GLOSSARY OF RINGING TERMS

    This glossary contains the briefest of descriptions of terms. Further information is contained in the various articles, some of which can be reached by following links within this glossary. Click on the letters below to go to the sections which start with that letter.

ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ



A

Alliance
    A type of method in which the Treble dodges in 5-6 and higher positions. The name derives from the fact that little methods need to be "allied" with these methods in order to produce extents.

Anticlockwise
    Most rings of bells are said to be "clockwise", meaning that if the ropes were viewed from above in a clockwise direction the bell numbers corresponding to them would increase. Anticlockwise rings of bells are the other way round. See also "Clockwise".



B

B Block
    A piece of ringing in which there is a bob at every opportunity and which comes back to its starting place.

Back
    The final two positions within a change.

Backstroke
    The stroke made when the rope is pulled by the tail end.

Before
    A calling position in which the tenor runs out at a bob instead of making 2nd's.

Bell
    Big heavy metal thing that goes bong when struck with a big hammer.

Bob (1)
    A device that causes a odd number of bells (usually 3) to vary their work, usually at the backstroke of the Treble's full lead.

Bob (2)
    A type of plain method in which an internal place is made at either the lead head or the half lead (or both).

Blister
    A skin lesion caused by the loosening and possible removal of the outer layers of the skin; one of the more attractive aspects of ringing. See also "Micropore".



C

Call Changes (ringing call changes, calling call changes)
    A system of ringing in which pairs of adjacent bells are instructed by a conductor to change places with each other.

Calling Position
    A point in a piece of ringing, usually at a lead end, at which bobs and singles can be called and named after where the tenor ends up as a result of the call. Calling positions include:
 
Name Abbreviation
Home/Right H/R
Wrong W
Middle M
Fifths V or 5ths
Fourths 4ths
In I
Out/Before O/B
Thirds 3rds

plus any others, which are named after the position the tenor rings in.

Caters
    Changes on 9 bells.

Change
    A particular order in which bells are rung. See also "Row". Some authorities distinguish between changes that are rung and rows that are written down. There is also the view that a change occurs between rows and one authority even refers to rows as "change-rows" and the transformation of one into the next as the "change-row interval".

Change Ringing
    A system of ringing in which the ringer learns predetermined sets of positions in which to ring the bell. Ringers change places at each pull of the rope.

Chime
    To operate a bell so that either it is only swinging through part of a circle (swing chime) or it is hit by a hammer (clock chime).

Cinques
    Changes on 11 bells.

Clapper
    The hammer which swings inside a bell and strikes the soundbow.

Clock Chime
    To sound a bell with a hammer, as in clock chimes.

Clockwise
    Most rings of bells are said to be "clockwise", meaning that if the ropes were viewed from above in a clockwise direction the bell numbers corresponding to them would increase. Anticlockwise rings of bells are the other way round. See also "Anticlockwise".

Closed
    A style of ringing in which each change runs straight on from the previous one without any gap.

Composition
    A set of calls and methods changes to produce a touch, quarter peal or peal or the act of producing such a thing.

Course Head
    The first row of any course of a method. The tenor may or may not be in last place.

Cover
    When ringing a method for an odd number of bells, an additional bell which rings last in each change is added. This is the cover bell.

Cross Section
    In treble bob methods, when the treble moves from one dodging place to the next this is a cross section.

Crown
    The top of a bell.

Crown Staple
    The device from which the clapper is suspended within a bell. The crown staple is fixed by a bolt which passes through the crown.



D

Delight
        Any treble bob method with internal places made at all but one cross sections is called "delight". For minor methods there is one internal place made. If this is fourth's then the method is a "fourth's place delight" and if it is third's then the method is a "third's place delight".

Dingler
    A metal toggle attached to the end of a Hastings stay which engages with a short track at the end of which is a stop against which a bell rests when set.

Division
    Any method or principle is divided into sections of repeating structure. These are called divisions. The term "lead" is also used for methods.

Dodge
    To perform a manoeuvre in which you strike your bell over another bell, under that bell, back over that bell and then back under that bell. It can also be performed the other way round, vis strike under another bell, over that bell, back under that bell and then back over that bell.

