Handbell & Guitar Selections

When I began writing for handbells and guitar way back in 1990, I wondered how it would be received, as keyboard accompaniment was the norm. They have done well and I see that other composers are beginning to write for this combination now also. Below is a list of my guitar/handbell pieces in print with various publishers. 

All are available from Jeffers or the individual publishers. The classical guitar pieces have the chords written above the staff on the guitar part. You may click on the links to see and hear the pieces. Now for the disclaimer: these MP3s are computer generated with sound fonts, so I was not able to reproduce articulations such as shakes, thumb damps and mallets. Tempo changes are approximate also, as close as I could get them, given

the limitations of the sequencing program. Still, it will give you a general idea of the pieces. 

Free guitar accompaniment MP3s for all 4-Tolled and High Meadow selections are available upon request

via email: sue@susantnelson.com.  Large Print editions of the solo handbell score may be purchased direct from us also.


NEW!!  O Sacred Head. Handbell, handchime solo, 2-3 oct., or flute (C inst.), classical Guitar accomp.  Consider playing the 1st half on chimes and the 2nd on a bell tree, or vice versa! Contemplative arrangement perfect for Lent or Holy Week. #4T32. $4.00.   sacred.mp3       sacredpr.pdf

Away in a Manger. Handbell or handchime solo, 2-4 oct., classical Guitar accompaniment, opt. bell tree.

This arrangement incorporates all 3 tunes: “Cradle Song,” and “Mueller” (try it on chimes or alternate bells for a nice contrast) with “Afton” played as an optional bell tree.  The piece ends with a tender quote of “Silent Night.”

4 Tolled Publishing #4T27.   Away.mp3

Coventry Carol. Handbell or handchime solo, 2-3 oct. with classical Guitar accompaniment, opt. bell tree.

This timeless melody is supported by lute-like accompaniment that hearkens back to the Renaissance.  In the middle section, the Bell tree “question” phrases can be “answered”  by chimes, which were written an octave lower for contrast. 4 Tolled Publishing #4T26.  Coventry.mp3

Greensleeves. Handbell solo, 2-4 oct. with classical Guitar accompaniment, opt. bell tree.

The handbell solo is supported by a flowing guitar accompaniment throughout. The guitar has a solo in the middle of the piece, while the bells play an optional descant (upper 4th octave) on a bell tree (pre-assembled). The bell tree is disassembled in measures 53-58, but the guitarist may repeat measures 53-58 or vamp if more time is needed. The bells continue with a counter melody while the guitarist plays the melody and accompaniment from measures 59-75. The bells resume the melody in the ending. Includes separate parts and a full score. ©2003 High Meadow Music Publishing #HM-05-010.   Greensleeves.mp3   Greensleeves_petit_fritsen.mp3

O Come Little Children. Handbell solo, 2 oct. with classical Guitar accompaniment.

This peaceful carol begins in the key of C with the melody accompanied by a fluid, descending accompaniment figure. After a slight accelerando in the interlude, it modulates to the key of D, with the guitar playing a soft Latin jazz-like chordal accompaniment.  Includes separate parts and a full score.  ©2003 High Meadow Music Publishing #HM-05-011.   Come.mp3

Silent Night. Handbell solo, 3 oct. with classical Guitar accompaniment.

Since it was originally written for guitar, this famous and beloved carol lends itself well to this instrumentation. It begins sweetly, with the melody on bells supported by cantible guitar accompaniment. The guitar takes over both melody and accompaniment in a classical guitar solo in the middle section, while the bells echo with a descant. It culminates with the bells on the melody, and flowing accompaniment. Includes separate parts and a full score. ©2003 High Meadow Music Publishing #HM-05-012.   Silent.mp3


Largo (Vivaldi). 3 oct./optional classical Guitar solo (C Inst.), OR Bell solo/accompaniment.

