[r-t] Handbell Touch

Philip Earis Earisp at rsc.org
Wed Nov 8 14:50:48 UTC 2006

Thank you for the compliment - I'm glad you enjoyed the touch, and I was
proud to be asked to ring in it.

I knocked it up after returning from the pub on the evening of Wednesday
25 October. The ASCY master had requested a 16-bell touch, and Mr
Mounsey was doing the organising.  The usual 'standard' options of
Stedman, Bristol, Kent, Littleport all have advantages and
disadvantages, but I thought something very new and yet considerably
better and more musical could be achieved.

Coming up with a 16-bell dinner-touch is actually quite constrained,
especially in two main ways:

1) Length.  To keep people's attention you don't want to exceed a few
minutes (or up to around 140 changes).  This doesn't give you much to
play with on 16 bells (2 leads of a treble-dodging method).

2) Difficulty. You don't want to spanner things up, the band don't ring
together at all, handbell ringers generally have little experience of
16-bell ringing, and there is very little practice-time before the

Now I'm a bit of an evangelist for mega-tittums (all consecutive bells
coursing) - see my emails to this list on the subject a few months ago.
The mega-tittums effect is absolutely gorgeous (and yet unfamiliar and
novel), and sounds even more impressive with the more bells you add - 16
is a great number.  As all the bells are coursing, if you have a simple,
coursing-dominated method like Kent then it becomes fairly
straightforward to ring too. All in all, ideal.

I therefore knocked together the following true 120-change touch, which
consists of four blocks:

1) A link method with Bristol-style hunting to a point motifs over the
treble, and treble-dodging below, to get the bells into mega-tittums

2) Some original to get the treble back to the front

3) A full lead of Kent 16 to exploit the mega-tittums, finishing with a
123D single

4) A quick simple link to bring it round (-5-7-9-E-A-C)

I think it all worked well together. David Pipe suggested a different
link for block (1) with more elegant notation (namely - effectively Septuples), where the back
bells dodging till the treble arrives. However, the music in the link we
actually rang is somewhat more subtle and neat.

I made a recording from Abel myself shortly after composing it - I can
put this on my website this evening.  If anyone was at the dinner and
either recorded some of the ringing, or knows of a recording, please let
me know - I'd very much like to hear it!


-----Original Message-----
From: Julian Parker [mailto:juliancparker at yahoo.co.uk] 
Sent: 08 November 2006 14:20
To: ringing-theory at bellringers.net
Subject: [r-t] Handbell Touch

As one of those fortunate to witness the awesome
handbell ringing on 16 at the College Youths' Dinner
last weekend, can someone supply details of the touch?
I would love to feed it into Abel for a rerun!

Julian Parker

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