[Bell Historians] Re: Telegraph letter

Charles Lucy lucy at jFKnAV3tS3bW4416Bvnpw8m8oT3IXKHus7jvzaRNJ3uFdcCk3UXgyDSX5JE8wVmoCMLxnoeaurDGTn4.yahoo.invalid
Thu Oct 15 11:59:05 BST 2009

I understand you skepticism Richard.

I would guess that your favoured bells are tuned close to 12 edo,  
(equal divisions of the octave).

As I found when hastily analysing the recordings of Worcester  
cathedral a few weeks ago.

This would enable them to be played in 12edo in any of twelve keys.

This (12edo) tuning system would be familiar to anyone who listened to  
music during the twentieth century, for in that century it became the  
world's ubiquitous tuning system.

There is general agreement amongst all musical academics and most  
musicians that none of the intervals of 12edo are "in tune", and that  
this 12th root of 2 tuning system is a convenient (yet flawed)  

Tuning bells to Harrison's recommendations, as with all meantone-type  
tunings, would limit the number of keys in which 12 bells could be  
played .

For example G# and Ab are different frequencies.
Therefore if the naturals (C through B) are tuned in a Large Large  
small Large Large Large small (LLsLLLs) pattern the "black notes" are  

E.g. E major triad uses E G# B;

yet F minor triad requires F Ab C.

Using the wrong "black note" sounds particularly dissonant.

Bells may not be the same as guitars, yet the same principles of  
tuning will apply, just as they do for guitars and all other musical  

On 15 Oct 2009, at 11:29, Richard Smith wrote:

> David Bryant asked:
> > To put it more clearly, what are the advantages of the
> > tuning system which you are proposing, and what are its
> > advantages over and above any other tuning system?
> ... to which Charles Lucy responded:
> > Rather than re-writing the text from an existing site, I
> > would like to suggest that you got to a place where the
> > whole system derived from John Harrison's writings is
> > explained in detail, and comparisons to other systems are
> > shown.
> So far as I can see, the purported advantage of your / John
> Harrison's tuning system is that you can tune an instrument
> such that music played in different keys sound equally good.
> You mention, for example, the problem of tuning a
> traditional guitar such that you are happy with both the E
> major and G major chords.
> Now how is that relevant to bell ringing? We have a brand
> new Taylor twelve in Cambridge, one that I'm overwhelmingly
> pleased with. We use it to ring rounds in D major, Stedman
> Cinques in D major, Cambridge Maximus in D major, Bristol
> Maximus is D major. We have even attempted to ring Orion
> transposed into D major; unfortunately some of the chords in
> this piece sound most unpleasant. I can only assume this
> must be due to some subtle problem with Taylor's tuning of
> the bells, as it often sounds melodious when rung by others
> on the C major Whitechapel twelve at Bow. I shall be
> raising this serious issue with Taylors in the near future.
> Never once have we decided to ring Fabian Stedman's
> masterpiece, but in a deep, sonorous Bb major for a change:
> we simply don't care what our bells would sound like rung in
> a far-removed key. We ring them in D major, sometimes we
> ring the front eight in G major, and if we're in a silly
> mood, we might try the descending melodic minor ten in E.
> All closely related keys. Bells are not the same as
> guitars.

Charles Lucy
lucy at QxgZal2C34Ws28Y0U0udFBa7k5FLxARdGbVha6yUQ8GpgkEdsVtLt0wWOen5Ub7M88YxuSTXrCc.yahoo.invalid

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