The Bell Definition File

Abel uses a Bell Definition File to describe bell sounds and how to use them. These Bell Definition Files have to be in the Abel 3\Bells subdirectory (usually C:\Program Files\Abel 3\Bells) and have a .bdf file extension. Each file describes one particular bell 'sound' or 'character': each bell character might be made up of several recordings of different bells.

Abel manipulates sound samples to make the different notes: a single bell recording can thus be usd for several different bells. However, Abel can only stretch a sound so far before it starts to distort, so Abel uses several samples with different original pitches to make up the required range of notes for a bdf file.

You should bear this in mind when making your bell recordings: don't sample adjacent bells, but instead record bells that are reasonably far apart (for example, if you have 12 bells, you might sample the tenor, treble, 4 and 8, providing these bells have a good tone).

The Bell Definition File is a text file that you can edit in any text editor (eg, Windows Notepad). The safest way to make a new one is to copy one of the examples that came with Abel, and edit it to refer to your own bell samples.

Here is an example, described in more detail below:

# This is my sample Bell Definition file
BDF,Bells from somewhere
tbell_1.wav, 61, 72, 45
tbell_2.wav, 73, 90, 73

This Bell Definition File specifies two recorded bell samples, and the range of notes for which each sample is to be used.

It has the following format:

After the description line there is a series of sound sample definitions. You can have any number of these, but anywhere from 1 to about 4 or 5 is typical.

So, the above example says that the sample tbell1.wav has an original note of 61 (middle C sharp), and we want to let Abel shift its frequence down as far as MIDI note 45 and up as far as MIDI note 72. For pitches above MIDI note 72, the second sample tbell2.wav is used.

See also:

  Recording sounds for use by Abel
  Digitising bell recordings