Bellringers

Change Ringing

 Change Ringing The bells are mounted on wheels which are turned by means of a rope passing round the rim of the wheel and controlled by the ringer on a lower floor, who cannot see the bell he or she is ringing. Each bell turns through nearly a full circle and is struck at the end of its swing by the clapper suspended inside the bell from its crown. This method of ringing makes the playing of tunes impracticable and the aim of change-ringing is to produce a changing pattern of sound which, nevertheless, when well done, is both rhythmic and musical. The bells begin by ringing down the scale and, at a signal from the conductor, proceed to ring in a different order each time the bell-ropes are pulled. There are fixed rules governing the way in which the position of each bell in these changing sequences can change and the bells must eventually return to ringing down the scale, without any one change being repeated.  Set patterns are called methods, and the music laid out in a grid.  This basic method is called Plain Hunt:

1 2 3 4 5 6

2 1 4 3 6 5

2 4 1 6 3 5

4 2 6 1 5 3

4 6 2 5 1 3

6 4 5 2 3 1

6 5 4 3 2 1

5 6 3 4 1 2

5 3 6 1 4 2

3 5 1 6 2 4

3 1 5 2 6 4

1 3 2 5 4 6

1 2 3 4 5 6

Since one person can ring only one bell, change-ringing is very much a team enterprise and requires great concentration on the part of all the ringers. To ring all ten bells requires ten people, but musical changes can also be rung on either the eight heaviest or the six lightest bells. Would-be ringers have to learn first how to control the bell –not as easy as it looks!—and second, how to see their own way through the changing pattern of sound that they are trying to produce.

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