A highly versatile setting of Vivaldi’s “Lute Concerto in D major RV93,” suitable for church, concert or special occasions such as weddings. ©1994 Augsburg Fortress Publishers #11-10556.    Vivaldi.mp3

Performance Options:

1. Handbells and/or Chimes with optional solo Guitar (C Inst.).

2. Handbells and/or Chimes with optional Guitar (Chords/lead sheet).

3. Handbell solo/Guitar accompaniment (Chords/lead sheet. Ossia measures provided for handbells to

    substitute 8th notes for 16th notes.)   Ossia.mp3

4. Handbell solo/Keyboard accompaniment.

5. Guitar Solo/Keyboard accompaniment.

Tuya es la Gloria (We Sing You Glory). 3-5 oct./optional 3 oct. Chimes, Flute (C Inst.) and Guitar, OR Bell solo/accompaniment.

A flowing, contemplative setting with LVs throughout. Since the melody was short, I added an original second melody to make it longer. Each is featured individually and then the two are interwoven. There are very few parenthesis and brackets, so 3 and 4 octave choirs will not have to omit a lot of notes. Marimba-like vibrato chimes enhance the Spanish flavor of the piece, as does the optional flute and guitar. Repertoire for the 2007 Arizona State Festival Conference and 2007 AGEHR Area I Festival Conference. A Jeffers “HOT 40.” ©2006 AGEHR #AG35251.   TuyaGuitar.mp3   MP3 Full Choir

Performance Options:

1. Handbells and/or Chimes with solo C Inst. and/or Guitar (solo or chordal accomp.)

2. Handbells with Chime solo.

3. Chimes with handbell solo.

4. Handbell solo (Guitar or C Inst.) with keyboard accompaniment.

5. Handbell solo (C Inst.) with Guitar accompaniment (lead sheet).



Canto de Esperanza. 3-5 oct./ optional 2-3 oct. Chimes, Marimba, C Inst., Guitar & Perc. Lvl. 3.

Mallets, stopped techniques and vibrato chimes combine with optional marimba, C instrument, guitar, and percussion (claves, congas, maracas, vibra slap) for an arrangement with a Caribbean flair. Bass ringers get a chance to shine in solos in the introduction, middle section, and ending. ©2005 GIA #G-6624.  MP3

A Child is Born in Bethlehem.  3 oct./optional chimes, Sopranino Recorder, Viola da Gamba, Lute, and Percussion.

Treat your audience to an “old world” Christmas with this consort setting of “Puer Natus” by Michael Preatorius. A perfect compliment to my arrangements of “Psallite” and “Nowell Sing We,” it can be played by bells alone, or with any or all of the optional instruments. A “C” instrument, guitar or harp, cello or any bass instrument may be substituted for the suggested instruments. ©2006 High Meadow Music Publishing #HM-01-059 (HB/full score), #HM-01-059A (instrumental parts).   (See “Published Works” page for sound file.)

Sue's Blues. (2 versions) 3-4 oct. handchimes/opt. C, Bb or Eb inst., guitar, acoustic bass OR bell solo (3 oct.)/chimes or keyboard.

A free and breezy original composition for Jazz ensemble, concert or community handbell group. Lvl. 2.  4-Tolled Publishing.

Sue's Blues Too. (3 versions) 3-4 oct. bells, C, Bb or Eb solo inst./opt. guitar & bass, OR bell solo(2 oct.)/accomp. OR jazz ensemble (solo inst./accomp./bass).

An original composition for Jazz ensemble, or community handbell group. Steamy and sultry like a “private eye” movie soundtrack, SBT is the direct opposite of its predecessor.  Lvl. 2.  4-Tolled Publishing.

Trilogy. 3-5 oct./opt. sop. recorder (C inst.) & electric guitar.

Triptych of New Age, Celtic and Rock on bells! Original, very linear composition for the professional or community handbell ensemble. Lvl. 4. 4-Tolled Publishing.   Trilogy.mp3

You Alone are Holy (Solo tu Eres Santo). 3-5 oct. w/optional 2 oct. chimes, flute (C Inst.) & guitar.  Ring Out! Press #RO3271.

A sweet, relaxed samba, the melody is featured in the treble, while chimes echo in counter melody in the battery, and then in the bass.   Vibrato chimes imitative of a marimba enhance the Latin American flavor of the piece, as does the optional flute and guitar. There is only 1 note in parenthesis and 4 bracketed notes, which is rare in 3-5 octave pieces. Lvl. 2+. Ring Out! Press #RO3271.