Campanology, the study of bells, bell-casting and bellringing, is quite an old discipline. A major aspect of campanology is clearly the sound produced and thus the discipline is traditionally closely tied to physics, and in particular to acoustics, the scientific study of sound and sound waves. In contrast to this, the study of the quantitative or statistical aspects of bells and their properties is much more recent. The term Campanometry was coined for this multi-disciplinary field of music, history, mathematics/statistics, acoustics and metallurgy. The famous campanologist Andre Lehr (1929 – 2007) is credited as the founder of Campanometry. Of particular interest is the measurement and statistical study of the different partials of bells and carillons. Since bells are usually tuned to have their partials at the ideal values, the deviations from these ideal values supply important information on the sound quality of a bell. Furthermore, measurements on their physical properties also provide useful data for analyses. In this research bells in the Western Cape are identified, pictured and measured physically and acoustically and the information is stored in the SUNDigital Collections, the digital heritage repository of the Stellenbosch University Library. The data thus obtained is used to statistically model different aspects of bells and carillons, inter alia to what extent they comply with certain standard design criteria and to statistically analyse the sound quality of the bells. Furthermore, using statistical classification techniques, bells of unknown founders in the database can be classified as being founded by a particular founder. The latter is analogous to the statistical classification of unknown authors of manuscripts.
- T de Wet, PJU van Deventer and JL Teugels (KUL, Belgium)