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Paganini's Violin Concerto No.2, Op.7 has a part for a "Campanello (Little Bell in F#)" in the 3rd movement, which is also the movement's namesake - "La Campanella". In a bit of research I've done, the instrument is described just as a "little bell" or sometimes as a "handbell". The Wikipedia page for Handbell discusses different types of handbells and different playing techniques. I also find it odd there is no mention there of its use in such a famous piece.

Furthermore, the IMSLP part shows the instrument plays only a C note, while it's listed as an instrument in F#.

My questions are:

  1. What is the bell Paganini instructed?
  2. What is the way the bell is used to produce the sound?
  3. Does "bell in F#" mean it's a transposing instrument (like trumpet in Bb)? I thought it means it produces the tone F#, but the sheet music says C. Is it just its notation?
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The third movement, "Rondo à la clochette" is in B minor. The bell sounds the note F#. Hear it at 0'47" in this YouTube link. I'm not sure why Paganini (or his editor) would choose to notate it as a transposing instrument, but they did.

  • 1
    The bass drum part on IMSLP is also written with a treble clef on note C. Curiously, the percussion parts (timp, bass drum, bell) are not in then IMSLP score at all! The bass drum is notated the same way as the bell (5 line staff, treble clef, note C). The timp part is also treble clef, and doesn't even indicate the tuning required. The score implies the bell only plays half a dozen notes, unlike the part which keeps the bell ringer busy for the whole movement. A scholarly edition, this isn't! – user19146 Dec 14 '16 at 22:52

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