[r-t] Method difficulty

King, Peter R peter.king at imperial.ac.uk
Thu Mar 10 14:21:06 UTC 2005

Stathclyde is 9527 & Phobos is 7053. 

I agree that the scale isn't necessarily linear (except it does seem to
be roughly linear in the number of changes of direction). But highly
non-linear scales aren't very helpful. They either stretch out
differences that are only marginal or condense down big differences into
a small range.

Yes familiarity helps, which is why bits of work can be lumped together
as Cambridge places or "so & so" frontwork and this reflects what sorts
of methods people ring. However, I would guess that most ringers able to
compare a range of different methods know the standard 8 plus a varying
smattering of some others.

Clearly the difficulty increases with the number of bells in some sense
as the amount of work to be learnt increases. The Method MAster
difficulty index for Cambridge increases as 6-148; 8-260; 10-404;
12-580. Which is faster than linear and yet in many senses Cambridge is
relatively easier on higher numbers as the underlying structure becomes
more apparaent. Perhaps this explains why it is hard to come up with a
completely objective measure for difficulty as it can't take into
account past experience.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: ringing-theory-bounces at bellringers.net 
> [mailto:ringing-theory-bounces at bellringers.net] On Behalf Of 
> Chris Poole
> Sent: 10 March 2005 09:27
> To: ringing-theory at bellringers.net
> Subject: RE: [r-t] Method difficulty
> > 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.
> It's not clear that the index is linear, so this doesn't 
> necessarily say
> that Belfast is nearly twice as hard as Glasgow.  Surely the 
> hardness of a
> method must be some function of how long it takes to learn the method
> _well_.  But, saying that, learning Strathclyde S Max with 
> knowledge of
> Glasgow S Major would not take too long.  Learning an unfamiliar, new,
> simple surprise Max method would take longer to learn, even 
> though it is
> 'easier'.  I guess once things become more familiar, then your own
> personal hardness index for methods in general decreases.
> Out of interest, how does Method Master compare Phobos and 
> Strathclyde?
> Both have formulaic backworks, Strathclyde with a familar 
> frontwork and
> Phobos with a less familiar one (unless you know it of course!)?
> Chris
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