A peal is a set of bells that are used for festive and liturgical ringing. They are generally not used to ring music unless they are a part of a larger chime or carillon.

A sequence or mathematical series that determines how change ringing is done is called a 'peal' like a musical piece is called a 'song.'

Common Configurations

A peal includes at least two bells, and typically consists of three or four. The musical pitches of the bells will generally conform to one of the following configurations. On each line, the root note of the key is given as 1 (or 8 as the octave bell), and skipped semitone notes are shown as dots.

Major Triad

This chord consists of C, E, G and an optional high C within the scope of an octave. The peal can be transposed to any notes, but the intervals (skipped semitones) would be the same.

     1...3..5....8....   (with optional octave tone)
         3..5....1....   (1st inversion by moving the root above the fifth - heavier)
            5....1...3   (2nd inversion by moving the third above the root)     

Minor Triad

This is the same as the Major Triad with a flat third.

     1..3...5....     (three-bell minor triad)
     3...5....1..     (1st inversion)
     5....1..3...     (2nd inversion)


Bells comprising the first notes of a diatonic scale (Do Re Mi, or white keys), a pentatonic scale or a modal scale can remind the listener of a song as they randomly swing. A pentatonic chord can be made of any contiguous portion of the black keys on a piano keyboard. There are five such keys per octave, hence the penta prefix.Various groupings have come to have names attached to them that represent hymns or chants that use the intervals.     (Diatonic scale - all eight bells make a basic 'chime')
     1.2..4.5.6.       (Major Pentatonic scale "Amazing Grace" Peal - can play whole tune by adding 6th bell for note 8)
     1.2.3.            (Pater Noster (Our Father) Diatonic three-bell peal)
     3..5.6..8.9.10    (Pentatonic inverted to reduce bell weights)
     1.2..4.5.....     (Gloria/Parsifal four-bell Pentatonic Peal)
     1.2..4...6...     (Salve Regina four-bell Pentatonic Peal)
     ..2..4.5.....     (Te Deum three-bell Pentatonic Peal)
Time Strikes

Time striking can be done on any kind of intervals, from a simple two-bell ding-dong to the any of the three or four bell combinations describe above. Most people associate the Westminster tune with clock ringing. There are several variations of this in use. The largest bell always tolls the hour.

     1......5....8.9.10    (light or high Westminster)
     1.2....5.6.7         (low Westminster)
     1....4.5.6           (four-bell Westminster)