[Bell Historians] Kemberton

Nigel Taylor nigelsdtaylor at outlook.com
Wed May 18 19:50:04 BST 2022

Using A=440 equal temperament is a rather ham fisted means of measuring the tuning of rings except those which are intended to be 440 ET. Whitechapel only used this from around 1968 until 2000, previously using Just intonation. Gillett and Johnston used JI from 1907 until they closed in 1957, with a brief use of ET from 1926 until 1931. For Herz, I use whatever tuning and pitch standard is the best fit, and if the theoretical tuning is known, this is what I use. For most old rings, I use just or 1/5th comma meantone. I do use notes and cents as a crosscheck, but use the cents values for the tuning system I have applied in cents. For JI therefore, the values are: 0, 204, 386, 498, 702, 884, 1088, 1200. For Taylors stretched rings, the easiest way to check the values is to apply Pythagorean tuning, but without the 1 comma tempered 5th.

Nigel Taylor
From: Bell-historians <bell-historians-bounces at lists.ringingworld.co.uk> on behalf of Richard Johnston <johnstonrh at rhj.org.uk>
Sent: 16 May 2022 16:52
To: bell-historians at lists.ringingworld.co.uk <bell-historians at lists.ringingworld.co.uk>
Subject: [Bell Historians] Kemberton

Andrew A wrote:
>  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?


Equal Temperament has been the standard for 100 years, and is what is
normally assumed in the absence of other information.  The Cents
offsets are then clearly defined relative to those note labels.

If you don't use that system, then there are huge numbers of
possibilities for temperaments, and everything dissolves into
uncertainty and confusion, especially if there is an attempt to
describe rings according to some (conjectured?) original tuning

Apart from such situations as ringing the front 6 of 10, change
ringing bells are used only in their primary keys, and are usually
only "more or less" in tune with each other (according to any desired
temperament).  They are never used in "distant keys", and they do not
have to fit in with other instruments.

For these reasons the previous discussions of temperament and the
colour of different keys (when tuning starting from the key of C),
interesting and very relevant as it is to conventional music, have no
relevance in terms of description, and very little relevance in terms
of how bells are used.

Tuners can tune a set of bells to achieve any desired key colour, and
perhaps they should be more adventurous in that respect.

But for unambiguous *descriptive" purposes equal temperament is
perfectly  adequate and universally understood.

Anything else must end with confusion.

Richard Johnston

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