How to play wristwatches

By | April 8, 2021

The bells are ringing …


The correct position for the clock is either with resting on the shoulder when playing or placed on padded tables if you are not. Holding it down by your side invites unintentional strikes, sends sour notes into the music and means you are not ready for your next note.

The correct position to hold one hand on the watch is with the hand against the hand guard wound nicely around the handle with the thumb forward.
The movement to ring the bell begins with the clock on the shoulder. You stretch your arm out and down, with a handle at the top to activate the flap. Then bring the bell back to your shoulder to dampen the vibration.


The most common techniques for playing the hand blocks are:
The swing, a free movement from your shoulder to extend the arm of the clap strike and then back to the next note.
The shaking, possible by grasping the handle with your thumb and forefinger and leaving the other three free to shake the clock.
Wa Wa: After the flap hits, lower the clock to gently press on the padded table.
The Martellato: press the clock in the padded table for a plunk sound.
Mart Lift: do the Martellato,
Thumb Steam: Slide your thumb up on the watch bar for an easy note.
Free vibrate: let the tone continue without attenuation.


How tight you hold the handle, you change the bell’s note.
Use your thumb for a quick muffler to create a staccato note.

Tips and warnings

  • Take care of your watches. After playing, rub them with a soft cloth and inspect for cracks or other damage. When transporting them, connect the handles so that they do not crash into each other.
  • In a hand clock chorus, each member can play up to five bells from a set that can span five octaves. Each caller must read the music and watch the director to be ready to ring all her bells, some of her bells or no bells required by the score.
    Feather-loaded clappers, invented in the 18th century, made it possible for cows to produce sharp sounds and stimulate an era of competition with championships that was pursued in the 19th century.
    Handbells date from 3,000 BC. and appeared in Europe during the eighth century. By the 12th century, bell ringing became popular in India, Japan and China.
    The brass bells in different sizes ring a note about every time the flap hits the rim, choirs of ringers play music by ringing their bells in order.