In my previous article I mentioned that we were hoping to go for a peal of spliced Cambridge, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Rutland and Bristol. Well, we did, and we rang it first time, which was satisfying. I was almost as pleased with it as I was with the 23-spliced, which might sound strange. The point is that whereas the 23-spliced was a project that took several attempts and felt like a superhuman effort of concentration, this peal of 5-spliced shows that we have reached a level where we can organise a peal of spliced in methods that we know well, with a straightforward composition, and turn up and ring a good peal just like we would in the tower. There were no panics, no emergencies, no shouting - just good ringing with a few small trips. Also, it's the first time that I've called a peal of spliced on a non-coursing pair and managed to follow the coursing orders.
Graham John was right: that composition by Philip Davies is a hidden handbell gem. In his comments on the previous article, Graham explained the structure of whole courses of each method, except for a few substitutions of odd leads. Because each method is linked to a particular position of 5-6 in the coursing order, I was able to make use of those connections as a supplement to religiously following the sequence of methods that I had memorised. At times, I found myself thinking along the lines of "after the next bob, it has to be a bobbed lead of Bristol in order to get 5-6 coursing again so that we can ring the rest of the course of Yorkshire".
This reminded me of the article that David Brown wrote in the Ringing World about the record length peal of Superlative Major. He said that normally he learns all the coursing orders in a composition, and that helps him to remember the calling, but the enormous number of calls in the Superlative made this impractical and he had to fall back on learning the calling explicitly. This was a surprise to me because I have always learnt the calling first, and then perhaps learnt a few coursing orders at strategic points; having said that, I can now see that my articles about handbell compositions of Plain Bob Major, Bristol Major and Cambridge Royal are rather oriented towards explaining the calling in terms of the coursing orders that are going to be included. After yesterday's peal I can see that similar ideas of conducting by structure can be extended to the more complicated domain of spliced.
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