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  1. #1
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    Default Westminster Chime Rod Tuning

    I have purchased a set of 4 chime rods for Westminster Chime. Assuming the key of C they would be E D C G. My clock strikes the hour on the D C G and a fifth rod. What note should the fifth one be?

    Thanks,

    David

  2. #2

    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: dholk)

    Quote Originally Posted by dholk View Post
    I have purchased a set of 4 chime rods for Westminster Chime. Assuming the key of C they would be E D C G. My clock strikes the hour on the D C G and a fifth rod. What note should the fifth one be?

    Thanks,

    David
    E, but an octave lower.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: shutterbug)

    Quote Originally Posted by shutterbug View Post
    E, but an octave lower.
    It's not essential that it be an octave lower. The hour strike is apart from the melody of the chime sequence. The Westminster melody must be in tune with itself in terms of relative pitch, or it will sound lousy. But the final note sounding the hour can be anything, as long as it is a lower tone.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: Thyme)

    It needs to be an actual note, in the scale of the others, not a discord. As Thyme says
    That will give a chord. As to which note, that can vary a lot - some are sharp or flat and in different keys. Most I see have a shorter rod for the extra one.
    Last edited by Mike Phelan; 04-10-2009 at 11:06 AM. Reason: Typo.
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: Mike Phelan)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phelan View Post
    It needs to be an actual note, in the scale of the others, not a discord. As Thyme says
    That will give a chord. As to which note, that can vary a lot - some are sharp or flat and in different keys. Most I see have a shorter rod for the extra one.
    Of course the hour strike sound will have a tone or pitch - but it need not be a pitch relative to the tune or be in the key of the tune. It has nothing to do with a chord, per se. The tune itself (Westminster, for example) is essentially three notes of a scale (the tonic) plus the lower fifth, which acts as the dominant. That is the basis for harmony in all Western diatonic music. However, once the Westminster melody ends, the final note denoting the hour is unrelated to that melody. Mentally, we hear it as an unrelated sound or as a different event from the tune that preceded it; it is usually a lower tone, as is the case with Big Ben.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: Thyme)

    The shorter bar on a clock, like what Mkie described, produces a higher pitched chord.

    Is this a mantle clock we're talking about?
    Justin A. Olson

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: chimeclockfan)

    Quote Originally Posted by chimeclockfan View Post
    The shorter bar on a clock, like what Mkie described, produces a higher pitched chord.

    Is this a mantle clock we're talking about?
    Yes, the shorter the rod, the higher the pitch will be.

    But your use of the word "chord" is incorrect, and thus confusing.

    A single rod produces a single note or pitch. Pitch can be either relative or absolute. In this case, the pitches involved in the Westminster melody need only be correct relative to each other. The hour strike tone (assuming it is a single tone, not a chord struck on multiple rods) which occurs after the melody has ended will not be crucial to (or involved with) the pattern of the melody that preceded it.

    A "chord" is formed only by more than one musical note (or pitch or tone) sounding simultaneously. A 'broken chord' occurs when the notes of a chord follow one another in a sequential pattern.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: Thyme)

    I wonder if we're talking at cross purposes here?

    The OP says that four rods strike a chord on the hour; most of the mantel clocks I've seen never strike a single note, in most cases three, so surely the fifth rod would strike a discord if it was not related to the other two or three that are also used for the chime?

    If the hour used a single rod only, it wouldn't matter what the pitch was.
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: Mike Phelan)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phelan View Post
    I wonder if we're talking at cross purposes here?

    The OP says that four rods strike a chord on the hour; most of the mantel clocks I've seen never strike a single note, in most cases three, so surely the fifth rod would strike a discord if it was not related to the other two or three that are also used for the chime?


    I agree, some clarification of exactly what and how it is chiming would be helpful.

    If more than one of the rods are being struck simultanously to strike the hour, there would be no real need for a fifth rod. (And yes, it would need to be in tune with the other notes of the chord.) OTOH, a fifth rod is usually used as separate tone that sounds singularly after the tune is played.

    If the hour used a single rod only, it wouldn't matter what the pitch was.
    Yes, that's my point, exactly.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: dholk)

    Quote Originally Posted by dholk View Post
    I have purchased a set of 4 chime rods for Westminster Chime. Assuming the key of C they would be E D C G. My clock strikes the hour on the D C G and a fifth rod. What note should the fifth one be?

    Thanks,

    David
    I just reviewed the original post, and clearly something is wrong. I prefer to refer to the implied chord numerically as musical intervals (with that which you call the tonic C as being =1, D=2, E=3 and G=5). You cannot form a consonant triad (i.e. a three note chord) in sounding 1+2 (or C+D) together; that will result in a discord. 1+3+5 does produce a major triad, with the interval of the fifth being inverted as it is an octave lower.

    On the hour strike, how many rods are being struck? Does the rod you refer to as the "fifth rod" ever get struck at any time during the Westminister tune sequence? Is there a separate train to be wound for the hour strike?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: Thyme)

    5 rod Westminster chime movements are quite common, such as the Hermle 340-020. It strikes on 3 rods.
    harold bain, Member ch 33
    "If it won't "tick",
    let me "tock" to it"

  12. #12

    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: harold bain)

    David's description involves a 4 note strike, which requires a "chord" to be pleasing to the ear. The added E would make the chord a C9 - unusual, but still pleasant to the ear. Why they would include the G instead of the E is a mystery to me C E G would be a perfect C chord.

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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: shutterbug)

    Quote Originally Posted by shutterbug View Post
    David's description involves a 4 note strike, which requires a "chord" to be pleasing to the ear. The added E would make the chord a C9 - unusual, but still pleasant to the ear. Why they would include the G instead of the E is a mystery to me C E G would be a perfect C chord.
    Yes, it's a mystery to me, too. Something is wrong in the striking pattern or in the positioning of the rods.

    Adding an E or other E's (or thirds) at most only makes it an inverted or expanded triad, with the third interval above or below the root (key note) of the triad. The same applies with the G - in this case it would be below - but whether above or below the root of the triad, the G (as the fifth degree) still would be consonant with, and a component of the basic triad.

    A 9th chord is something very different, musically speaking.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: Thyme)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thyme View Post
    Does the rod you refer to as the "fifth rod" ever get struck at any time during the Westminister tune sequence?
    We'll probably have to wait for the OP to come back on this, but (irrespective of the number of rods used) the Westminster tune only uses four different notes.
    Is there a separate train to be wound for the hour strike?
    Almost certainly, but there are exceptions - I've not seen any on a mantel clock, though. Someone here had one (Bangster?).

    I have a theory about the four-note chord that the OP says his clock has.
    This normally works by having a lever at the front of the chiming hammer arbor with a link - wire or flat - connected to a lever where a strike hammer would be on a 2-train clock.

    The lever on the hammer stack, when there are only 4 rods, has a flat portion that lifts all the hammers except the second one by virtue of a gap on the lever next to #2. For completeness, nothing to do with this clock.

    Now, the crux of the matter. 5-rod chimes use 1, 2, 3, 4 for the chime, 3, 4, 5 for the strike. The lever on the hammer stack has a rod to operate 3, 4 and 5 for the strike.

    If the lever was bent, or a spacer wrongly assembled on the hammer stack, it could be too far back and operate #2 as well.
    Make sense?
    Mike - banned member of the throwaway society.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Westminster Chime Rod Tuning (RE: Mike Phelan)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Phelan
    If the lever was bent, or a spacer wrongly assembled on the hammer stack, it could be too far back and operate #2 as well.
    Make sense?
    It does, and explains the mystery note as well as I can figure, too.

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