Method Ringing

Where you live will generally determine whether you will become a Method ringer or a Call Change ringer, although in most areas you will find both aspects of the art of bellringing practiced.

Even if you end up becoming a Method ringer, at some stage of your learning process you will be introduced to Call Changes, which is basically changing a pair of bells to ring in a different position, by the conductor telling you which bell to swap positions with.

In fact Method ringing follows the same principle of swapping positions with other bells, but instead of the conductor telling you your position, you learn a set pattern to change your position. There are in fact thousands of these patterns which you could choose from and each one is given a name to identify it from another. You will find that most of the common ones are named after either the composer of the method or the town or county it originated in. Quite a number are also named after various Saints.

Ringers on the whole are not good at explaining how to ring Methods. The poor learner is bombarded with several different ways of doing it, and ends up extremely confused. In fact, many people use a combination of ways of looking at it.

You can "ring by the numbers". People will shout "Don't learn the numbers" at you. And it's true that if you learn who to follow parrot fashion, you will be in deep trouble when you try to ring a different bell to the one you usually ring, or when a Bob is called. However, if you learn how to re-arrange the numbers after a call, that can be a very satisfactory way of doing it. Only for people who are good with numbers though.

You can ring by learning the shape of "The Blue Line". (I wonder who first decided that it should be blue?!) You will see books with hundreds of numbers joined up with a line. Learn the shape of the line, practicing till you can draw it in your sleep. A word of warning though - it is best not to learn the whole line in one piece. Learn the first section, which might have a number 2 at the top of it. (This is the work that the ringer of the 2nd starts off with). Then learn the bit that comes next, it might have a number 4 beside it, and is the starting place for the ringer of the 4th. And so on - learn it in the chunks that it is laid out in. The reason for this is that when you move on to a different method, you will find that the chunks can be the same, but joined together in a different order. You just learn the order of the chunks, or "Place Bells". For instance if you learn Cambridge, the order of the work is 26345. If you join the Place Bells together in the order 24653 instead, the method becomes Primrose.

Yet another way of ringing methods is to learn them "by the Treble". You Plain Hunt until you strike a blow after the Treble. Depending where you've met it dictates what you next bit of work is. For instance, if you are ringing Grandsire, when the Treble is your second bell after you've led, you know that your next piece of work will be to dodge 4-5 up. This works for more complicated methods too.

We have collected a lot of articles by different people, in the hope that everyone will find something that makes sense to them and helps them to progress. The article "Different Ways of Learning" may help you to decide what is the best way for you.