Double
    A method in which the work performed in the front half of the method is a mirror image of that performed in the back half.

Double Hunt
    A method in which there is more than one hunt bell, usually the Treble and some other bell. The other bell will be affected at calls and another bell will take its place.

Doubles
    Changes on 5 bells.

Doubles Variation
    A means of increasing the variety of five-bell ringing by altering the work at and around the normal bob for a particular doubles method. The term "doubles variation" refers to the same effect generated by a half lead splice on higher numbers.

Drum
    Alternative name for cover.



E

Exercise (1)
    Old name for a type of treble bob method with internal places made at all but two cross sections.

Exercise (2)
    A term used by some to mean "bell ringing".

Extension
    Methods on a given number of bells can be extended to higher numbers of bells. There is a procedure laid down for this.

Extent
    The total number of changes that can be rung on a given number of bells:
 
Bells Changes
1 1
2 2
3 6
4 24
5 120
6 720
7 5040
8 40320
9 362880
10 3628800
11 39916800
12 479001600

Extreme
    In sophisticated call changes and some methods ringing, the swapping of the pair of bells at the opposite end of the change to the whole hunt (the extreme bells) is and extreme change, or extreme.



F

False
    Any piece of ringing in which one or more changes are repeated. Sometimes it is allowed to repeat changes. In particular, peals and quarter peals on fewer than 7 bells must do this to produce the required length. Any such touch must contain either each possible change the same number of times (e.g. 1440 Plain Bob Minor, each change twice) or some changes once more (e.g. 1260 Plain Bob Minor, each change once then 540 changes once more).

False Course Head
    A course head which generates a course containing some rows that also occur in the plain course.

Fifths
    A calling position in which the tenor ends up in fifth's place (except where this has another name).

Fire
    Deliberately to ring several or all of the bells at the same time. When all the bells are fired they can be rung: so that they all sound exactly together; so they sound like very rapid descending Rounds; so they sound like very rapid ascending Rounds.

Fire Out
    The conclusion of a piece of ringing which has reached a state of firing up.

Fire Up
    A period during a piece of ringing when several bells are ringing at the same time, sometimes for only a few minutes.

Fourths
    A calling position at which the tenor makes 4th's.

Front
    The lowest two positions in a change.



G

Go
    The command given to ringers to tell them to start a piece of change ringing.

Gudgeon Pin
    Either of the small axles on which the bell rotates.



H

Half Hunt
    A working bell which performs a repeating work but whose work is shortest such work of all working bells.

Half Lead
    The point, half way through a lead, where the Treble's path starts to go back the way it came.

Half Pull
    A handstroke or a backstroke. See also "Whole Pull".

Half Pull Ringing
    Method ringing where ringers change places at every pull of the rope.

Handstroke
    The stroke made when the rope is pulled by the sally.

Headstock
    The large wooden or metal beam that the bell is screwed to.

Home
    A calling place in which the tenor ends up back at the start of the course.

Hunt Bell (1)
    Every method has at least one bell which performs a repeating work and which returns to its starting place at regular intervals during a plain course. This is the hunt bell.

Hunt Bell (2)
    In double hunt methods, the bell, other than the Treble, which is also hunting.



I

I
    The initial rows of each lead of Plain Bob Major. Thus Io is Rounds, I1 is 13527486, I2 is 15738264, etc..

In
    A calling position at which the tenor runs in.

In Course
    See "Nature".

Irregular
    Of a method that either does not have Plain Bob lead ends and lead heads or possesses one or more other unacceptable qualities such as, in minor methods for example, 5th's place made when the treble is not at the back.



J



K

K
    In Stedman, the bells above 3rd's place in, and the "nature" of, the first row of a six characterises (hence K, for characteristic!) which six is being rung.



L

Lead (1)
    To ring a bell in 1st place.

Lead (2)
    A division of a method extending from when the Treble leads to when it leads again.

Lead End
    The final row of a lead of a method. This is usually the handstroke of the Treble's full lead.

Lead Head
    The first row of a lead of a method. This is usually the backstroke of the Treble's full lead.

Lead Head Group
    Most methods are designed to use Plain Bob lead heads. This means that these methods may ring the leads in a different order to Plain Bob but nevertheless, each lead starts with a Plain Bob lead head. There is a limited number of different orders in which the leads can be rung. Each one is given a different identifying letter.

