Rounds

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In a typical tower, the ropes are arranged in a circle with the order of the note of the bell descending in a clockwise direction. Rounds is the name of given to the descending scale produced when the bells ring in this order; from the highest (the Treble) to lowest (the Tenor).

        Treble

Tenor              2nd

 5th               3rd

          4th

Ringing Rounds

Once each ringer has got a rope and is ready to ring, the ringer of the Treble calls "Look to..." at which point they check that each ringer is ready to start. Next the treble ringer calls "Treble going..." and pulls the treble bell up to the Balance Point. Finally the treble ringer calls "... treble's gone" to indicate that the bell has begun its swing.

As the treble is being pulled off, the second bell follows, then the third, and so on to the tenor. In this way, by the time the tenor is pulled off, the treble will have reached its balance at backstroke and be about to pull off again. When the treble reaches handstroke again, it is pulled off as the tenor ringer pulls off at backstroke to continue the rounds.

Finally to finish ringing, the Conductor calls "Stand!" to signal to the whole band to stand their bells at the next handstroke.

Striking

Rounds is the first piece of ringing a learner will attempt after mastering how to handle a bell on their own. It is at this point that they have to master the correct speed at which to ring.

The limiting factor to how fast the bells can ring rounds is the speed at which the tenor will ring. The aim is for the preceeding bells all to ring with an even gap in the time the tenor takes to swing. This means that on higher numbers of bells, the gap between each bell sounding will need to be much smaller than on lower numbers.

Usually after the first few rounds a band will settle down and find the right gap to leave. An individual ringer will just need to attempt to make the gap between them and the bell before the same as the gap between the two bells ahead. If they are too close to the bell ahead, they should pull harder and hold it longer when it reaches the next balance point, allowing them to increase the gap slightly. If they are too far apart, they should pull less and bring the bell in slightly quicker at the next balance point, allowing them to decrease the gap.

However it is important to remember that these are usually only slight adjustments. If you wish to increase or decrease the gap between you and the bell in front you should only increase or decrease your pull and hold ever-so slightly. If you over-compensate you will find yourself needing to make the opposite adjustment and will end up having a tug-of-war with yourself!

Handstroke Lead

Another consideration when ringing rounds is that when the treble pulls off at handstoke they should leave a slightly larger gap over the tenor than normal. The gap should be roughly the size of an extra bell and helps to keep each pair of rounds (handstroke and backstroke) separate and stop the ringing gaining in speed.

Therefore rounds on six might be written as follows:

1  2  3  4  5  6  1  2  3  4  5  6  .  1  2  3  4  5  6  1  2  3  4  5  6  .  1  2  3  4  5  6  1  2  3  4  5  6

|--------------|  |--------------|  ^  |--------------|  |--------------|  ^  |--------------|  |--------------|
   Handstroke        Backstroke     |     Handstroke        Backstroke     |     Handstroke        Backstroke
                                    |                                      |
                                   Gap                                    Gap

It is up to the treble to make this pause, however it will mean that you will have to hold up slightly longer at handstroke.


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