Hand Bell Range Is Incorrect

• Mar 30, 2011 - 23:00
S5 - Suggestion

The convention for hand bell music is to have middle C in the bass clef, along with its sharp. The treble should have D and its flat. This would move the "Low Hand Bell" max range from 60 to 61 and the "High Hand Bell" min range from 60 to 61.

And technically, the instrument range is from C1 to C9 (so would need to be expanded on each end); but the common limit is the one that is currently set.

To further complicate matters, middle C (normally C4) on a handbell staff is actually C5; I'm not sure if you'd want to transpose the staff to reflect that fact.


Status (old) active needs info

In actual fact there are just Handbells now, written on a grand staff, as from the music examples I have been able to obrain this is how they are notated.

I have only been able to obtain somewhat sketchy information about ranges.

But I gather the norm is a 5 octave set ranging from MIDI 36 to 97 which is the range I have put in, although there are additional bells to extend the set to 9 octaves available (8 from British manufacturers).

I've no information as to whether they are octave transposing. The only source of this information is the American Malamuk manufacturer, so there could be different systems in different countries.

Put it this way I would need confirmation from handbell specialists from different countries to alter the status quo.

Marking as needs info

I've played bells professionally in both America and Japan. 2 of the 4 major handbell foundries are in Pennsylvania (Malmark and schulmerich), with Whitechapel and P&F over in Europe. In my experience, the American manufacturers are far more popular for handbells abroad and domestic.

To confirm notation, yes, it is typically written on a grand staff in the same manner of a piano. The convention (as noted above) is to put middle C in the bass clef. Also as noted, they are written an octave lower than they sound. http://cnx.org/contents/95d98d84-3f42-48c7-8be3-7bf76b05ede7@21/Transpo…

If you let me know what is considered confirmation, I'll get that information to you.

Thanks for this Jynx :)

As a professional handbell player I will certainly take your word on ranges etc.

The only thing I need to know is - are there regional differences, or do European tintinnabulists follow the same rules as US and Japan?

Unfortunately my own experience of ringing handbells was to learn change ringing on the big ones you pull with a rope :)