This arrangement of "Sabre Dance" is sure to charm both audience and ringers alike. Showmanship plays heavy role, since the piece practically requires flashy movements and facial expressions. It is a familiar tune, repetitious, and its difficulty lies in its speed.
The arrangement is for five ringers using three or four octaves of handbells plus optional percussion. Performance Notes and bell assignments are suggested on Page 7, and the piece is Level 4 when played with five ringers. The optional percussion include slide whistle, kazoos, pitched tone bar or triangle, two pitched wood blocks, and tambourine with drum. If you don't have these intruments, feel free to substitute what you have available. Mallets are required, and you may choose whether or not the high bell ringers will use the four-in-hand technique (see the Performance Notes on Page 7).
Here's the arranger's hint on how to divide up parts. Parts 1 and 2 (bass clef) are your metronome. They must be good with a steady rhythm, on and off the beat. Their parts are repetitious, and they should make the most out of this. Measures 47-48 and 57-59 are their moments to shine, and they should definitely try to steal the limelight there. These parts require ringers with less extensive ringing skills. Parts 3 and 4 are intended to be rung with one hand in four-in-hand style (this is optional), and would therefore require ringers with more extensive ringing skills. These parts are flashy, and their showmanship could be enhanced by making them somewhat competitive: Part 4 could "show off" during the first section (E6, F6, and F#6 four-in-hand), and then Part 3 could do the same back during the second section (G6, Ab6, and A6 four-in-hand). Part 5 is the clown, playing all the percussion, slide whistle, kazoo (Parts 3 and 4 can also play kazoos, or let the audience hum along too), and whatever other antics you may add. This ringer doesn't ring hardly at all - just Bb6, B6, and C7, plus an occasional help to Ringer 4 when needed (or not), and therefore could be your least experienced ringer.
The piece is dissonant - on purpose. Do not shy away from notes that seem to clash! "Sabre Dance" is intended to be performed very fast, without slowing anywhere. Most ringers play loud when they play fast, but this piece does have some quiet moments that should be emphasized (without slowing, of course!). Be sure to play the melody in measures 20-35 very legato, connecting the notes smoothly even though the melody jumps around a lot. The arranger suggest that your ringers listen to an orchestral recording of this composition for inspiration.
Number of measures
Time and tempo