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Title: The 'intolerable jangle' : change-ringing as system, sound, and practice in seventeenth-century England
Author: Hunt, Katherine Emily
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 4553
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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In seventeenth-century England church bells started to make a new, and extraordinary, sound. Change-ringing caused bells to be rung according to complicated series of mathematical permutations from pages full of number. It had no liturgical function but was practised as a highly-organised leisure activity, ringing out loudly from church towers through much of the country. Change-ringing is still heard and done today but its sound has become so familiar that the abstract complexity of its structure is easily ignored. Although its practitioners have been assiduous chroniclers of the activity change-ringing has not been placed in the rich context it deserves, nor been the subject of sustained discussion in academic scholarship to date. This thesis examines change-ringing in the century of its inception and beyond. What was (and is) change-ringing? Each chapter answers this question by focussing on a different aspect: it was a mathematical, combinatorial system; it was a notated, learned practice; it was a recreation; it was a kind of music; and it was a sound, noisily imposing itself onto the soundscape. Comparing change-ringing to other systems, practices, recreations, types of music, and sounds I locate it within the intellectual territory and social organisation of early-modem England and connect it to practices far away in time and type. I show how the phrase 'ringing the changes' was taken up as a metaphor to reflect a kind of flitting inconstancy. The formal structure behind change-ringing, with strict rules demanding constant change, reflects the tense balance of order and disorder that characterises the seventeenth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available