretch tuning in 1967 in a very different context, 
when Frederick C. Mayer spoke informally to the GCNA Congress at 
Princeton University.  Mayer had been organist of the Cadet Chapel at 
West Point Military Academy for more than half his life (1911-1954), 
and had supervised its enlargement into what has been billed as the 
largest working church organ in the world (4/380).  For much of his 
working life, he was also a highly respected organ designer and 
consultant, and this led to his becoming a carillon consultant as 
well.  By the time of the Princeton Congress, he was quite elderly 
and somewhat frail, but nevertheless spoke with enthusiasm and vigor 
about his involvement in the development of some of the great 
English-made carillons of the 1920s and 30s, and especially about the 
importance of stretch tuning in the trebles of larger instruments 
(four octaves or more).  I recall very distinctly Mayer's stress on 
the fact that the perfectly tuned trebles of the very first large 
modern carillons sounded flat to the ear, making stretch tuning 
necessary to produce a good musical effect.  (It's unfortunate that 
no record of Mayer's remarks was made.)

Nowadays, stretch tuning seems to be widely accepted for use on 
several different kinds of instruments.  Even so, it seems to be 
generally restricted to the outer ends of large-compass instruments 
(piano, harp), and the details of its use vary with the type of 

With that background, I ask,

1.  What was Taylors' rationale for applying stretch tuning to a 
compass as small as an octave, or a ring of 12?

2.  When did Taylors begin to apply stretch tuning to carillon bells?

3.  To what extent is stretch tuning found in the work of G&J and of 
Whitechapel?  (rings, chimes and carillons)



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