[Bell Historians] Open handstrokes

Hayden Charles hcharles at Yo4BE44LaP2qF3ZpGW0nCbQfWfPEk1HtJ3tWyNDDtGD7MfYfSYJyog7FKP60-GcLua0AVgffFq-uZra90A.yahoo.invalid
Mon Jun 21 18:09:03 BST 2010

John Harrison wrote on 21/06/2010 16:35:
> Does anyone know when ringing with an open hand stroke lead first developed
> and why?
> It is clearly described in the Clavis Campanalogia of 1788, but I can't
> find any mention in Campanologia Improved of 1733.

The composer John Jenkins (1592-1678)wrote several 'Bell' pieces.

Three of them that I have come across have definite ringing motifs in 
them: 'Lady Katherine Audley's Bells', 'The Six Bells', and 'The Five 
Bells', which I think is fairly similar to 'Lady Katherine Audley's 
Bells'. From what I have read about Jenkins there is no ready dated list 
of his works. He died in 1678 and was rather frail in his last years.

Each of these pieces has a movement called 'The Bells' which begins with 
rounds on five or six and then has varying sequences of changes. The 
rounds on five go 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4- 5 (rest)1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4- 5, with 
each note played in a regular beat but with a longer note on 4 of the 
'backstroke'. The music shows definite groups of ten beats with a space 

I have not seen the musical notation for these pieces, but I would 
suggest from the recordings I have heard that this might be evidence for 
open handstrokes. I have no idea whether present-day performance might 
be influenced by our current ringing conventions.

Amazon UK has a track available for download, and it is possible to play 
a sample (which does not start from the 'rounds') without buying the 
track. I am not sure how well the link will work for those outside the 
UK. It is the third movement, 'The Bells'. I am not promoting Amazon as 
such, just pointing to a place to illustrate my meaning.


(On Amazon.com the link is <http://tinyurl.com/25pkq9t>)

This is just a tentative notion, not a full-blown theory. I think that 
Morris in his 'History and Art' repeated a theory that Jenkins used 
actual methods (Grandsire?) in his music, but I don't have a copy to 
check. But I don't think Morris investigated these ideas for himself.

Anyway, it might push 'evidence' for open handstrokes a bit earlier that 
the books John mentioned.

Hayden Charles


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