One of the most challenging things about directing a handbell choir is getting used to all the new markings in the music.
Why? Because in addition to general music notation markings (dynamics, slurs, articulation, accidentals, accents, etc.), handbell music includes special technique-specific markings - things like “thumb damp,” “echo,” and “martellato."
A number of these notation markings appear only in handbell music and if you’re relatively new to ringing, it can be hard to keep up.
What does that arrow mean again?
What do you do when you see a plus sign?
What does “TD” stand for?
A few months ago, I found myself googling “handbell notation chart” without much success. There are a few cheat sheets out there, but not as many as you might think. So, I decided to create my own.
Here’s a handy handbell notation guide you reference in your rehearsals. Print the PDF version and post it in your rehearsal space and/or keep a copy in your binder. You might even consider printing copies for your ringers to keep in the front pocket of their folders, in case they need to look something up (this saves so much time in rehearsal).
Looking for a PDF printable version of this handbell notation guide? Click here to download.
Questions? Please leave a comment below!