Stretch tuning

Richard Offen richard.offen at
Thu Dec 6 14:31:30 GMT 2007

I am
> aware of one stretched peal from Whitechapel from this period
> (Cornhill 1958) but perhaps there are others I haven't come across.

A quick mental calculation, from the nominal figures give in the
'on-line' Dove ,suggest an overal stretch of about 15 cents.   This has
more than likely come about because Bill Hughes liked to do the final
tuning of the octave bells of a ring by ear (he had a very accurate
one!) and was an advocate of allowing a small amount of stretch (it
usually ended up at about 6-8 cents for the treble of a ring of eight),
in order to make the octave sound natural to the ear.

Again, with another quick mental calculation, Great Yarmouth appear to
have about the same stretch of abpout 15 cents.   I seem to remember
that Bow also have a small amount of stretch and probably Cripplegate

We also mustn't forget that these rings are tuned 'just diatonic' and
not to equal temperament, so the cent values between adjacent bells will
not appear as would be the case if they were equal temperament peals.

> > Richard Offen and St George's Perth:
> Richard's comment that the trebles are thin is an important clue. If
> this is so, the strike notes will not be flattened to the same
> degree as for thick trebles. It sounds as if stretch has been
> applied in a formulaic way to these bells when it was not needed.
> Tuning figures (especially the octave nominals) would settle the
> matter. Plus, Richard used to be a bell tuner ...
I haven't pitched the upper partials of St George's, but I could do it
at some point when I have time - certainly not in the next couple of

I've always maintained that my days as a tuner ruined my enjoyment of
many rings of bells that others class as 'good', like, no doubt, Andrew
Higson and Nigel Taylor, I can hear things going on that others don't
notice.   There again, as, for some strange reason, I rather like the
old Cornhill bells (it's probably more nostalgia than anything!), some
would doubt that I can hear anything adequately!


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