What is the "Cup Game?"

Tim Waugh introduced this game to bell ringers/directors as part of his classes on internalizing rhythms.   It has captured the imagination of bell people and non-bell people alike.  The ingredients are several people, a floor (on which the people sit in a circle -- can be done at a table, with or without chairs), one styrofoam/plastic cup for each person, and a willingness to make a mistake and be stared at, for surely, in a few moments, there will be a crowd of people watching.

Instructions - Cup Game
Variation on Cup Game

Instructions on Cup Game

Date: Mon, 22 Jul 1996 11:22:03 -0400
From: MMcgow9399@aol.com

I will attempt to describe a very visual game in words:

Have a bunch of your bell-buddies sit in a circle on the floor.    Sit cross-legged on the floor.    Add a plastic cup for each person.  Place the cup, lip on the floor, in front of your left knee, like this:

    l  l
   l    l
  l      l
1. clap your hands together twice
2. tap the *bottom* of the cup (which is now the *top*) three times
3. clap your hands together once and then
4. pick up the cup and slide it over to in front of your right knee.

1. Clap your hands together once
2. Pick up the cup with your right hand (at the bottom) as if you were preparing to turn it "right side up" (this means you have to turn your hand with the palm toward the right before grabbing the cup).
3. Holding the cup in the right hand, Hit the cup into the palm of the left hand
4. Still holding the cup in the right hand, Hit the floor with the *real* bottom of the cup (it should look like you are ready to pick up the cup and take a drink out of it)
5. Turn the right hand so the palm is facing the ceiling and the cup is still in your hand and grab the bottom of the cup with the left hand now
6. Hit the floor with the right hand which is now empty of cup
7. Pass the cup (which is now in the left hand) over the right hand which is on the floor and place the cup in front of your neighbor's left knee.

All the while, you keep the rhythm and beat steady.

The short version is:
Clap, clap, tap, tap, tap
Clap, slide it over (the cup to in front of the other knee that is)

Clap, rim, palm, floor, bottom, pass over.

Don't use too much energy or you'll break the cup.  Good luck!!!

Then for fun, reverse it and try it starting with the cup in front of the right knee and passing everything to the left!!!!!

Monica McGowan
Lakeville, Minnesota

Variation of the Cup Game  -- Michele D. Sharik

When we did it (to the tune of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat") the claps were quarter notes ("Row, Row") and the taps were eighth notes ("Row Your Boat").  Plus, the instructions only account for 7 beats.  On the 8th beat, we'd hit our thighs with our palms (we were sitting on the floor).  If we hadn't been sitting on the floor, we could have hit the table with our palms just as easily or clapped instead.  So, here's how we did it to "Row, Row, Row Your Boat":

Row = Clap
Row = Clap
Row = Tap bottom of cup (right hand)
Your = Tap bottom of cup (left hand)
Boat = Tap bottom of cup (right hand)
Gently = Clap (on 'Gent')
Down the = Grab bottom of cup with right hand (on 'Down')
Stream = Place cup in front of other knee
(rest) = Tap palms on thighs/table
Merrily = Clap
Merrily = Grab bottom of cup with right hand (hand is "upside down")
Merrily = Tap rim of cup on left palm
Merrily = Tap bottom of cup on floor/table
Life is = Put bottom of cup in left hand & hold onto it
But a = Put right palm on floor/table in front of right knee/shoulder
Dream = Put cup in front of neighbor's knee/shoulder
(rest) = Tap palms on thighs/table

This would work with any song which has a meter similar to "RRRYB".

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