My turn to conduct Stedman

Last week we attempted another quarter of Stedman Triples, this time with me conducting. We didn't get it, partly because of internet problems. We tried again yesterday and succeeded. I rang the tenors, which (as expected) reduced the task of ringing Stedman and putting the bobs in to a manageable level. It was then a question of how much I could see what was going on around me.

I stopped ringing strictly by the quick and slow sixes, as I had been doing on an inside pair, and went back to just ringing the line of Stedman. I do find that more enjoyable. As a band we are less often needing to be reminded what type of six it is, but on 7-8 I found that when I was in the slow I knew the type of six, and at other times I could easily work it out from how I had just gone out or how I would go in.

Sticking with the Thurstans composition, I have learnt which pair of bells is at the back in each block of bobs, for the first part.

  • First course: S is 51, L is 32
  • Second course: S and H are 56, Q is 51
  • Third course: H is 41

In each case, the bells are written in the order in which they strike at backstroke during the dodges, which means that the first bell is the one that leaves the back first.

Also, at the first and second course ends, it's the treble at the back with the 7th. The third course end has the 6th at the back, for the part end.

By thinking of the numbers (51, 32 and so on) as positions within the part head, rather than as absolute bell numbers, it is then possible to transpose the affected bells for each subsequent part. For example, the second part head is 23451678 so the first S in the second part has 12 at the back.

While ringing the tenors, I was able to check that the correct bells were at the back for every bob, as well as checking the part ends. I didn't manage to do it from an inside pair in previous quarters. Checking the part ends came in useful because someone's pair (I won't say whose!) was swapped at the end of the fourth part, and I was able to tell the person to swap back.

I tried to follow how the other bells were working on the front, checking for example that a quick six had the correct sequence of three bells each leading full. I found that harder. Sometimes I seemed to just know that the treble would lead next, without really trying, which was probably because of hearing it in second place. Ringing surprise methods as we normally do leads to a good awareness of the treble's position so possibly I am just picking it up subconsciously.

What I would really like is to be able to work with some sort of coursing order so that I can check that bells are coming onto the front in the right order and doing the correct work when they get there. I will think further about that, unless someone more expert can give some clues in the comments.

Finally, there is a lot to be said for ringing the same composition repeatedly and trying to see more each time.