A most public of musical performances: The English art of change-ringing

Ron Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Bells were installed in churches throughout much of the western world to announce upcoming services when there was no other means of transmitting such information over long distances and few people had watches. Their initial raison d'être is now obsolete but bell-ringing has been sustained, and significantly expanded, in England as a particular art-form, dependent on a peculiar technology, associated in large part with the established church there. The nature of the technology has strongly influenced the development of that art-form, whereas the resources that had to be invested in the installation of a ring of bells in a stable tower created a long-lasting geography of the practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-31
Number of pages15
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Bell-ringing
  • Changes
  • Churches
  • England
  • Peals
  • Performance


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