Group name - Hull Handbell Change Ringers

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  Development: Ringing on the Internet

Physical Ringing versus Virtual Ringing

As a consequence of the constraints of COVID-19 the ability to collaborate over the internet was developed and became a practical reality in the summer of 2020. However, the experience behind this page relates only to Handbell Stadium and Ringing Rooom, we cannot comment on other facilities

Handbell Stadium versus Ringing Room

The approaches are markedy diffierent. Ringing Room is intended to simulate both Towerbells and Handbellls, where Handbell Stadium is focused ourely on handbells.

Both environments are compatible with Action XL motion controllers (no longer available for purchase), and with E-bells.

In either case an upward movement of the controller or e-bell represents the upward movement, handstroke of the physical bell; downwards for the backstroke. The desired optimum is a combined, controlled but relaxed movement of both elbow and wrist.

Whilst Ringing Room can also be "driven" from a keyboard, the temptation to do this should be resisted. One of the great difficulties in handbell ringing is to feel and fit in with a good rhythm; physical movement of a bell, with its size and weight gives a much better feel for the speed and rhythm of the ringing than a finger tapping a key.

Ringing Room is visually close to Abel, and anyone experienced in Abel will easily adapt to the environment. Ringing Room also enables bands to be “filled out” with electronic ringers (Wheatley) when there is a shortage of human ringers. Handbell Stadium is visually more advanced than Ringing Room being a simulation of a room, people, and bells.

The following Youtube videos give a good impression of online ringing:
Controllers and Abel
E-Bells and Stadium


Site Sections:

The good, the bad and the interesting.

Internet ringing enables collaboration across counties and continents, a great deal of progress has been made in this way, and without the overhead and environmental cost of travelling.

The ability to ring whilst forbidden to meet has enabled essential skills to be maintained and enhanced, whilst non-participants have fallen back.

Internet ringing suffers from some drawbacks.

• The responsiveness of internet connections varies immensely, and so two ringers in the same virtual ringing session might have wildly varying experiences. That variation also demands greater resilience from the ringers involved.

• The lack of line of sight communication excludes much information that is useful to a conductor, this includes facial expressions, nervous or confident movements, mistimed movements, and so forth. A lot of band assistance takes place without speaking, and is excluded from virtual ringing.

• Virtual ringing also seems to be significantly more tiring than real ringing, the cause of this has not been identified.

There are consequences of the above which include a lower success rate on quarter peals, a huge increase in frustration for people in remote areas, and an overall reduction in the enjoyment of handbell ringing.

In spite of the drawbacks, internet ringing has been a boon to handbell ringing, much has been learned and achieved. Our thanks go to the technologists.