Group name - Hull Handbell Change Ringers

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  Development: Introduction to Using a Simulator

Using a Simulator:

We are talking here of a desktop or laptop computer with Handbell Manager software together with Abel Ringing Simulator software and at least two motion controllers.

What does a simulator do?.

When you ring a method on the simulator you move your hands up and down as if ringing bells handstroke and backstroke. The computer then makes the sounds of your bells as you move. At the same time the computer "rings" all the other bells.

Abundant method and composition choices are available, and the speed of ringing can also be varied. At the end of the ringing the computer will give feedback on the accuracy of your striking, overall on a scale of 1 to 10, or in detail blow by blow.


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Why use a simulator.

There are many advantages of using a simulator:

  • the computer is abundantly patient
  • and perfectly accurate
  • rings everything from Plain Hunting to Bristol Surprise and more

All you need is you and a computer, not you and a band and a set of bells. Our experience has been with Handbell Manager and Abel.

Abel has many excellent features, and can be used in several ways, e.g:.

  • To practice ringing methods
  • To practice ringing touches of methods
  • To improve listening
  • To improve striking

On the other hand.

There are some aspects of using a simulator that need care:

  • Abel needs a little persistence before a new user is comfortable. The motion controllers are sensitive to small movements, and a nervous person may get "jingle jangle" as opposed to "bing bong".
  • The sim is like having a band full of dumb robots, they have no empathy nor sympathy, they don't teach, encourage, nor do they coach. And they never make a mistake!
  • Miss a beat and you're in panic mode, they don't wait for you.
  • But the most serious drawback of using a simulator comes from the disaster to ringing too slowly for too long.

First contact.

If you are completely new to bellringing then find a band and someone willing to teach you. The simulator is not the place to start.

If you are already ringing methods and wish to try two handbells on the simulator, then set the sim method to Plain Bob Minor, the composition to plain course, set the speed to 3hrs, and choose your pair of bells (5-6 are easiest).

Before you start with the method, get comfortable with the motion controllers. You want the higher pitched sound from your right hand. Get used to making one movement to generate one note per hand.

Left button on right hand motion controller starts the sim ringing rounds. Ring your pair and listen carefully to the result. Relax. Try to go with the flow.

Once you have rounds flowing press the right button on right hand motion controller to start ringing the method. Listen carefully to the result. Relax. Try to go with the flow. If it fires up start again.

Do go quite slowly to begin with, but do:

  • Start ringing by watching and counting bells or places
  • Watch the striking monitor and get your action into the green
  • Gradually speed up to where you HAVE TO ring by rhythm

If you become very frustrated you are allowed to shout at, and to make rude gestures to the computer, it is illegal to do the same to a speed camera on the open road, even if they are just as frustrating.