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A beautiful sound resulting from a technique that requires the musician to rub a wooden dowel around the rim of the handbell. Singing handbells resemble the technique used to produce sounds from a crystal glass by rubbing a dampened finger around its rim. The wooden dowels do not need to be dampened. The technique works on all (C4-C8) handbells but does require some practice.
Larger bells may require a "tap" to start the sound (but try doing it without tapping first). C3 to B3 are an example. C4 and up can be started without the tap. If the dowels seem a little rough, don't worry! This helps. In fact, if you find a dowel that is not cooperating, use a piece of 50 or 80 grit sandpaper and rough it up a bit.
Where are they used? There are several compositions written that incorporate the singing Handbell technique. My favorite is How Can I Keep from Singing by Robert Lowry and arranged by Arnold Sherman. Click here for the link to Handbell World and this song.
With your purchase you will receive detailed instructions for you and your musicians.
Why our dowels?
Our dowels hard woods such as oak, beech, maple and/or birch. We do not purchase our stock from area home improvement companies. We use wood that was destined for the landfill. We select the best wood for our dowels. They not only perform well but look great! The wood is stripped down bare and processed from there.
We have tried the softer woods but they just do not work as well (they DO work, it just takes time and patience). Oak, red oak, beech, birch and maple work on all bells. And since the bells tend to leave markings on the dowels, you know that the bells are not being damaged (ah, yes, high school Science 101).
Dowels are 5.25" to 5.5" in length - dowels will be equal in length but might contain both lengths (choices always help). We have found that this size will work on any of the bells. The diameter of the dowels are 1" to 1-1/4".
You will find that they are not sanded smooth. This allows the dowel to start the vibration of the bell sooner. These dowels will usually start a G4 bell (one of the hardest to get going) quickly (3-5 rotations).
How much to ship?
$3-$5 per order. Any shipment over 7 dowels will ship Priority mail (I pick up the cost difference on the shipping).
I have UPS shipping available. If you are needing these quick (overnight, 2 day or 3 day shipping), email me for a shipping quote. Since I ship UPS daily, your shipping costs will be exactly what I pay. No handling and/or packaging costs!
Please go to our Payment and Contact page for costs and link for Paypal payment.
The following charts also use the technique:
|Season: Lent , All Year|
|Classification: Instrument Part , Church or Concert , Original Composition|
|Technique: Mallet , Sk (Shake) , LV (Let Vibrate) , Martellato , SB (Singing Bell or Bowl)|
|Voicing: Handbells, No Choral|
|Instrument: Chimes(Choirchimes or Handchimes) , Percussion|
|Amazing Grace||Traditional||Eithun, Sandra||3-5|
|Sandra Eithun's ethereal Level 2 setting of "Amazing Grace" artfully employs the Singing Bell technique.||Published by: RR|
|Give Me Jesus||Traditional Spiritual||Behnke, John||4-6|
|Commissioned by the Philadelphia Handbell Ensemble in memory of a founding member, this piece uses the “singing bell” technique to convey the text of the spiritual "Give Me Jesus."||Published by: AG|
|God of Wonders||Byrd, Marc & Hindalong, Steve||Cota, Patricia||3-5|
|Utilizing windchimes, random ringing, and the technique of “singing bells,” arranger Patricia Cota aptly portrays an ethereal opening to this extremely popular praise song, reflecting the majesty and glory of God. The optional windchimes and handchimes add to the array of creative sounds.||Published by: HP|
|Holy Spirit Breath of God||Various||Lamb, Linda R.||3-5|
|The Singing Bell technique creates an ethereal atmosphere as the work opens and journeys on its way through tunes associated with the hymns "Breathe on Me, Breath of God" and "Open My Eyes, That I May See."||Published by: LC|
|How Can I Keep From Singing||Lowry, Robert||Sherman, Arnold B.||3-6|
|Truly a unique work, this piece features Robert Lowry's rhythmic hymn tune supported in part by a "singing bell" technique, which uses round sticks rubbed around the outer rim of the bell, for a truly ethereal sound. Full instructions for this technique plus a biography on Robert Lowry and the full lyrics for the hymn are included.||Published by: RR|
|Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence||Traditional||Turner, Julie||3-5|
|This ethereal setting of the Advent hymn PICARDY begins and ends with the popular Singing Bell Technique.||Published by: JH|
|O Come O Come Emmanuel||Traditional||Treisback, Judith E.||4|
|A distinctive treatment of this age old melody includes the Singing Bell technique and malleted suspended handbells, along with the optional use of alternate bells and the somber resonance of an oboe to create the ambiance of mystery and wonder.|