Audible checks for correctness

Submitted by Simon on Wed, 24/03/2021 - 19:35

I have run a couple of online conducting courses recently, and it was pleasing to see that one of the students, Lindsay Powell, has just called her first handbell quarter. One of the ideas I discussed in the course was getting to know certain coursing orders that produce musical changes, especially runs of consecutive bells at the back. These coursing orders come up a lot because composers like them for their music, and because they produce distinctive changes it's easy to check that everything is as it should be without needing to watch the bells to see the coursing order.

A good example of this was on Sunday, when I rang a quarter of Kent Maximus with the band of Simons. It went smoothly and was also satisfying because it was the first on 12 in hand for Simon Percy and Simon Linford. There isn't much choice of composition for a quarter of Kent Maximus, and the usual one is M W H repeated. It's actually a nice composition because after the first M the coursing order is 53462 which produces changes with 6543 at the back, and after the second M the coursing order is 35426 which produces changes with 2345 at the back. These are easy to hear and they go on for most of the course. Another checkpoint in Kent is that when one of the back bells is in the slow, the treble replaces it in the distinctive roll-ups at the back. So for example, when the 10th is in the slow, the roll-ups are 7891ET instead of 7890ET. This is also easy to hear.