Lie
    To perform two or more consecutive blows at the back. Formerly used to refer to the act of remaining in any position, except lead, for two or more blows.

Little Method
    A method in which the Treble only hunts part of the way to the back.



M

Major
    Changes on 8 bells.

Make
    To make a place is to ring at least twice in the same place. To make a bob is to make the place which is made at a bob.

Maximus
    Changes on 12 bells.

Method
    Any system of change ringing in which there is one or more hunt bells and several working bells.

Micropore
    A very effective treatment for sore hands and blisters caused by ringing. It is obtainable from Boots.

Middle
    A calling plosition on at least 7 bells in which the tenor ends up two positions from the back.

Middle Bells
    The central third of all the bells in a ring.

Minimus
    Changes on 4 bells.

Minor
    Changes on 6 bells.

Minus
    See "Nature".

Miscall
    If, when calling any touch, the sequence of calls is not correctly adhered to, the touch is said to have been miscalled.



N

Nature
    Every change, or row, has a "nature". That is, every row can be reached from Rounds either by swapping and even number of pairs of bells or an odd number of pairs of bells. Any row that can be reached with an even number of swaps cannot be reached with and odd number, and vice versa. Rounds, and any row reached from Rounds by an even number of swaps, is said to be "positive", "plus (+)" or "in course". Any row reached from Rounds by an odd number of swaps is said to be "negative", "minus (-)" or "out of course".

Negative
    See "Nature".



O

Open
    A style of ringing in which the handstroke leads are preceded with a gap just big enough to fit an extra bell in.

Out
    A calling position in which the tenor runs out as the treble leads. It is used in situations when it would run out whether there was a call or not.

Out Of Course
    See "Nature".



P

Peal
    A piece of ringing consisting of at least 5040 changes, in multiples of the extent, on 7 or fewer bells and at least 5000 changes on 8 or more bells.

Pivot Bell
    In methods with an odd number of divisions there is always one lead which is symmetrical. This is the pivot bell.

Plain Bearing
    A type of bearing in which the gudgeon pin is not supported on balls or rollers. Such bearings need frequent lubrication and the ringing of bells mounted on plain bearings requires more effort than of bells on more modern bearings.

Plain Course
    Any piece of ringing which proceeds without any bobs or singles.

Plus
    See "Nature".

Positive
    See "Nature".

Principle
    Any system of change ringing in which all the bells are working bells with the same work.

Proof
    The process by which a composer or conductor checks that a touch is true.



Q

Q Set
    A set of bobs called on the same bells until those bells return to their position before the first bob.

Quarter Hunt
    A bell which performs a repeating work but whose work is the third shortest such work.

Quarter Peal
    A piece of ringing consisting of at least one quarter of the number of changes, but not significantly more, required for a peal on that number of bells.

Queens
    A row produced by ringing the odd numbered bells then the even numbered bells:

        135246
        13572468
        1357924680
        13579E24680T



R

Right (1)
    Places made at handstroke and backstroke, dodges at backstroke and hunting as in Plain Hunt are known as right places, dodges and hunting.

Right (2)
    A calling place in which the tenor ends up back at the start of the course. This is an older name for the more common term "home".

Ring (1)
    A set of bells is also known as a ring of bells.

Ring (2)
    To operate a bell so that it turns full circle.

Rounds
    The order in which a ring of bells is rung in descending order of pitch.

Row
    Any order of the bells when written down or rung can be called a row. See also "Change".

Royal
    Changes on 10 bells.

Run In
    At a call where a bell would have moved from 3rd's place to fourth's but instead moves to 2nd's, the bell is said to run in.

Run Out
    At a call where a bell would have made 2nd's place but instead moves to 3rd's, the bell is said to run out.



S

Sally
    The fluffy woollen part of a bell rope.

Septuples
    Changes on 15 bells.

Set
    A bell resting against the stay and is stationary is set.

Sextuples
    Changes on 13 bells.

Single
    A device which causes an even number of bells (usually 2) to vary their work, usually at the backstroke of the Treble's full lead. Its purpose is to alter the nature of the rows.

