Category Archives: Solo work

Handbell stuff for sale

Contact Nancy@handbells.com.  All prices exclude shipping costs from Seattle.

Peery bell tree stand. Includes locking wheels, 3 arms, custom heavy-duty carrying case, and bag with accessories (as shown). $275 First priority to someone who can pick up in Seattle.

Bell tree base in custom carrying case
Bell tree base showing wheels
Bell tree pole in custom cover
Bell tree arms and sleeve for transport
Accessories included with bell tree stand

Mallets – mallets I recommend for solo work, including bell trees. $80 for all. Includes one pair each of:
Mike Balter 25R
Schulmerich old style pink yarn (1 good pair, 1 fuzzy pair free)
Malmark MH40 gray rubber
Musser M25
Malletech NR29R
Includes Galaxy hanging mallet bag

Mallets with bag

Bell tree clips – 5 acrylic and 18 wire clips. $50 for all

Bell tree clips

Malmark case 3 for bells C4-D#4 (Schulmerich bells will also fit). Useful for transporting your largest solo bells to a concert (you can pad the inserts with cloth for smaller bells). In good condition – all hinges and latches work. $100

Malmark case for C4-D#4

Schulmerich adjustable height tables – rectangular 30 inches by 36 inches. 3 available in very good condition, at $100 each.  First priority to someone who can pick up in Seattle.

Performance table covers – Set of covers for two tables: a) 9 feet long by 30 inches wide, b) 3 feet long by 30 inches wide. Second cover can be used on a side table, or put next to the solo table for a total of 12 feet. Top is black pinwale corduroy; attached (sewn-on) full-length skirt is sapphire blue faux velvet. (Skirt wraps around 3 sides of each table.) $100 for the set.

Custom performance table covers

Solo table cover for practice – 9 feet long by 30 inches wide, plus about 5 inch drape. Has Velcro sewn along edge, but no skirt. (You could add one for performance.) Black heavy-duty pinwale corduroy. $20

Solo side table cover – 3 feet long by 30 inches wide. Skirt has about 2 foot drape on all sides. Top is black pinwale corduroy; attached (sewn-in) skirt is black crushed faux velvet. $10

Side table cover – bells not included!

Solo table foam with nylon carry bag – 9 feet long by 30 inch by 1 inch thick piece of foam, rolled into a custom carry bag. One inch thick foam is ideal for solo performances that exclude marting bass bells, and is much easier to transport than bell choir foam. $30

Carry bag for 1″ thick foam – 9 feet long by 30″ wide

Solo table foam – a thin piece of foam covers the whole table length over regular foam to bridge the crack and provide a softer surface for the bells to sink into, so they don’t roll. One piece 9 feet by 30 inch by 1/2 inch thick foam, plus side table piece 3 feet by 30 inches by 1/2 inch thick for $15 (total for 2 pieces). One piece of 9 feet by 30 inch by 1/4 inch thick foam for $10. Take all 3 pieces for $20.

Foam pad – single 36″x30″x4″ rectangle.  Purchased new in 2009 from Gold Coast.  Gently used.  Includes purchased muslin cover.  $25

Solo sheet music package – includes Songs for the Solo Ringer 1 and 2, Red River Music solo collection (Grazioso), favorites from Christine Anderson, Nancy Hascall, Karen Lakey Buckwalter, and a handful of solo instrument works easily adapted for solo ringing. Several titles include 2 legal copies, and all are either new or lightly marked in pencil. Includes 2 accompaniment CDs. Take all for $120.

Solo sheet music/CDs – sold as a package only

Quartet sheet music – 4 copies each of 5 titles (most rated Easy).  Marked in pencil.  Excellent for teaching a quartet workshop.  Take all for $10.

Quartet music – 4 copies each of 5 titles

Recordings – including Christine Anderson, the Raleigh Ringers, and others.  As shown in photo.  Take all for $40.

Recordings – 3 VHS (top row) and 5 DVDs (lower) – sold as a package only

Books for sale – Price List

Solo handbell books – see price list
Handbell training books – see price list
Music theory books – see price list
Misc music books – see price list
Misc handbell books – see price list

Manhasset floor music stand – model 48 (black).  In very good condition.  $20. First priority to someone who can pick up in Seattle.

Microphone stand with adjustable tripod base, boom, and nylon carrying case – On-Stage stand model MS7701B EuroBoom. $20.  First priority to someone who can pick up in Seattle.

Microphone stand with boom and nylon carry bag

Coconut wood clave for singing bell, with fleece sleeve. 2 available – $4/each

Coconut wood claves with sleeves

Chime pads – one approximately 24 inches long and 2 approximately 12 inches long. Foam pads covered with black crushed faux velvet. $10 for all. Chimes not included (!)

