Quality of Sound

Sound of bell like
the taste of wine

The sound of the bell can be compared to the taste of wine. In the bell's strike note, you taste the wine's attack; the partial notes are the various flavors that an experienced taster can distinguish in the sip of wine; these must be brought into mutual harmony and evoke a pleasing and round sensor experience, because thinnest of taste or sound is to be avoided. Finally there is a decay which lasts a long time in good bells, like the aftertaste of delicios wine. Wine of superior quality becomes better with the years (...). A bell also sounds better as the years pass. Due to the many years of use, the bronze is brought into vibration milions of times, causing the atoms in the bell wall to travel microscopically small distances, resulting in the crystal structure of bronze becoming more balanced...


Why the sound of the bell is so important?

Bell is first of all musical instrument and one of the most complicated instruments in the world. It belongs to the gropu of percussion instrument. When the bell is striked more than 50 partials are generated. Out of these 50 partials some become more important than others and determine the final quality of bell sound. There are top five partials which in campanology are analysed closest and have the hisgest impact of final pitch perception. One of the most important partial is nomial. This is the overtone with the highest frequency (from those 5 tones) but is very instense. It can be heard only for tens of second but it determines in most the strike note. It is important that the strike note is only formed in the listener's brain, and thus is a purely psychological phenomenon. In fact the strike note value on certificates is measured by the value of nominal moved by one octave. Prime (or fundamental tone) is determining the sound of the bell just after the nominal. As the bell is minor chord instrument prime together with tierce and quint must compose a minor chord. The last partial which is analysed closely and determine the bell's pitch is hum. This overtone can be heard longest and it determines the decay of bell. As per Simpson's theory it must be accurately moved by one octave from prime (it must be exactly one octave lower).

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