Group name - Hull Handbell Change Ringers

Method Ringing


Getting Started









  Method Ringing - First Steps

Six Steps to get you going

Step 1: Learn enough to have a go

Have a browse around, talk to people, pick up on the concepts of rounds and call changes, watch some videos, make a list of questions that you need answering.

Definitely see YouTube video of Plain Bob Minor.

Step 2: Take the decision to "Have a go" (or walk away).

Step 3: Find a way of acquiring your initial skills.

The initial skills are just ringing in rounds and having a go at Plain Hunting.

The best way is to join a team.

If you can't join a team, go solo. Acquire a copy of Abel and a pair of e-bells, or use e-bells to go online to Ringing Room or Handbell Stadium.

Step 4: Practice, pracice, practice until you can ring Plain Hunting and Plain Bob

Step 5: Review

Step back and see what you have achieved. Change ringing is a rare skill, over 500,000 people live in Hull and East Yorkshire. Of those maybe 200 are change ringers, and of the 200, maybe 20 are handbell change ringers.

If you can ring Plain Bob, you are one of us.
Enjoy your ringing, and go set your next goals.

Step 6: Setting Goals

The learning process is iterative, learn something, try it, refine it.

The learning process can be aplied to various different areas once a firm foundation of Plain Bob has been laid. These area include memory skills, execution skills, method stages, method complexity, and conducting.

The goals shopuld include performances that get published, this keeps a record of achievements for all to see.

One of the delights of change ringing on handbells is the seemingly endless learning challenges; there is always something new to have a go at. Being a good learner is also fundamental to being a leader; for more notes on the learning process see Learning How.

Site Sections:

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells
Method Ringing

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells
Hull Project

A set of 12 handbells

Making Music

Making Music

Question: Why ring changes rather than play conventional music?

The physical limits of towerbells which turn a full circle, and which can weigh many hundreds of kilograms (although bellringers still work in hundredweights, quarters and pounds) preclude swift repetition of notes, therefore conventional music is impossible. Once some control had been gained over the periodicity of a towerbell, ringing sequences and changing those sequences followed. Handbell change ringers choose to work within the rules applying to towerbells.

Turning the abstract pattern into mathematical music has 4 key components:

The essential components of bellringing

Diagram: 01.01.02 The knowledge and skill categories of bellringing.

As a bellringer's skill increases, so the related theory becomes more complex, and the related techniques and skills become more extensive. Documenting these aspects of handbell change-ringing is the primary purpose of this website.

Question: How do you learn?

The information on this site is presented as a logical progression. Small steps, thorough understanding, and concerted practise in a team environment ensure progress in line with the natural talents of the learner.

Key Qualities

Question: What are the key qualities of a good learner?

  • An acute sense of rhythm
  • Motivation to succeed in spite of difficulties
  • Ability to listen in detail
  • Ability to absorb instructions and take action

As with any specialist activity there is much jargon. Our "jargon buster" is a glossary of terms, do browse the Glossary of Terms.

First Steps

First steps in Handbell Ringing

Bell Handling

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 bell's 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 (sometimes described as "rat splatching") should be avoided, but a mere wrist-flick movement is poor use of wrists and does not help with assimilation of the rhythm which is vital for good ringing.

The desired optimum is a combined, controlled but relaxed movement of both elbow and wrist.

Once the learner is comfortable ringing rounds and call changes, the spacings for Plain Hunting need to be learned and then practised. See Plain Hunting.

These two steps are (Call changes and Plain Hunting) the first example of the model in diagram 01.01.02.

  • The structure of Plain Hunting is the theory
  • The spacings of the pairs is the memory technique
  • Counting the bells is the execution technique
  • Practise takes place with a tutor in a team environment
  • The output is the fluid (but abstract) music of Plain Hunting

Now you can ring Plain Hunting with a good rhythm, it's time to:
For the vast majority, getting to ring two bells to Plain Hunting is a real achievement.

Then go on to learn and make achievements in Plain Bob, by far the most important method for a hanbdbell change-ringer.