[r-t] Method difficulty

King, Peter R peter.king at imperial.ac.uk
Wed Mar 9 19:35:17 UTC 2005

I agree that some methods are so dull and repetitive it is impossible to remember them correctly especially when ringing. However, I suspect that the "harder" spikier methods seem to be easier to ring because you actually bother to learn them properly. I certainly find it too easy to learn a method as some place a bit of hunting with a dodge in somewhere which I'll sort out by the treble (or whatever) ie I don't really bother learning it properly. So I think it probably is the case that genuinely difficult lines to learn are difficult so you put more effort in to learn them.

I had forgotten about Method Master's difficulty index because I don't know what it really measures. Here are some statistics for Belfast & Glasgow
              Belfast      Glasgow
Right places    58%           52%
Changes of       
direction        40            20   (where do these numbers come from?)
No. of blows 
between chg of 
direction         6            11
Difficulty index  4340        2512

But I don't know that I woudl say that Belfast is nearly twice as hard as Glasgow. In fact I think the ordering is not totally clear (despite what I wrote earlier). I find that Glasgow has too many bits of work that are similar so it is possible to wake up and forget exactly where you are (Andrew's point). It's clear that the difficulty index must be related to the no. of changes of direction, but does anyone know exactly how?

Finally I would also agree that things that are hard to learn and ring are not necessarily the same as those which are hard to strike. Anything with upteen dodges on the front on an odd struck bell or with a band that can't lead regularly wrecks the rhythm entirely!

-----Original Message-----
From: ringing-theory-bounces at bellringers.net on behalf of Andrew Graham
Sent: Wed 09/03/2005 13:31
To: ringing-theory at bellringers.net
Subject: RE: [r-t] Method difficulty
This topic could run and run I think.  I find methods
'hard' (in the sense that they are hard to stay right
in) when they are featureless and unmemorable.  These
are quite often right place ones with lots of hunting
interspersed with occasional, seemingly semi-random,
dodges.  Think of Rutland Royal (if you can bear to). 
Also Stonebow from David Hull's 23-spliced.  And some
of us have problems with Ditchling don't we,
Spiky and unusual methods may take more learning (and
therefore in that sense be 'harder') but are easier to
stay right in as they somehow stick better in my mind.


--- Philip Earis <Earisp at rsc.org> wrote
> This has all aroused my curiosity.  Two questions: 
> 1) How many of the rung treble-dodging major methods
> have no symmetric
> sections? Can someone do a database trawl?  I
> suspect the answer is a
> very small fraction of the total number of rung
> methods.
> 2) What do people suggest is the 'hardest' t.d.
> major method that has
> all symmetric sections? Hardness is bit of a
> relative concept anyway, as
> I guess I'm making the assumptions that it will have
> conventional
> symmetry and regular leadheads.  So I guess the
> question is, what are
> candidates regular t.d. major methods with all
> symmetric sections that
> have the most varied lines/grids?

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