Group name - Rollup

Key Concepts

  Home Ringing Learning Teaching

Stage 1: Getting up to "Base Camp"

  Intro R&C Plain Hunting Plain Bob

Rounds and Call Changes

Ringing rounds and simple call changes gives a learner the opportunity to get the feel and rhythm of ringing without the mental challenge of change ringing.

Ergonomics

Some novices have a little difficulty to begin with in making a handbell strike, once, and once only on a handstroke or backstroke movement. It is the act of stopping the movement that throws the clapper against the spring sufficiently strongly to make the clapper contact the bell. And hence it may help beginners to get a feel for the handbells standing up in order to give more room for movement than is afforded by sitting down.

Some teachers advise learners to rest their bells on their knees after the backstroke. This is a mistake and should be avoided as it is easy to dampen the sound which can be a distraction to other ringers.

Excessive upward and downward movement of the bells (described as "rat splatching" by one eminent local) should be avoided, but the wrist-flick movement is poor use of wrists and does not help with assimilation of the rhythm which is vital for good ringing.

Extras

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Handstroke / Backstroke

Handstroke first.

Change ringing starts with a handstroke which is followed by a backstroke, on a tower bell this equates to a pull on the sally followed by a pull on the tail end.

On handbells handstroke is upwards, and backstroke is the downwards.

Learning points
The visual aspect of ringing needs to be mentioned, so if a bell is rung and by accident doesn't strike, the learner needs to be taught not to "waggle the bell", just leave it as if it had properly been rung because other people will have counted the movement as a bell having been rung.

Ringing rounds

Rounds, down the scale from the highest pitched bell and finishing with the keynote, is rung clockwise. Once people have relaxed into ringing rounds it is important to listen carefully to the spacing of the bells, and to adjust to a near even spacing as possible; there is a natural tendency to make the gap between ringers slightly bigger than the gap between one's own pair of bells.

Open Handstroke Leads

In almost all change ringing, the rhythm is defined in blocks of two rows, a handstroke and a backstroke. These two rows are rung together without pause, and with an even spacing between each bell.
Between each block of two rows a small pause is inserted, this serves further to emphasise the rhythm of the ringing and is known as an open handstroke lead. The pause occurs after the last bell to ring at backstroke, and hence before the first bell to ring at handstroke.

The open handstroke lead needs to be explained and demonstrated.

Teaching point
Use an experienced ringer to ring 1-2 when possible, in order to demonstrate and emphasise the open handstroke lead.

Simple Call Changes

Ringing simple call changes

There is benefit in ringing call changes on 8 and 10 bells for people learning change ringing on 6. The timing / spacing on the lower numbers is easier after ringing on the higher numbers.

The first step is to jump between rounds and the "pretty" changes:

  • Queens: 135246
  • Tittums: 142536
  • Whittingtons: 125346
  • Kings: 531246

and it is worthwhile swapping the pairs of bells people are ringing in order to give practice at leading, and at ringing all of the sizes of the bells in use.

Calling the change-over between pairs of bells is a useful step towards plain hunting as it enforces the recognition of bells by numbers. Calling the up bell and down bell is helpful to learners.
To go from row 1-2-3-4-5-6 to 1-3-2-4-5-6, the call would be "2 over 3, 3 to treble".

Learning points
The spacing of bells inside tittums and whittingtons should be used to emphasize the team nature of handbell ringing and as a preparation for plain hunting; one apart in tittums is like 1 apart in coursing.

Named Changes

Popular Named Changes

The most useful named changes on 6, 8 and 10 bells are listed below

Rounds

  •   6: 123456
  •   8: 12345678
  • 10: 1234567890

Queens

  •   6: 135246
  •   8: 13572468
  • 10: 1357924680

Kings

  •   6: 531246
  •   8: 75312468
  • 10: 9753124680

Tittums

  •   6: 142536
  •   8: 15263748
  • 10: 1627384950

Whittingtons

  •   6: 125346
  •   8: 12753468
  • 10: 1297534680

Good Rhythm

Good Striking

Spacing the bells evenly, leaving an open handstroke lead, maintaining a constant speed are all necessary aspects of good striking.

Good striking is difficult to achieve especially when one or more learners are struggling with their bell or with a method. It is the task of the tutor to identify why ringing is of poor quality, where mistakes are being made, or where the rhythm breaks down, and to address the causes where possible.

The example recordings have all been chosen for their quality, but we have found few recorded examples of good ringing on 6 handbells.