[Bell Historians] Kemberton

Andrew Aspland aaspland at yahoo.co.uk
Mon May 16 15:02:22 BST 2022

 If we have nominals for individual bells then anyone can interpret them as fits their purpose.  However, in terms of communicating this information then note names are more easily understood. And for that you do need to make some decisions.
I would have thought that both A=440Hz and equal temperament are mainstream enough to be acceptable.  There is a perfectly good system for expressing sharp or flat of a given note name and that is by using cents (one hundredth of a semitone).  That again is a well understood system.  So then the decision say between  G# and Aflat is not based on pitch but on ease of communication.  In this case the bells in a diatonic peal can be expressed in A flat without resorting to double flats whereas G# requires the use of double sharps and is overly complicated.  There are three major keys where there is some choice and those are C# (7 sharps) or D flat (five flats), F# (6 sharps) or G flat (6 flats) and C flat (7 flats) or B (5 sharps).  I have never seen C flat used in preference to B, F# seems to dominate over G flat and there is a roughly equal mixture of D flat and C# (in terms of key notes of bells).  
We also need to express the octave number of the note name as a search for "E" can bring out 18 cwt bells and 3 cwt bells!!
Is that not a simple system which communicates well?
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