Singles
    Changes on 3 bells.

Slider
    A piece of wood which lies across the base of a bell pit, pivotted at one end and against which the stay rests when the bell is set.

Soundbow
    The thick part of a bell around the edge.

Special Alliance
    A type of method in which the Treble dodges in 3-4 and higher positions.

Splice (1)
    To join two bits of rope by intertwining their strands.

Splice (2)
    To include several methods in a piece of ringing such that the touch remains true.

Stand
    A command given at the end of a piece of ringing to tell the ringers to stand their bells. Also used during a peal attempt to bring unsatisfactory ringing to a premature end.

Stage
    The number of bells that a method is rung on. Stages are referred to by name:

         Bells       Stage Name
          3 bells:    Singles
          4 bells:    Minimus
          5 bells:    Doubles
          6 bells:    Minor
          7 bells:    Triples
          8 bells:    Major
          9 bells:    Caters
        10 bells:    Royal
        11 bells:    Cinques
        12 bells:    Maximus
        13 bells:    Sextuples
        14 bells:    14
        15 bells:    Septuples
        16 bells:    16
        etc.

Stay
    A mechanism on which a bell rests when in the set position. It is a device to allow a bell to stop ringing without having to lower it.

Surprise
    A type of treble bob method in which there is an internal place at each cross section.

Swing Chime
    To sound a bell by swinging it though a small arc so that its clapper strikes the side.



T

Tail End
    The doubled back end of the bell rope, below the sally.

Tenor
    The bell with the lowest pitch, usually the heaviest.

Tenors
    The heaviest bells of a ring; usually 7 and 8 on eight bells, 7, 8, 9 and 0 on ten bells, 9, 0, E and T on twelve bells.

That's All
    The call made at the end of a piece of change ringing to tell the ringers to stop.

Thirds
    A calling position in which the tenor makes 3rd's. This is usually at a single, where a bob would make the tenor run in.

Tittums
    A row produced by alternating the small and the large bells:

        142536
        15263748
        1627384959
        172839405E6T

Touch
    Any piece of ringing but usually applied to short pieces containing bobs or singles.

Treble
    The bell with the highest pitch, usually the lightest bell.

Trebles
    The lightest bells of a ring.

Treble Bob (1)
    A type of hunting in which a bell dodges in successive dodging places.

Treble Bob (2)
    A type of method in which the hunt bell performs treble bob hunting.

Treble Bob (3)
    A treble bob method without any internal places at any cross section is known as treble bob.

Triples
    Changes on 7 bells.

True
    A true touch is any touch which either contains each change once. Sometimes it is allowed to repeat changes. In particular, peals and quarter peals on fewer than 7 bells must do this to produce the required length. Any such touch must contain either each possible change the same number of times (e.g. 1440 Plain Bob Minor, each change twice) or some changes once more (e.g. 1260 Plain Bob Minor, each change once then 540 changes once more).



U

Up
    A bell which is swinging full circle or is set or stood is said to be up.



V

Variable Hunt
    A piece of ringing in which it is contrived that the hunt bell of the method being rung is changed from being the Treble to being some other bell. The change is brought about by the use of a call invented for the purpose.

Variation
    The changing of a composition by starting it at other places, turning it upside down, back to front and inside out.



W

Whittington's
        Changes which are formed by splitting the bells into groups of 6 starting from the big ones and ending up with some little ones left over. In each group, including the remaining small bells, the odd numbered bells are rung in reverse order followed by the even numbered bells:

        531246
        12753468
        3124975680
        531246E9780T

Whole Hunt
    A bell which performs the shortest repeating work in a method.

Whole Pull
    A handstroke and backstroke or a backstroke and handstroke. See also "Half Pull".

Whole Pull Ringing
    Method ringing in which each change is rung at handstroke and backstroke with changes taking place at handstroke only.

Working Bell
    Any bell in a principle and any bell other than hunt bells in a method which performs the work of the method.

Wrong (1)
    Places made at backstroke and handstroke, dodges at handstroke and hunting the opposite way as in Plain Hunt are known as wrong places, dodges and hunting.

Wrong (2)
    A calling place in which the tenor ends up one position from the back of the change.



X



Y



Z


Back to the ringing Home Page.