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Some common problems

Ringing with a simulator can magnify some problems that pupils often have when trying to fit in with the even rhythm of ringing.  If your simulator has the facility to review the striking by looking at a display after ringing, this is useful to help explain things. The format may vary depending on your simulator software, but usually it shows a column for each position, with the actual positions where the bells struck. In the diagrams here, the vertical lines show the correct places, the dots show the pupil's bell, and for simplicity the other bells (which would be on the lines) aren't shown. In all examples, the pupil is ringing in 4th place, shown by a black line.

What is normal

Normal Ringing Make sure your pupil understand that even good ringing will look a bit ragged on the display, for example, the result shown here would sound quite good to listen to.

Over and above this low level variability, the display is useful for showing some common problems, for example:

Balance between handstroke and backstroke

Hand-back imbalanceFailure to get the right balance between handstroke and backstroke timing. This is quite common, and often gets ignored in general ringing if the two strokes added together achieve the right overall speed. The more common error is to be wide at backstroke and close at hand, because the pupil isn't adequately imposing the open lead rhythm, but some pupils over do it by not letting the bell rise properly at backstroke and compensating by letting it go too far over the balance at handstroke.

Speed problems

Late biasEarly biasStruggling to ring at the same speed as the simulator may be caused by the rope being too long or too short, or just by the pupil expecting to ring at a different speed. The symptoms are a persistent bias either to striking late or striking early, as shown here. Some times after an extended period of doing one, the pupil will suddenly ‘change gear’ and switch to doing the other. Often this is associated with taking in or letting out an undue amount of rope, but not always.


PorpoisingAnother common problem is ‘porpoising’, continually alternating over a period of many strokes between being too late and being too early, but rarely hitting the right spot other than the odd blow during the transition. This results from a combination of not correcting soon enough, and then over correcting. It is sometimes caused by ringing with too long a rope and bent arms. During the slow phases the pupil can't stop the bell going too far over the balance, and during the quick phases the pupil struggles to get the bell back up after letting it drop.

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