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Ringing Beyond Rounds

Now you can ring rounds two in hand and ready for something a bit more exciting. 

How about changing the order you ring?  Just a little, to get the hang of it.  Here are some easy combinations you can try:


Keep the Bells in Your Hands

When we talk about changing the order of the bells, we mean the order of the sound.  You keep the bells in your hands at all times.

When ringers talk about a bell's position, they mean where it rings relative to the other bells, like the position of different notes in music. 

When you play different notes on a piano, you just play them in a different order, you don't have to take the keys and rearrange them all the time.  It is the same with bells.

Don't physically change the bells from one hand to another!
Remember that Rounds is when you ring all the bells around the circle clockwise.  So if you are holding onto a pair of handbells, you ring the bell in your right hand, and then the bell in your left hand.

Try it the other way around:  ring the bell in your left hand first, then the bell in your right hand.  This produces the following order:

2 - 1  4 - 3  6 - 5 and so on.

If you are ringing the Trebles (that is bells number 1 and2), it means that your bell number 2 (your left hand) is ringing first and your bell number 1 (your right hand) is ringing second.

In fact you have swapped places!

Try ringing 'Swapsies' and handstroke (the Up stroke) and then ringing rounds at backstroke (the Down stroke), and do that ten times in a row.


The Queens change sounds like a waterfall and is one of the prettiest changes there is.  When you ring Queens, the order of the bells is:

1 - 3 - 5   2 - 4 - 6

Looks hard?  It isn't.  First, take a look at the numbers:  first all the odd-numbered bells ring, then all the even-numbered bells ring.  If you are ringing handbells, it means that everybody rings the bells in their right hand, and then everybody rings the bells in their left hand.  It takes a little bit of practice but it makes sense once you see it working.

If you have coloured wristbands, ring Queens by ringing all the red hands first, then all the black hands.

So in this example with six bells, if you are ringing the Trebles, it means that your bell number 1 is ringing in first place, and your bell number 2 is ringing in fourth place.

If you were ringing four bells, your bell number 1 will ring first, and your bell number 2 will ring third.

Try ringing Queens every handstroke and returning to rounds at backstroke, and do that ten times in a row.

You can ring 'Black Queens' too: ring all the left hands (black wristbands) first, then all the right hands (red wristbands).  This makes an order of:

2 - 4 - 6   1 - 3 - 5

Which do you like better?

'Back Rounds'

This is better called 'backwards rounds' or 'reverse rounds'.  Back rounds is simply rounds backwards:

6 - 5  4 - 3  2 - 1

So, if rounds is where everyone rings in a clockwise direction, back rounds is in an anti-clockwise direction.  In other words, first you ring with your left hand, then your right hand, and then the next person does the same and so on.

If you are ringing the trebles you will find yourself ringing in the last two places.

It is quite difficult to combine rounds at one handstroke and back rounds at backstroke - but it is fun to try!  Why do you think this is harder than the other changes?

A good exercise with back rounds is to do Swapsies on back rounds (think of it as Reverse Swapsies):

5 - 6  3 - 4  1 - 2

So ring Reverse Swapsies at handstroke and Back Rounds at handstroke.