[Bell Historians] Retunes

Andrew Bull a_m_bull at vS6kPWkRDCBEZ0Lq27C6laK3Q8ttoVwzzXIxWv3tX8CsPlXuNBdC0pNbX8pbe2AQrq8FMrHzh7AZfB8w3DXw.yahoo.invalid
Mon Nov 24 20:21:44 GMT 2008

Thanks, Andrew - it certainly gives a little insight. No doubt a lot of it
is down to experience.


Presumably the profile of the bells is an important factor - I should think
that no one would consider trying to get, for example, a 19th century Mears
bell tuned to true-harmonic, though I seem to recall that something along
those lines was tried in 1903 on the back eight at Isleworth, with limited
success. I know of a few instances of Rudhall rings being retuned to near
true-harmonic; I find it particularly intriguing that while the tenor at
Michaelston-Y-Fedw (Rudhall 1782) was a sour old-style bell pre-tuning, its
neighbour the fifth had all partials quite close to true-harmonic. 


I would be interested to know the details of how shape and thickness affect
the balance and relationship of the partials, and how they are tuned.
Perhaps this could be the subject matter for Bill Hibbert's next phase of


Andrew Bull



From: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com [mailto:bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com]
On Behalf Of Andrew Higson
Sent: 24 November 2008 11:38
To: bellhistorians at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Bell Historians] Retunes


I'm not sure if Ruth actually asked for a refund, but my usual comment when
asked that sort of question is that it would have taken extra time to remove
that amount of metal so it cancels itself out.

The way in which a set of bells is re-tuned - given a free hand which rarely
happens these days - is down to what the bell tuner thinks he is able or
wants to achieve. Some of my illustrious predecessors (particularly the
eponymous ones) were not keen on the idea of improving bells so much by
tuning them that they sounded significantly better, but were more apt to get
them to sound the same as before but the right note. 

I take into account a variety of factors such as scale of thickness and the
likely improvement in tone in deciding how to retune a set of bells, so the
approach is rarely the same for any two peals of bells. It is difficult to
communicate how I think a peal will end up and convince the customer; I have
a shrewd idea, but if asked, I can't say "Trust me, my boy, I'm the
Bellfounder" any more - it needs to be rationalised better than that. Not
easy when the people I'm dealing with are not necessarily musically

 Does this help?

Andrew Higson


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