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set by the tenor, numbering starts with the smallest bell, which is
known as the treble.
This is because traditionally all ringing begins with the bells sounding in descending order. This sequence is always known as rounds and on eight bells would be written as:
Now comes the clever bit! It is possible to make sufficient change to the speed of individual bells for pairs of bells to swap position in the sequence, thus giving a new change:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 3 2 4 5 6 7 8
Here, the ringer of bell 3 has checked the bell, so that for this one change it rings quicker and so finds itself following bell 1 instead of bell 2. Bell 2, on the other hand, has been held on the balance so as to follow bell 3. Bell 3 is said to be in second’s
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This simple swapping of a single pair at a time is the basis of what are known as call changes. The swap is carried out on the instruction of a member of the team who has been nominated as conductor.
The new change is then rung repeatedly until a new instruction is given. Call changes are often used by relatively inexperienced teams,
In practice, perfection requires considerable skill!
place and bell 2 in third’s. If this is done perfectly, the other bells do not have to change speed and the overall rhythm of the change is not disturbed.
although in Devon and Cornwall they have been elevated to a fine art, with changes called almost continuously.
True change ringing, however, requires the order of the bells to change each time they are rung. By convention, changes should begin and end in rounds, with no changes repeated in between. To obtain some understanding of how this is done, look at Table 1. The order of the bells changes after each row, which is rung once.
The progression from row to row, however, only involves bells swapping their positions in pairs.
Thus, in moving from row one (rounds) to row two, the bell in first place (bell 1) swaps with the bell in second place (bell 2), the bell in third place (bell 3) swaps with the bell in fourth place (bell 4) and so on. For the change from row two to row three, the bell in first place (bell 2) stays in first place while the bell in second place (bell 1) swaps with the bell in third place (bell 4).
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