Conducting Stedman is not something reserved for only a select few, it is achievable by just about anyone.
There are lots of different ways to call touches of Stedman, if you are aiming to just extend the length of the ringing this can be done very easily with very few calls, these touches leave the conductor's bell unaffected and normally use only bobs or pairs of bobs, making the ringing less likely to go wrong.
If, on the other hand, you are aiming to call a musical touch then it becomes much more difficult as bobs and singles tend to come on their own or in long sets which not only confuse the conductor but can sometimes cause the other ringers to go wrong, where it then falls squarely on the shoulders of the conductor to keep it right!
Because Stedman is a principle the treble does not lead at the lead end, so this is not a benchmark for where to make the calls, instead Stedman revolves around "Sixes" a call is made just before the end of a six. Calling Stedman on higher numbers is slightly different, and is mentioned at the end of this article.
Above is a diagram showing a course of Stedman Triples, one course of Stedman Triples is made up of 7 leads or 14 "sixes" therefore there are 14 possible calling positions. In Stedman Triples each calling position is numbered numerically depending on where the 7th meets it in a plain course, remember that if you call a touch where you are unaffected you can just keep counting the calling positions however if you are calling a touch where you are affected you will jump to a different calling position. For example a bob or single at calling position 9 will mean that the next calling position you reach is 12 not 10.
Calling positions like this are used only in Stedman Triples. What is important to understand from the diagram is where the calling positions are as the calls in the slow work are the same on however many bells and the positions at the end of the dodges are also the same. Effectively you need for Stedman Triples to learn where each of these calling positions happens by heart (concentrating on the ones in the slow as getting these wrong can really confuse people in "6-7") and also learn what your next calling position will be. You can see what your next calling position will be after any bob or single from the table bellow.
Calling Next Calling Position Position Plain Bob Single 1 2 10 2 2 3 11 11 3 4 4 4 4 5 5 5 5 6 6 6 6 7 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 9 9 9 9 10 12 12 10 11 1 11 11 12 2 2 12 13 13 13 13 14 13 14 14 1 3 3
Calling a Simple Touch of Stedman
If you are only trying to lengthen the ringing and are not worried about the music in the touch there are a couple of simple ways of doing it.
The first is to put in a Single in any calling position where you are unaffected and then repeat, this will give you a true 168 of Stedman with only two calls. This can be called from any bell and you can easily work out who will get the singles as only two bells out of the seven will be affected, whoever makes 5ths the first time will make 6ths the second time, and vica versa. For example if you call the 7th with a single at 1 and repeat this will give you a true 168 with the 7th unaffected, the 6 will make 6ths the first time while the 5th will make 5ths, at the repeat the 5th will make 6ths and the 6th will make 5ths.
A longer touch of 252 changes can be achieved by calling yourself unaffected three times with a bob in the same way as above.
The other way to call a simple touch is to call one of the standard paired bob touches. On the diagram above you will notice that the calling positions 3,4 are labelled (S), 5,6 (H), 7,8 (L), 12,13 (Q), these are positions where you are unaffected by calls and you can remember the touch SQ (repeated) more easily than 3, 4, 12, 13 (repeated), while both mean the same thing. For a two course touch or 168 changes you can call bobs at:
For a short touch to give people practice at bobs you can call bobs at SLQ which will give you one course (84 Changes). One really good hint with stedman is that if you call a single anywhere where you are unaffected and repeat it will double the length of any touch.
This can be used to your advantage, for example if you want to call something that will give people practice at bobs call SLQ, with a single in any calling position where you are unaffected, this single can also replace one of the bobs. This will double the length of the touch.
If you use a single to double the length of a bob only touch, that comes round at the conventional position it should work and be true, however this can sometimes cause the touch to come round prematurely. If you add a single to a touch that already uses singles it will come round but may be false. Do not add singles like this to touches that come round in odd positions e.g. the length is not divisible by 12 or that come round at Handstroke.
Calling a Musical Touch
Calling a musical touch is actually quite easy, most standard musical touches of Stedman triples will lock the 4 and 6 up in "6-7" giving lots of "468" roll ups often giving Queens, Kings or Whittingtons.
The only difference in calling a musical touch is that you as the conductor will most likely be affected. This is where you need to know what the bobs and singles do with regards to your calling positions.(see table above) As an example we will take the 144 change touch as in the Ringing world diary. The touch is written out, s1, s4, s8, 9, 12, 13 (repeat),(from 7th). Meaning that this touch is to be called from the 7th.
