The strikeometer project was started in 2007 at the request of the National 12-bell striking contest committee with the aim of developing a computer system capable of analysing striking. The project initially looked at using sensors on the bell clappers in order to collect information about when each bell struck, but the sensors proved difficult to set up and were unreliable. The strikeometer was resurrected when HawkEar was developed by Ian McCallion. HawkEar obtains the strike information directly from a sound recording of the ringing.
Once the strike information has been collected it can be analysed in any number of ways. For the contest, three ‘models’ of good ringing are used to decide how well or badly each bell is struck. The models were independently developed and are very different in principle. The judges decide what information from the models to take into account when judging the contest.
The Strikeometer was first used at the Birmingham eliminator in April 2011, then at the Leeds final in June 2011. It was used at the Melbourne final in June 2012 and the longer term aim is to use it for all eliminators and finals.
The BBC’s Science Correspondent for the West Midlands, David Gregory, discussed HawkEar in his “Gregory’s First Law” column in April 2011.
A graph and some associated documents are available below which show that the judges were in agreement with the new system.
Any band wanting to make a recording for strikeometer analysis should consult the Recording Bells for Striking Analysis document compiled by Ian McCallion. Further information can be found in the Recording-Strikeometer Advice document.
Any tower using the committee’s Microtrack digital recorder will find the Instructions for the Installation and Operation of Microtrack II document written by Richard Grimmett very helpful.
The CAS software for analysing Hawkear outputs can be downloaded here. To install cas1.4, you need to unzip and save these files to a directory on your computer. Run the application by double-clicking the .bat file or the .jar file (the latter should work on Macs and Linux boxes). The only prerequisite is that you need Java installed.