On 21 May, we tried something different. One of our members (Maggie) found a YouTube video of a group ringing changes by switching bells with the person next to them, rather than remembering the blue lines. She sent a link to the video to our fearless leader (Jane) who suggested that we try this method!
The method is called Stedman Cinques, and the place notation for the method can be given easily as 3 1 E 3 1 3 1 3 E 1 3 1 (where E stands for bell eleven). The method is rung with 11 bells (that’s what Cinques means), though you actually ring 12 bells. It’s just that the tenor (lowest bell) always rings in the same place.
That place notation means that, at the first change (given by 3), the bell in the third position stays in third, bells in the 1 and 2 position switch places, 4 switches with 5, 6 switches with 7, 8 switches with 9, and 10 switches with 11.
The second change (given by 1) means that the bell in the first position stays in first, and everyone else switches with their neighbor.
And the third change (given by E) means that everyone switches, except for 11 (and 12, which never moves).
The last thing to note is that to switch bells with your neighbor, you actually place the bell in her lap, and she places the replacement bell in your lap. Fortunately we are all good friends!
After a few minutes of explanation, we wrote that place notation on a piece of paper we could all see, and gave it a shot. Randy on 1,2. Karen on 3,4. Jane on 5,6. Maggie on 7,8. Andrew on 9,10. And Genine on 11,12. Of course, the first few attempts were comical. But by the end of the evening we had actually rung a plain course of Stedman Cinques! Which felt like quite an accomplishment.
And kudos to Karen, who did an amazing job of keeping us all in the right place, to the point of correcting Jane more than once!
Sadly, we don’t have any recording of the event. This was our first attempt! But you can see a much better group than us ringing this if you click the link above.
And maybe we’ll continue working on this, to the point of doing it from memory instead of reading the changes while we ring.
Wish us luck!