The Tower Handbook

13.3: Learning to ring rhythmically and strike well

a: Are rhythm and good striking the same thing?

No, but they are related. Each ringer needs a good rhythm (and accurate style) to strike. But you could ring with a very even rhythm in the wrong place! A well developed sense of rhythm and the ability to use it effectively are important for good striking, but not the whole story.

b: What are the essentials of good striking?

Good striking by the whole band means the overall sequential rhythm of all the bells striking is smooth and even. For this to work you must each make your bell fit into this overall rhythm, ie you must ring at exactly the same speed as everyone else and ring exactly one beat slower or faster when changing place. The practical things you must do to achieve this are:

c: What exactly do we mean by rhythm in ringing?

Rhythm is an internalised beat like a metronome. Rhythm is the heartbeat of ringing and ringing without rhythm is dreary and distressing. At least three different aspects of rhythm are important:

d: What is ringing by rhythm?

Ringing by rhythm means that the next blow is a natural continuation of the ones before. The start of each swing occurs naturally without hesitation. Ringing by rhythm produces smooth ringing that can survive disturbances. You can't ring purely by rhythm as you need something to feed back whether you are striking in the right place. Then you can make small corrections to the rhythm. You can make corrections by eye or by ear, but ear is more accurate. In contrast, if you wait until you see what the bell in front is doing before committing to the next swing, you will produce less smooth ringing, that is less resistant to disturbances.

e: How does ringing heavy bells help develop rhythm?

It makes you plan further ahead in the way you handle the bell, to control the greater weight effectively. You must adjust your pulling and checking for what you want to do at the following stroke, as well as at this stroke.

f: How does ringing light bells help develop rhythm?

Very light bells are quite a challenge for most ringers. They swing more quickly and are very sensitive to any handling blemishes. You must supply much more of the rhythm, especially during the time the bell is beyond the balance.

g: Are there any golden rules?

You can't boil ringing down to a few rules that guarantee success, but here are a few important things you might find helpful. Keep them at the back of your mind, especially when things seem to go wrong and you are not sure why.

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