What Musick is there that compar'd may be To well-tun'd Bells enchanting melody!
July 5, 2009 4:14 PM   Subscribe

A thousand echos: Bells on Sunday from BBC Radio 4. Campanology is a dying art, despite having loyal devotees. Evan Davis learns how it's done. Here's a modern introduction to bell ringing; here's something a bit older.

Hint, it's a bit of maths (previously). The insomniacs' Sunday special from the BBC, see also.
posted by Helga-woo (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Robin McKinley - yes, the one with the books - has a blog, and writes a bit about her involvment in bell ringing. Sounds like they often have trouble getting enough people to do things.
posted by dilettante at 4:21 PM on July 5, 2009

I do know how to spell "involvement"...but can I call in sick tomorrow if I say I forget?
posted by dilettante at 4:35 PM on July 5, 2009

One of my best bells "moment" was crossing the campus my first semester of college at noon; the bells struck noon and were quiet a few moments. The ringer than launched into a Beatles medley.
posted by tilde at 4:43 PM on July 5, 2009

I recently came across this, also a blog entry - In Which there is bell-ringing. Mentions in passing Sayers's "The Nine Tailors" wch is were many people first come across campanology - see yet another blog entry of campanology and chocolate fish: "What could be more pathetically nerdy than an American in London putting a copy of 'The Nine Tailors' in her handbag and buying a ticket to Bluntisham to spend two hours in a church listening to change ringing and watching a teenager get an award from Dame Norma Major".
posted by paduasoy at 4:43 PM on July 5, 2009

I quite often listen to Bells on Sunday, out of insomnia and inertia. As far as I have ever been able to tell, the presenter just makes up some thinly plausible nonsense to begin with (St Ursula's hangs a three-way quarter carillon of octavo standard cloches; Long Tom, the double-bass, dates back to the thirteenth century, but the bells were completely re-hung in the sixteenth century and the new set of reciprocating tweeters was cast at Whitechapel in 1907. Now here is the St Ursula's team ringing four changes of a Grandsire Moulesquin meld with interstitial sprocketing.) - and then they play exactly the same recording, every time.

So thanks.
posted by Phanx at 11:28 PM on July 5, 2009 [2 favorites]

My parents, uncle, aunt & various godparents & their friends have all been bell ringers and I have partaken in the past. My dad recently unearthed his grandfather's apprenticeship documents to find out that he worked at the Whitechapel Foundry & could very well have been involved with making some of the bells he's rung.

I always remember the ringers' tours in my mid-teens. 5 churches in an area, start at the first one at about 10-10.30 so that everyone could adjourn to the pub at opening time (funnily enough there is always a pub near the church where bell ringers are involved) and so the day would progress. The changes got more experimental as the day wore on.

Oh, and apparently the stretching is good for your back.
posted by i_cola at 3:09 AM on July 6, 2009

A few weeks back I cycled past the Bournville carillon by Cadburys while it was ringing and I realized why Bournville is still a publess quaker village - I wouldn't want to listen to all that with a hangover.
posted by srboisvert at 3:24 AM on July 6, 2009

Oh, Phanx, me too.

Although I grew up practically living next door to a church, so bells on Sunday is a little reminder of home. The church across the road from my London flat just bongs unimaginatively at 10.45am on a Sunday.
posted by Helga-woo at 3:37 PM on July 8, 2009

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