The week before last we were away on the annual "Hulliday", a big group of ringers with families who have been going on holiday together for a few years. These days the holiday doesn't involve much ringing (the amount of running is increasing steadily), but there is usually some handbell ringing. This year David Pipe suggested that it would be fun for me and Tina to ring a peal of 23-spliced with him and Henry, which we did (at the second attempt).
Norman Smith's 23-spliced has been rung almost 40 times on handbells, but there are other 23-spliced challenges that have been taken up much less frequently. Perhaps they would appeal to capable bands who are looking for something different.
The most obvious challenge is Steven Chandler's composition, which has much more difficult methods than Norman Smith's. It has become a popular test piece for very advanced tower bell bands, but as far as I can tell it has only been rung three times on handbells:
30/5/1992 by Paul Mounsey, Peter Townsend, David Brown and John Hughes-D'Aeth (silent and non-conducted).
7/5/2009 by Richard Pearce, David Pipe, John Hughes-D'Aeth (C) and Alex Byrne.
8/6/2012 by Thomas Hinks (C), Jennifer Earis, David Brown and Philip Earis.
It's remarkable that the first performance was silent and non-conducted. I remember being in Roger Bailey's office for a peal, when one of our ringers told Roger that this had been done. He immediately guessed all four members of the band.
These were preceded by a peal that was essentially Chandler's with two method substitutions (I don't know why):
24/10/1988 by Kathleen Baldwin, John Peverett, Roger Baldwin and Kevin Lucas.
The 25-method extension of Norman Smith's
This arrangement by Jonathan Porter and Roger Baldwin adds Belfast and Hereford. As it's all the work of 25 methods, it's slightly longer at 5600. It has been rung twice:
8/9/1988 by Tim Peverett, Alison Surry, Roger Bailey and John Peverett (C).
23/9/1990 by Tim Peverett, Alison Surry, John Peverett and Roger Bailey (no conductor published).
The variation of Norman Smith's with every lead different
This arrangement by James Taylor makes some method substitutions to eliminate repeated place bells (such as 3rds place bell in Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Superlative). It has only been rung once:
20/12/1995 by Simon Gay, David Brown, Roger Bailey and Michael Trimm.
Don Morrison's compositions with Norman Smith's methods
Don Morrison has produced several compositions with the methods from Norman Smith's, but in a different order and with cyclic part ends. Some of them have variable hunt and are all the work for all eight bells. When these were published in the Ringing World several years ago, I thought they would become popular as an alternative to the original composition, but they don't seem to be rung all that often, and as far as I can tell, none of them have been rung on handbells. For the compositions that aren't variable hunt, the main challenge for an experience band would be getting used to having the methods in a different order, as the familiar calling has become so ingrained.
A few years after the publication of Norman Smith's composition, Tim Pett produced a seven-part all-the-work composition with an easier set of methods. Instead of Glasgow, Preston, Tavistock and Whalley it has Aldenham, Ealing, Ickleton and Ospringe. It might be considered a retrograde step to make Norman Smith's easier; nevertheless, this composition does not seem to have been rung on handbells.
A couple of days after our holiday peal of Norman Smith's, a band rang John Leary's composition on tower bells. This composition of 23-all-the-work is infrequently rung. In comparison with Chandler's, it has a greater variation in place bell orders, still with a challenging set of methods and with a combination of 4ths and 8ths place bobs. It hasn't been rung on handbells.
- ‹ Previous: Mental fatigue is a ringers biggest problem
- Next: A new member of the Scottish Surprise Major club ›