Thinking of learning to ring?

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The English style of ringing bells is different to the way it is done elsewhere in the world. Rather than swinging the bells randomly with their mouths down, our bells can be rested in the upright position. Swinging the bell "full-circle" allows us to control the exact time at which the bell strikes; which in turn makes it possible to ring the bells in sequences of our choice. These sequences and the mechnanisms used to reorder them make ringing more of a mathematical exercise than a musical one.


Why learn?

Having ringing as a hobby means there is always something to learn; once you've learnt to ring your bell comfortably, you learn to fit your bell in with others. You then learn all about the different "methods" of mixing the combinations of bells up. With thousands of methods of varying complexity there is always something to learn.

Ringing cannot take place without a team ... well OK it can, but it would be very boring! It is a unique activity where 6 to 12 ringers at once are all focusing on putting their bells into the right place. After ringing, it is traditional to adjourn to the local pub, especially if it contains proper beer!

Becoming a ringer opens the door to ringing practices throughout the country. The practice nights and Sunday ringing times for each tower that has an active band, are listed in Dove's Guide. The vast majority of towers will warmly welcome any visiting ringer who turns up to their practices. This convention of visiting practices and welcoming visitors to your practice means that if you move to another area of the country or find yourself with nothing to do whilst on holiday or business, you can probably locate a nearby practice to join and with it a new circle of friends.

I didn’t know where to find this info then kboaom it was here.

Do I have to be strong?

No. Although bells can be heavy, the method of ringing full-circle means that the skill in ringing is more about technique than strength. Having said that, as the bells range in size according to the note, some of the bigger bells require some muscle and can often provide a good work out! (Incidentally this is the origin of the term "dumbbell".)

Do I have to be musical?

Again, no. Although the bells produce a form of music, we don't follow any normal kind of musical notation. We are interested in the combinations and permutations that the bells produce, so it is more closely connected to mathematics. (That's not to say you need to be mathematical either!)

How long does it take to learn?

Learning to ring can be compared with learning to drive a car. It can be done in a couple of weeks if practiced every day, but may take several months with a weekly practice. But really this depends on the individual's natural ability on the end of a rope.

That saves me. Thanks for being so ssneilbe!

Ah … Campanology!

For some reason this seems to be everybody's favourite piece of pub quiz trivia! But actually it refers to "bell knowledge", or the study of bells, rather than ringing them. So the next time someone ventures that piece of information, you can correct them with a superior air!

More Information

More information about bell ringing can be found at:

Towers & Branch Map News Events Ringing Articles Committee
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