Early Practice / Practice · 2012Dec19We

Early Practice · Four ringers:  Carroll, Judy, Thomas, and visitor Stuart Hawksworth from Leicestershire.  We took Stuart in to see the sanctuary and up to see the bells, then raised 123456.

  • Rounds on Four, first on the light four 1234 and then the heavy four 3456.

Practice · Seven ringers:  Anne, Carroll, Jody, Judy, Marguerite, Thomas, and visitor Stuart.  We rang six at a time with one sitting out.

  • Rounds on Six, standing every so often and rotating the band one bell to the right.
  • Call Changes.  We focused on Anne and Judy, moving each one in to leads and out to fifths, back and forth between two places at various points.
  • Long Places, in 1-2, then 3-4, then 5-6, then 1-2 and 3-4 simultaneously, and finally 1-2 3-4 5-6 simultaneously.
  • Plain Hunt on Four with two covers.  We rang this quite well!  Not perfectly, but reliably and solidly.
  • Rang down in peal, fairly accurately and finishing up tidily at the same time.

This was one of our best ringing sessions of the time I’ve been in Miami.  Below is some discussion on what we did.

Rounds and Rotate.  We do this almost every session, because it produces such good results.  We ring rounds for several minutes straight, giving those who still have to think through what they are doing time to think and do, and everyone time to sink meditatively into the rhythm of their motion and the rhythm of the band’s rounds, without thought.  Then we stand.  Everyone moves one bell to the right (to the next lighter bell), except the treble ringer who moves to the tenor, and we do it again.  We continue until every ringer has rung every bell.

We don’t move the tenor ringer to the treble, because in our experience it’s almost impossible for him/her not to overpull the light treble after being used to the much heavier tenor, and we don’t want to break the treble’s stay.  It’s an adjustment to go from treble to tenor too, of course, but it’s a safe one.


the 4 on the spot
[ 0.] 12345
[ 1.] “3 to 4” 12435
[ 2.] “4 to 3” 12345
[ 3.] “3 to 4” 12435
[ 4.] “2 to 4” 14235
[ 5.] “4 to 2” 12435
[ 6.] “2 to 4” 14235
[ 7.] “1 to 4” 41235
[ 8.] “4 to 1” 14235
[ 9.] “1 to 4” 41235
[10.] “4 to 1” 14235
[11.] “4 to 2” 12435
[12.] “4 to 3” 12345
[13.] “4 to 5” 12354
[14.] “5 to 4” 12345
[15.] “4 to 5” 12354
[16.] “5 to 4” 12345

Call Changes with a ringer on the spot.  This gives a specific ringer a workout in following calls.  Everyone gets practice in moving one place up or down.  Plus it’s an easy sort of changes for a conductor to improvise, since all the bells stay in rounds sequence except the one getting the workout.  An example is shown at right.  We kept the tenor (the 6) behind throughout to help us ring steadily and strike evenly all the time.

The conductor chooses a ringer N to be on the spot (in the example, it’s the 4), then calls that bell all the way in to leads (these calls will have the form “X to N”, like “3 to 4″”), all the way out to the back (these will have the form “N to Y”, like “4 to 1”), and back and forth between two places (these will have the form “Z to N;  N to Z”) whenever and for as long as it seems desirable, even as many as 8 or 12 times in succession.  Each call is made as soon as the striking settles from the previous call, with the eventual goal being a call at every handstroke.  Everyone gets a workout, and the ringer on the spot gets a tremendous boost in confidence from the realization that he/she actually can follow Call Changes.

Long Places on 3 and 4
123456 H
123456 B
“3 and 4 Long Places” 123456 H
123456 B
124356 H
124356 B
124356 H
124356 B
123456 H
123456 B
123456 H
123456 B
124356 H
124356 B
124356 H
124356 B
123456 H
123456 B
“That’s all” 123456 H
123456 B

Kaleidoscope Exercises.  We use these as exercises in moving cleanly out one place and in one place. The band rings rounds for a good long while so that everyone settles into the rhythm of their pull and the rhythm of the band.  Then the conductor calls (for example) “3 and 4 Long Places” and at the next handstroke those two ringers trade places for four strokes, then back to rounds for four strokes, trade places again, back to rounds again, and so forth for what may seem like a Very Long Time until they’ve got the hang of moving exactly one place in a single stroke.  The example at right shows only two Long Places;  we typically do four, six, or even longer.  We keep going until the striking is even on every stroke, even the handstroke when the bells swap.

If single pairs in Long Places is going well, as it did tonight, we then move on to two pairs doing Long Places together (like “1 and 2, 3 and 4 Long Places” 123456, 214356).  Tonight we went even further, with all three pairs doing Long Places at once (123456, 214365).  That’s some very satisfying ringing for band at our level.

Our band is still working on Long Places, which give ringers several strokes to think about what’s going on if necessary.  When we improve enough at moving cleanly one place in or out, we’ll continue on to Places, two strokes in each sequence, for which the ringers get only a single stroke for thinking, then Dodges, one stroke in each sequence, for which there’s no time to think and the ringers have to just do it.

Plain Hunt.  We rang rounds for a good long while to get everyone settled and synchronized with each other.  Then we rang one lead only of Plain Hunt, ended with “That’s all” at the lead end and then more rounds, so everyone could mull over what just happened, believe that it actually worked, and sink back into a meditative state.  Next we rang two leads in succession (without calling “Keep going” at the end of the first lead, which is an unhelpful crutch for a band as strong as ours), followed by more rounds.  Finally, to cap off our achievement, we rang three leads in succession, a few rounds, and stood.

It’s good when we can finish off with something that gives everyone an appropriate sense of achievement:  an accurate feeling that the band has rung better than they have before and better than they thought they could.