The bell-tower is a curious musical instrument; bells and ringers hang from the wall if it is a bell gable, but if it is a tower they are all inside the instrument. The ringers have to climb, work in the open air, allow for natural elements such as wind, and, depending on the occasion, use slight hand movements or all the strength in their body to move the bells or create special sounds.
The traditional job of bell-ringer needs training, memory, skill and effort, the more so, the more complex the set of bells and the accumulated tradition to be preserved and transmitted. The ringer can explore sounds, musical emotions and new forms of communicating.
While the language of the ringing of bells may have lost some of its meaning, their ability to signal, vary and develop has not. The sound of bells still has the capability of attracting attention, and persistent ringing still means a summons, while modulating them can transmit messages and feelings. Nor have they lost their musical faculties which, while respecting tradition, allows for artistic creativity and expression.
Bell-ringing associations offer voluntary work which different social sectors and vocations can get involved in. They receive institutional recognition in the shape of support and assistance, but they also bring society together and establish their own, non-exclusive, identity.
The bell-ringers of Albaida have their own school and international museum of manual bell-ringing, the MitMac. The bell-ringers of Pamplona cathedral performed in several churches on 21st April 2018 so that UNESCO declared manual bell-ringing Intangible Heritage of Humanity.