Frequently asked questions

Why do we wear gloves?

Gloves are worn as much to protect the bells as the musicians. Bells have a very long life and sweat and oils from the skin will cause tarnishing of the bell metal and damage to the leather handles. Too much polishing of the bells will alter their tuning. Bells are tuned by milling metal from the inside of the bell so the pitch can only be altered in one direction.

Do the bells make a loud noise?

The bells, are not loud at all. The larger bells in fact do not carry particularly far in a room with dead acoustics.

What kind of music do we play?

We play a wide variety of music and try to give a balanced programme. 

Do you need to be able to read music to play handbells?

It certainly helps, but some people who can read music find it more of a challenge than they expected. The music is much like piano music but you only play some of the notes yourself. It is quite easy to teach the rudiments of rythmn provided you can count up to 4 (or sometimes more) and coloured marks can be written over the notes that you have to play to denote left or right hands. People who already play a solo instrument such as a flute have to get used to following all of the music (not just the melody line) and pianists have to look deeper into the music to pick out only the notes which they have to play.