You should instantly see that as the 7th's first calling position is 1, that there will be a single immediately, you are not affected by this call. The next single happens at your first whole turn, this is at the Handstroke, it is important not to get into the habbit of calling it at the backstroke as this can confuse the bells in "6-7". The next single is at 8 which is the 3rds leaving the slow, again this is at handstroke.
This is where it gets interesting, at the next calling position, 9 you have to put in a bob, which you are affected by. From the table above you will see that this means that your next calling position is 12, so the next bob happens straight away. The last bob happens as you come out quick in your first blow in 2nds. This is then repeated, remember that the 7th must return to it's home position before you repeat, so make sure you count the 14th calling position.
Another simple musical touch of Stedman triples is: s4.5.s7.s12.13.s4.s7.s12.13 The 7th is unaffected throughout and the touch comes round at the end of the slow six at 166 changes.
A slightly more complicated touch is: 184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.6.7.s18.104.22.168.1.10 and comes round shortly after at 173 changes, and contains Queens, Tittums & Whittingtons, the calling positions here refer to the position of the 7th.
Conducting Stedman on higher numbers
The standard notation for Stedman Caters and Cinques is to count the number of sixes which have passed rather than to call using calling positions for example if you take the 9th to a touch of Stedman Caters and call a bob at one, the next number to count is two not ten as it would be in triples, so whatever happens just keep counting. In most quarter peal compositions you should count up to 18 which is of course the number of sixes in a plain course of Stedman Caters however some composition will require you to count only to 16 or up to 24 which should be noted in the calling. However in some touches especially in the RW diary this information is neglected so you need to check where your bell appears in the numbers to the left of the touch.
A standard and quite musical touch for Stedman Caters is the 207 in the diary, this initaialy puts the bells into a tittums coursing, then into handstroke homes and is the basis of many quarter peals, the calling is:
1, 4, 6, 7 s10, 12, 13 (16 sixes) 2, s9
This should be fairly simple to call as a first touch, calling from the 9th, the first bob leaves you dodging up the back, the second is in 6-7 down, the next two are when you are in the slow, the same calling positions as triples (4 & 5), the s10 is called as you leave the slow (position 8), the next bob causes you to make 7ths and come back down, don't forget to call the second bob before you leave 6-7. On to the easier bit the bob at 2 is in 8=9 with the 8th and the s9 again makes you turn around in 6-7.
This can be called from anywhere I think the easiest bell is probably the 7th as you actually meet the calling positions in the same order as a course of Stedman Triples.
Calling a Quarter peal of Stedman Triples
The RW diary has several quarter peals that are based on paired calls, this is probably the easiest place to start. My personal favourite of these, as it’s the only one I can ever remember is HQ,HQ,LQ so 22.214.171.124 126.96.36.199 188.8.131.52 this is called five times, the lead end rotates like this 5123467 at the end of each section so it is easy to keep an eye on whether anybody has swapped.
Calling a Quarter peal of Stedman Caters or Cinques
When calling a quarter of Stedman Caters or Cinques the normal “shape” is to put the bells into Tittums coursing, then some padding, put the bells into the handstroke home position, then more padding to finish. The bells are rearranged using what are normally called Turning Courses and tend to have quite a few calls in, an example quarter of Stedman Caters is shown below;
1299 Stedman Caters D.Brady 231456789 15 ------------ 234165978 a ------------ 2413 2 | 2314 s |A 2143 2 | ------------ 234165879 b 2143 A ------------ a = 1.7s.184.108.40.206s b = 2.s9.s15
I would suggest calling this off of the 7th as you are fixed throughout, this is quite simple to call as in the blocks of A only the 1,3,4 rotate around. Another standard quarter peal calling for caters is the 1287 in the diary based on the touch above starting 220.127.116.11... it is important to note that that the first course is 16 sixes whilst all the rest are 18. The quarter of 1299 above can be called as a touch of 219 by simply calling a,b.
For quarters of Stedman Cinques the standard course length is 22 sixes an example quarter peal composition is shown below;
1313 Stedman Cinques D.Brady 2314567890E 18 -------------- 12345687E90 a 1342 2 1243 s 1432 2 1324658709E b 1243 2 1342 s -------------- a = 1.s6.7.8.s10.12.13.16.s18 (20) b = 1.3.4.s18.104.22.168.13.17.s21.22
Note that the first course is only 20 sixes long. Again this quarter can be shortened to a touch by calling a,b this will be 257 changes.