Orchestral Percussion

Pines of Rome ratchet part/ bell part

  • 1.  Pines of Rome ratchet part/ bell part

    Posted 02-18-2013 00:19
    Hello everyone,
    My first time posting so please let me know if I'm not posting correctly.  I've done a quick search online and in the forums and haven't found anything regarding the topic.

    I'll be performing the Raganella part for Pines of Rome and never realized that the part at reh.2 is written as (3/8) 1 2+3+ for 8 bars.
    I have one of those smaller ratchets that can clamp to a stand.  Other than rocking it back & forth, do any of you have recommendations on how to play the part.  Let me know if you have a recommendation on what brand/model of ratchet to use. 

    I've also been practicing the bell part.  In m.36 (12 after reh.2).  Any recommendations on how to play the 4 notes leading into the chord?  I currently have one mallet in my left hand, 2 in the right and am playing the four notes as LRLR.

    Thanks in advance!
    masa enomoto


  • 2.  RE:Pines of Rome ratchet part/ bell part

    Posted 03-05-2013 16:21
    You will often hear the Pines ratchet part played as rolls to the downbeat. However, with the right ratchet, you hold the frame of the ratchet with one hand and your other hand vertically with the fingers spread. Place the crank handle between two of your fingers and play the rhythm by moving your hand back and forth rapidly, so you are reversing ratchet direction between each note of the rhythm or DOWN - up down up down UP - down up down up DOWN, etc.

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    William Moersch
    University of Illinois
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  • 3.  RE:Pines of Rome ratchet part/ bell part

    Posted 03-06-2013 08:10
    I agree with Prof. Moersch, "with the right ratchet" the part can be played this way. With the wrong ratchet you may end up with splintered wooden blades and be posting in eGroups about ratchet repair. If the ratchet binds when you try rotating the crank arm back and forth it is probably risky. If your ratchet has a nut and screw holding the crank arm, loosening the nut might give the blades more freedom of movement.

    Sometimes the timpanist plays the ratchet part - good for a double if the orchestra has that fee structure in place. He's the one who broke my ratchet when articulating the rhythm!


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    John R. Beck
    PAS - President 
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  • 4.  RE:Pines of Rome ratchet part/ bell part

    Posted 03-07-2013 22:33
    Thank you both for the insight.  
    Mr. Moersch, slightly confused with holding the hand vertically, then moving up/down.  Which fingers are you using?  Does it look anything like the picture below?  

    I ended up doing something like what you explained.  I attached it to a stand to make it higher and stable, turned the handle to the up position, and rocked the handle back and forth (left/right).  I just wasn't consistent and am very interested in trying what you are explaining.

    I had to cover the triangle & ratchet parts for the first movement, I had another player cover the triangle part until that ratchet part.  It was interesting practicing both parts at the same time before arranging the split.
    No ratchet repair needed...this time.

    Thanks!



  • 5.  RE:Pines of Rome ratchet part/ bell part

    Posted 03-10-2013 10:50
    Yes. I have the ratchet handle at 12 o'clock, between index and middle fingers, then move hand forward and back. Holding the ratchet frame in your left hand also allows the left hand to work in opposition to the right.

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    William Moersch
    University of Illinois
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