Processional ribbons – pair of streamers, in Advent colors. Wide satin ribbon is reversible purple/black; narrow accent ribbons are royal blue. Sewn length is approximately 36 inches (i.e. ribbons of 72 inches were doubled over and stitched). Slip your finger through the sewn loop, pick up your bells, and away you go! $5/pair.

Ribbons in action

Processional ribbons

Fabric bags for carrying random bells. Very handy! Made from sweatshirt-type fabric, with drawstrings and toggle locks. All 7 bags for $15.

Fabric bags for random bells

Contact Nancy@handbells.com.  All prices exclude shipping costs from Seattle.

Difficulty levels for solo handbell music

There’s been some discussion recently about developing a system for assigning difficulty levels to solo handbell music. At present, works are not rated or are rated by subjective criteria, either by a handbell soloist (who tends to be more accurate) or by a non-solo-ringing handbell editor or composer (with mixed results). A common mistake is to assume a piece that is easy to read is easy to solo ring. Continue reading Difficulty levels for solo handbell music

Elements of a good first solo

I’ve been thinking lately about what makes a good solo piece for a beginner, especially a first solo. I see many handbell soloists dive into repertoire too quickly and ambitiously. It’s time well spent to solidify skills and do choreography exercises before applying them to a performance piece, and to perform simple pieces before tackling hard ones. I’ve developed some choreography exercises that you will find here: Choreography exercises. When picking a performance piece, I suggest using published repertoire at first. There will be plenty of time later to develop your own arrangements, which adds a level of complexity to the task. Continue reading Elements of a good first solo

Small stuff

Being a concert solo handbell artist isn’t cheap. I’ll write another time about the major investments in equipment (like bells) and training required for a serious study of this instrument. Today’s article is about the astonishing array of “small stuff” I’ve acquired in my work as a handbell soloist. (And not so small stuff – the Bellmobile and piano both made the list!) Continue reading Small stuff

Photocopies and “fair use”

Making copies in any form is one of the rights assigned exclusively to the copyright holder under copyright law. In addition to the usual copyright notice of “All rights reserved,” publishers sometimes use stronger wording to reinforce that photocopying sheet music is illegal. As handbell musicians, we want to do the right thing, but that can be difficult with so much misinformation floating about.

Read here about:

• The myth of the ‘working copy’
• Ways to accommodate copying restrictions
• What “fair use” really means Continue reading Photocopies and “fair use”

Starting, ending, and transitions

I once read that a good sermon consists of a good beginning and a good ending, as close together as possible. While audiences don’t often nod off during handbell solos, we can engage them with a variety of openings and closings that enhance both the musical and the visual effect. Instead of starting and ending every piece with bells at the shoulder, wouldn’t it be more interesting to add some variety to your concert? Which would you rather watch: someone fidgeting during the piano introduction, or a soloist who approaches the table with confidence, making every move count? Would you rather see a soloist run down the table and snatch up bells for the next section, then stand idle until the piano catches up, or watch her move gracefully through the transition at her leisure? Continue reading Starting, ending, and transitions

Basic principles of choreography, keyboard layout, and displacement

Over the next several weeks, I’ll talk about how I approach choreographing a piece. I’ll include the pros and cons of each approach, as well as when and how I’d use each. Throughout this discussion, I assume you’re ringing bells placed horizontally on the padded table. Some soloists place the bell handles upright, and they may use different methods to organize them. Continue reading Basic principles of choreography, keyboard layout, and displacement

Transcribing for solo handbells

Today’s article is for handbell soloists who want to create their own arrangements. Technically, what we do is considered a ‘transcription.’ An ‘arrangement’ includes substantial original material and requires the same skills as an original composition. I suggest you read my articles on Repertoire and Information for composers. I strongly suggest you use repertoire published for solo handbells until you reach at least an intermediate level and routinely create your own choreography. Then you can recognize what kinds of music work well on solo handbells and solve choreography problems. A beginning soloist can waste a lot of time transcribing works that require skills not yet learned. Continue reading Transcribing for solo handbells

Getting started as a soloist – repertoire

When you consider the number of hours that go into learning a handbell solo, and that even the most advanced soloists may have a repertoire of fewer than 100 pieces, you can see the need to choose each piece very carefully. It’s fine to choose your favorite hymn or song as your first piece, but after that you need a strategy for repertoire selection. You want your future concert pieces to have something more in common than that they’re being played on handbells. Every piece needs to be one you truly love, because you’re going to play it literally hundreds of times as you learn it. Continue reading Getting started as a soloist – repertoire