Thomas A. Alspaugh
Ringing Speeds

(This topic is also discussed under Plain Hunt.)

I invested in an extremely capable metronome app that can produce four kinds of clicks in patterns of up to 20, in order to work on my striking. It's a sort of poor-man's ringing simulator.

Bells Peal
times
Beats/
min.
Sec./
beat
4 2h26 155 0.387s
5 2h32 174 0.330s
6 2h38 197 0.288s
8 2h50 206 0.240s
Table 1. Standard paces
for 4 through 8 bells

Using it, I empirically determined the beats per minute (bpm) corresponding to the default speeds at which the Abel/Mabel/Möbel ringing simulator rings, using the default full-beat handstroke pause (Table 1).

A little arithmetic let me infer the corresponding average rounds, hunting-out, and hunting-in speeds (Table 2).

For example:

• Four bells are rung at 155 bpm, including a full-bell's-length handstroke pause; each full pull (handstroke and backstroke) at rounds speed takes 9 beats (4 handstroke, 4 backstroke, 1 handstroke pause), so 155/9=17.2 full pulls per minute.
• Each full pull at hunting-out speed takes 11 beats (handstroke + 4 beats, backstroke + 5 beats) so 155/11=14.09 full pulls per minute.

As the figure shows, the speed slows to hunting-out speed after the preceding backstroke, then accelerates to (in this case) rounds speed after the handstroke in 4ths.

• Each full pull at hunting-in speed takes 7 beats (handstroke + 2 beats, backstroke + 3 beats) so 155/7=22.14 full pulls per minute.

As the figure shows, the speed accelerates to hunting-out speed after the preceding backstroke, then slows to (in this case) rounds speed after the handstroke in leads.

• Ringing Plain Hunt can be seen to involve all three speeds.
1. Hunting-out speed to get from leads at -1.94s to 2nds at 0.39s, 3rds at 2.32s, then 4ths at 4.65s.
2. Rounds speed to get from 4ths at 4.65s to 4ths at 6.19s.
3. Hunting-in speed to get from 4ths at 6.19s to 3rds at 7.74s, 2nds at 8.90s, then leads at 10.45s.
4. Rounds speed again to get from leads at 10.45s to leads at 12.00s.

Less-experienced or less-careful ringers (such as me, not that long ago) often make only two changes in speed rather than four (Figure 5).

Instead of crisp changes to hunting-out speed, rounds speed, hunting-in speed, and rounds speed, they slow down, but not quite to hunting-out speed, then speed up, but not quite to hunting-in speed, and miss rounds speed entirely. As the figure shows, such ringers end up crashing into other ringers on the way out and again on the way back in.

The specific time figures for each stroke assume a full-beat handstroke pause, but the same changes from rounds speed, to hunting-out speed, to rounds speed, to hunting-in speed hold for any length of handstroke pause, or even for no handstroke pause at all.

Table 2 compares rounds, hunting-out, and hunting-in speeds for 4, 5, 6, and 8 bells.

Bells Beats/
min.
Full pulls/min. Ratio to rounds speed
Hunting-out
speed
Rounds
speed
Hunting-in
speed
Hunting
out
Hunting
in
4 155 14.09 17.22 22.14 81.8% 128.6%
5 174 13.38 15.82 19.33 84.6% 122.2%
6 197 11.60 15.15 17.91 86.7% 118.2%
8 206 10.84 12.12 13.73 89.5% 113.3%
Table 2. Standard ringing speeds for 4 through 8 bells

The graph emphasizes how much greater the change of speeds is for smaller numbers of bells.

Figure 6. Full pulls per minute for hunting-in (blue), rounds (green),
and hunting-out speeds (yellow) for 4 through 8 bells