[r-t] And now for something completely different

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Fri Jan 2 22:35:45 UTC 2015

As a possibly less stressful endeavor than trying to make the world a
better defined place:

What's the most notable innovation in ringing in the last 100 years?

My nomination is the wide acceptance of multi-extent blocks. I'm no
historian, so perhaps someone will correct me, but it seems to have
significantly changed what we mean for something to be worth ringing
at lower stages. It's enabled ringing many things that had been
impossible before. It's been embraced by ringers at opposite poles of
the complexity spectrum, being used regularly for Grandsire Doubles
and Plain Bob Minor, all the way up to long lengths of horrific
numbers of difficult, minor methods. While met with controversy at
various steps along the way, MEBs do seem to have become almost
universally accepted.

Because it tinkers with something so fundamental as "what does it mean
to be true" I think it is a bigger change for ringing than the rising
domination of complex treble dodging methods, the advent of cyclic
spliced and cycilic methods, the solution of the bobs only Stedman
Triples problem, the use of singles (and a plethora of differently
flavored calls) in surprise, the advent of link methods, or the modern
emphasis on musical properties of what we ring. While certainly
pronounced and important, those all seem like progressions of older
ideas, while MEBs seem like something really new.

I suppose the nearest competitor might be the rise of spliced ringing.

It's also amusing that the "Paramilitary Wing of the Methods
Committee" (may he rest in peace*) seems to have been a major factor
in moving MEBs forward for minor ringing, while having been so
conservative about many other aspects of ringing.

Was the first MEB Pitman's 240 of Grandsire Doubles? When was it first

What do others think has been the most notable innovation of the last
100 years?

* Or maybe not in too much peace: I suspect he enjoyed a good,
intellectual battle.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
"Most of the change we think we see in life / is due to truths
being in and out of favor."   -- Robert Frost, "The Black Cottage"

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