Alison Stevens

M.M. Music Theory, University of Massachusetts Amherst

...once, reminiscing, she went into this sort of litany about all the things she'd ever been. Like astrocartographer, and explorer, and ship's captain, and POW, and wife, and mother, and politician...the list went on and on. There was no telling, she said, what she would be next. And I thought...I want to be like that. I want to be like her. Not just one thing, but a world of possibilities.

Memory, Lois McMaster Bujold

I am a musician, dancer, teacher, change-ringer, music theorist, science fiction and fantasy fan, and a bit of a web developer.

Dance and Music Theory

The main focus of my research thus far has been eighteenth-century contredanses and their role in the development of hypermetrical hearing. I have an article in the Journal of Music Theory on this topic. The article is based partly on my master's thesis, which can be found here.

Animations of some of the dances I've written about can be seen here, as well as animations of several modern contra dances.

Bells and Change Ringing

I am an avid practitioner of the English art of change ringing, in which bells are rung in mathematical patterns to produce as many permutations as possible. I learned to ring at the Smith College tower in Northampton, Massachusetts. I currently live and ring in Edinburgh in Scotland.

I have created numerous web apps to do things related to bells and change ringing! Here is a(n incomplete) list:

  • Method/touch printer. Also contour graph and staff notation generators, a method player, a method practice tool with a tutorial mode, and a surprise minor name game.
  • Method database. This app provides an API for querying a MongoDB database of change ringing methods.
  • Lapping chamber. This is a virtual chamber for ringing in the style known as "lapping". It is intended to be used primarily by groups of people at the same time, but you can play with it at any time by entering "Phooey" as the secret word.
  • Virtual bell tower. An online ringing chamber that closely resembles an actual bell tower. Use secret word "blackbeard" to enter.

I also have a bellringing blog up at

I have a Patreon to support maintenance of these websites. If you find them useful, consider becoming a patron!

Bellringing Embroidery

I make bookmarks embroidered with bellringing methods. These are available for purchase on Etsy.

Four embroidered bookmarks with colorful tassels lying on gray bricks with bits of moss between the bricks

I can also make embroidered peal or quarter-peal boards such as the one pictured below. If you're interested in commissioning one, click on the Etsy link above and send me a message there!

Embroidered quarter peal board framed leaning against a fence outside

Piano tuning

In 2022, I took an online piano technician course and did a lot of tuning and repair work on my own spinet. I'm quite proud of the work I did! The videos below demonstrate the state of my piano at two points in the process, quite early and sort of in the middle.