I have been working on a long term project of creating a BELL PIANO, and after a year I have collected up about 25 bells. Of course when you buy a bell via Trademe or Ebay, no one specifies the pitch of the bell. So it is a bit of a lottery, guessing based on size as there is no way to check until they arrive. And each time I get a bell I write on it what note it is, and leave it by my piano.
This is the current state of progress:

Earlier last week I won an auction for a little collection of bells that looked like it would be useful to fill in some of the range. I emailed the seller to make payment, and mentioned what I wanted the bells for. The sellers daughter replied, it was her 88 year old Dad who was selling them, due to moving house.
This is what I bid on, and won:

They sent me a tracking # and on the way to do my shopping a few days later a box was sitting beside my mailbox. When I picked it up I thought wow it feels heavy for those 12 bells, but didn’t think too much more about it. But when I got home again I opened up the box and there was bell, after, bell, after bell… All carefully wrapped in newspaper! By the time I had unpacked everything, this is was what it contained:

I counted up 70 bells! Literally a lifetime collection. I was astounded and emailed them to first say a huge thank you, and to check I was ok and this wasn’t a mistake. But I also offered to pay more, as the extra freight cost would have eaten into the purchase price for the 12 bells. They very kindly refused, and said they were happy the bells were going to good home, and for an interesting reason. While I appreciate this sentiment, I am also not one to take no for answer when I have the power to acknowledge such generosity, and since I had their bank details I made another payment and sent a quick email, thanking them but also mentioning how much I appreciated this and that I would like to insist on shouting them lunch when it’s safe to do so.

Since they arrived I have slowly been sorting them into pitch order, and it is fascinating to observe how their tonality varies due to both materials, shape, construction and the clanger. As per my existing collection, I was totally focused on brass and steel bells, so it was interesting to hear a range of porcelain bells which of course have an entirely different tonality, and remind me of some of the tiny fuurin temple bells I bought when in Japan.

So this is another to add to my ‘pitched instruments to deep sample’ collection. And now with the Sanken CUX100k mics I can start the capture process, knowing a 3 octave pitch shift is viable! In this specific case I think a BELL DRONE PAINO will be on the cards too, using some hi rez spectral freezes to achieve infinite sustain.

So thank you to Neil and Shirley Everett. Your bell collection shall be immortal!



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