Take a Poll: Spun vs. Hand Hammered Bell Flares, Part 2

schmidbellsThis post is a follow-up to one I wrote last year, on the differences between spun and hand hammered bell flares.  I have been doing some thinking recently on this topic, and decided to record some more audio examples of the two flares I currently own for my Engelbert Schmid double horn: a lacquered, spun flare, and an unlacquered, hand hammered flare with a garland. In recording these new examples I tried to take into account some very useful comments posted below the original article.

First, I recorded these short excerpts in a larger space, with the microphones placed approximately twenty feet away, and second I am asking readers to take a very short poll to determine which bell is generally preferred by listeners. I’ll post the results in a week or so, with summary comments. Your participation is very much appreciated! The poll is very easy to complete. Simply listen to the excerpts below, which are labeled, but without any indication as to the type of bell being used. Record your response using the provided buttons. Feel free to write in additional comments below. Please note that while every attempt was made to perform the excerpts in as consistent a manner as possible, there is the occasional “blip” as well as some extraneous noise in the hall (not created by me). The excerpts are in contrasting styles, and are taken from Weber’s Romance (arr. Boldin) and Randall Faust’s Celebration for Horn and Organ.

Excerpt Number 1: Weber, Romance/arr. Boldin

Excerpt Number 2: Faust, Celebration for Horn and Organ



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Bell 1 – Brighter Sound, liked the in forte attacks in the low range, liked the tone coulor on the high range.

Bell 2 – Darker Sound, better fitting in the low range on soft/medium dynamics but not on the forte attacks in the low range. On the high range sound flat (maybe for the darker sound)


Thanks Ricardo! Yes, both bells have their advantages. Would be nice to find one that has the characteristics of both! Have you tried any of the wide bells from Schmid?


I’ve just voted and it’s 50/50! (Mind you, for a lot of it, the difference was hard to pick.) Nice playing, but the way, if I may say so.


Bell 1 has a more focused and stable sound which is even through each note. Bell 2 has nice tonal qualities, a warmer sound with less edge- but the sound doesn’t carry through the notes; the sound just disappears.


This is a rather outdated comment (sorry!), but I think worth mentioning. The garland itself changes the sound color, so this audio A/B test doesn’t provide enough information. I’ll be testing spun and hand-hammered bells at Patterson Hornworks next month. I’d appreciate any more-recent insights out there. Cheers!


Hi Ian,

Good points, and yes there is a difference between a HH bell with Garland and one without! Let me know what your visit to Patterson to reveals. Best regards, James


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