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The Bells the Bells

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Monday 14 December 2009 3.56pm
Noticed there is a sign saying they intend to ring the bells of St Georges Church from 12-4.30 on Sunday 20th Dec to celebrate Christmas.
Monday 14 December 2009 4.38pm
Should someone tell them that they're 5 days early?

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 14 December 2009 6.45pm
Do they have the skill to play traditional christmas carols on the bells?
We don't want four hours of repetitious changes.
Monday 14 December 2009 10.06pm
It is not possible to 'play' CHristmas carols on traditional rings of bells; the bells are tuned in a descending scale. St George the Martyr does, however, have (or did ten years ago anyway - I say this because they have recently carried out extensive work to the church and tower) 'chimes' with which it would be possible to 'play' some carols.

As for four hours of repetitious changes, if they were ringing for four hours, it would most likely be a 'peal', in which case there would be no repetition whatsoever, each stroke of the bells would be different. In fact, a peal contains 5040 changes.

St George has a lovely ring of bells but the bells there used to be rarely rung as they relied on ringers from Waterloo's St John church. The ringing room is adorned with plaques commemorating peals rang there well over 110 years ago (and probably older).
Monday 14 December 2009 10.28pm
I bow to your superior campanological knowledge Gavin, however, why can't you 'play' a carol on a set of bells if they can all be rung/struck independently?.
Monday 14 December 2009 10.55pm
I guess that, in theory, you probably could 'play' a carol so long as it was in a 'major' key but quick successions of notes would not be possible when the bells are in their conventional 'up' position. Further, the tempo would be VERY slow as the clapper on each bill will strike only after having rotated a full 360 degrees

The chime system works not by moving the bells but by a chime hitting each bell. The ropes are close together to enable one person to chime all bells.

Campanology really is a science in itself. It is not so much musical as mathematical - each bell will change its position by one space at a time so, for example, the bells will start off


and then will change on each stroke like this:


each bell moving a space at a time before eventually reverting to 'rounds' - 12345678. The nearest you get to music on conventional bells hung for change ringing is something like 'Pop Goes the Weasel' for which there is a campanological name which escapes me. I stopped all that anorakish stuff when I was 16!
Monday 14 December 2009 11.30pm
Must be a fit lot to tug on a rope for 4 and a 1/2 hours.

If I lived near I would look forward to 15 mins worth but would think 4 and 1/2 hours constitutes a nuisance.

I would plan to be out.
Tuesday 15 December 2009 8.47am
I would plan to be out.

Or educate yourself on how to listen to them and stay in and enjoy it.
Tuesday 15 December 2009 9.56am
Boss Street Bloke wrote:
Must be a fit lot to tug on a rope for 4 and a 1/2 hours

Not really - the bell is counterbalanced so even an competent elderly ringer could easily handle the tenor (heaviest bell). The tenor at St George-the-Martyr is 14cwt; my mathemetics aren't too good, especially early in the morning, so not sure what that works out in modern money, but that is relatively light; Southwark Cathedral's tenor is 48cwt.
Tuesday 15 December 2009 10.04am
Tolstoy wrote:
I would plan to be out.
Or educate yourself on how to listen to them and stay in and enjoy it.

they are petty poor though. I started bell ringing when I was 11 and was still expected to avoid crashing on top of other bells.
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