Bell Ringing at The Bell Tower

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Our Bell Ringers

Our bell ringers could best be described as a musical collective, a group of like-minded players who come together to practise a style of music known as change ringing. Formally they are the St Martin’s Society of Change Ringers Inc. Informally they’re known as the Bell Ringers, and operate as the Bell Tower’s ‘house band’.

Established in 2000, they’re an extremely varied group of people of all ages and from all walks of life. Over the last 20 years they’ve provided an un-interrupted service to the tower and the broader community, ringing for a range of events from Anzac Day to the Festival of Perth to corporate functions and weddings.

You can see the Bell Ringers in action every Thursday and Sunday from midday to 1pm. 

If you’re a visiting ringer and would like to join one of the practices, please contact us at:  Stmartinssociety@gmail.com. A warm welcome is assured!

 

What is change ringing and what does it sound like?

Many people think that bell ringers just stand around randomly pulling on ropes. Nothing could be further from the truth..! Change ringing is a highly structured form of music that dates back to 16th century England. It became fully developed by the 18th century and has remained largely unchanged since. Change ringing is music that is melodically dynamic but rhythmically static. A set of bells is rung to an ever-changing series of melodic sequences (or changes), the variation being created by altering the order in which the bells sound. The rhythm of change ringing however is completely fixed and never varies. The bells sound after each other in regular and even intervals, making a steady uninterrupted rhythm. An example of change ringing can be heard in this recording of the Bell Ringers performing as part of the 2022 Anzac Day Service.

Grandsire Caters:

The basic principles of change ringing are largely imposed by the physical nature of swinging tower bells, but it is precisely this limitation that enables ringers to ring together as a group. Change ringing is a form of music that you cannot play as a soloist. Ringers always ring as a band – being able to work as part of a band is a key element of learning to ring.

 

Learning to ring

It usually takes around six months to learn the basics of change ringing. Most of this time is spent learning to control the bell. The skills required include co-ordination, listening and a sense of rhythm. Brute strength is not required! As with learning to play any musical instrument, perseverance and long-term commitment are needed.

If you are interested in learning to ring or would just like to know a bit more,
please visit the St Martin's Society of Change Ringers.

 

General Enquiry

“I didn’t realise there was so much to learn about bells.”

Michelle & Martin Lovett, Victoria

“It’s a really interesting musical instrument!”

Ryu Hyungsuk, South Korea

“We have nothing like this at home. With compliments to Perth for it.”

Ron & Jean Lawson, Canada