Playing tunes on handbells has been practiced in England for many hundreds of years, originally on small sets of handbells intended primarily for learning the ringing of changes on church tower bells. Handbell ringing not only spread out roots locally but also expanded overseas. In 1984 the first International Handbell Symposium was held in the USA and this has become a biennial event. Great Britain hosted the third symposium in 1988 and the ninth in 2000. The first Belle Vue contest was held in 1855 and the last in 1926. In the past 40 years, tune-ringing has made very good progress. Long may it continue.
When ringing these pieces give careful attention to tempi, dynamics, and special handbell techniques to bring out the contrasting style and character of each tune. The melody should always be prominent, especially where it is in the middle or lower part. I hope that ringers and their audiences will enjoy these additions to the handbell repertoire.