Group name - Hull Handbell Change Ringers

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Learning the Ropes - Handbells - Review

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Learning The Ropes

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Level 1 - Foundation Skills

Learn how to ring handbells safely and rhythmically, learn the 3 basic patterns of six bell ringing, and be able to ring a pair of bells in the right order.

Practical Targets

The bell is rung without flex to the leather or danger to the metal.

I have never known this to be a problem.

The bell sounds evenly on each stroke without double clappering.

Ergonomics are very important and not just at a foundation level. However, the issues are more to do with the ringers than with the bells. The only issue with the bells is when they have been compromised by adjustment for tune ringing. Bells that have been left alone will work for at leas 50 years without problem.

Issues arise where a ringer:

  • has inadequate freedom of movement of the fore-arm
  • launches the bell into a row after scratching nose, or whatever
  • flourishes the bell sideways after striking,
  • or waggles the bell after failing to get it to strike first time

The objective is a simple, clear economical movement resulting in one single time-controlled note.

Arms are relaxed and at rest between full strokes.

This is an incorrect requirement.
On finishing ringing in a change row, the mind should immediately be prepared for the next striking of the bells, which should be held in readiness.

Handbell ringers suffer from mental fatigue more than physical tiredness. Resting bells on knees is un-necessary, and is distracting owing to the muting of the bells natural resonance, and should be avoided.

Ringing is even and rhythmical.

The rhythmic requirement changes over time. When a learner is struggling with a concept there will not be enough brainpower to give a good rhythm, best endeavours are perfectly acceptable. When a method is within a learners mental grasp, approximate striking is not good enough, crisp, accurate, even rhythm is expected.

Maintains an open handstroke lead.


Ring plain hunting on a coursing pair, minor or higher.


Ring plain hunting on a pair in opposites, minor or higher.


Ring plain hunting on a pair in 2/3 position, minor or higher.

The word position is ambiguous, 2-3 pattern is preferred, requirement agreed.

Rings without mistakenly crossing bells - or consciously swaps them back without prompting.

Teaching how to ring without crossing should commence at this level with understanding the requirement. The achievement of the requirement needs to come when ringing methods, not when ringing plain hunting.

Theory Targets

Define and understand:


See Glossary entry for Handstroke


See Glossary entry for Backstroke


It is unclear whether this means change-rows, or changes between rows, probably the former.


See Glossary entry for Hunting


It is unclear how many definitions of the word lead are required.
See Glossary entry for Lead

Open handstroke lead

This is a practical requirement.
See Glossary entry for Open handstroke lead


See Glossary entry for Lie


Backchange is what you get when you pay for a small round with a 20 note.
See Glossary entry for Backchange
Reverse Rounds is much easier to understand.

In / Out

See Glossary entry for In / Out

Front / Back

See Glossary entry for Front / Back

Treble / Tenor

See Glossary entries for Treble / Tenor

Quick / Slow

See Glossary entries for Quick / Slow

Up, Down and In

This seems to be a duplication.
See Glossary entry for Up, Down and In

Coursing position

See Plain Hunting on 6

Opposites position

See Plain Hunting on 6

2/3 position

See Plain Hunting on 6

Minimus / Minor / Major

See Glossary entries for Minimus / Minor / Major

Singles / Doubles / Triples

See Glossary entries for Singles / Doubles / Triples

Write out plain hunting on 6 in figures and show the blue lines for coursing, opposites and 2-3 patterns.

This practical requirement shoud precede ringing plain hunting.

Practice using ringing software

This requirement is unclear as a theory target. As a practical target there are huge implications on accessibility of equipment and software. The positioning of the requirement is also strange, coming after the requirement to be able to ring all three patterns to plain hunting.

Quarter Peal Requirements

No performances required at level 1.