Quarter Peal

On Tuesday evening there were exactly six of us for the practice in St Salvator’s tower, and so instead of the usual practice we decided to try for a quarter peal of Cambridge. I was very feart and volunteered to ring the treble (I had been learning Norwich and it had chased all of the Cambridge place bells out of my memory!)

I always enjoy ringing treble or tenor as I find it a challenge to strike as well as I can manage and to use good striking to help keep the rythym and flow of the others going well.

I also purchased the download of the Quarter peal rung at St Cuthbert’s, Prospect, New Zealand. It is quite something to listen to this whole thing, and it gave me yet another thing to think about, the sound and music, how different it is from an outside listener to an inside participant.

The rythym of the recorded performance is much harder to follow than the rythym you hear when ringing – the act of participating gives a real visceral interaction with the rythyms of the sound, and everything seems to move more slowly and clearly. I suppose there is something similar going on with all kinds of musical performance but the logic of the bells seems to highlight this more than the freeform melodies and harmonies of other instruments.

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