Handbell Compositions: 5056 Rutland Surprise Major by Don Morrison

We're doing well with the "Edinburgh crossover band" - we rang a peal of Lincolnshire last month, using one of the rotated William Barton compositions. Last week we rang Rutland. What was the composition? Rutland isn't a particularly popular method on handbells (in fact last week's peal was my first) and unlike Yorkshire, there aren't a lot of compositions advertising themselves as handbell-friendly.

The Henry Dains composition that we rang for London is also true to Rutland, and it would also be possible to use a handbell-friendly composition of Yorkshire, such as this one.

5,376 Yorkshire Surprise Major
Roger Bailey

(32456) M  W  H
 34256        s
 52436     2  2
 36425  -  -  s
 45263  - [-  2]
(35462) 2
Twice repeated. Snap start and finish. 3–4 ring 18 courses of 7-8
position. True to all Bc. 
Reduce to 5152 by replacing [...] by WHWH and omitting it in one part.

I have called this composition for Yorkshire, but last time we tried it we came unstuck because I overlooked the fact that omitting the WHWH results in 3-4 ringing part of the 3-4 course that they don't get in the other two parts. I was ringing 3-4 myself, and I was so perturbed by ringing a new combination of place bells in the last part that I fired it out. The worst of it was that exactly the same thing had happened in the previous attempt, which I then forgot about because of the simultaneous and even greater distraction of gathering darkness because of not switching the lights on before starting... peal-ringing adventures, eh?

Anyway, I wanted to find a different composition for Rutland, and picked this one by Don Morrison.

5,056 Rutland Surprise Major
Donald F Morrison (no. 1)

23456    M  B  W  H
54632    -     -
43265       2     -
24365       5     -
32465       5     -

It's a simple 2-part, and 5-6 are coursing 73% of the time and never ring the 3-4 position. In each part, one of the blocks of 5 befores has 3-4 coursing in 4 of the courses. In that respect, both parts are equally good for 3-4, even though the part end isn't 12436578 which would usually be considered the most desirable for a 2-part handbell-friendly composition.

Many compositions of Rutland have a before in most of the courses, and this one is no exception. In this case, the first course of each part is the only one in which 7-8 ring 2nd and 3rd place bells. It's OK at the beginning of the peal, but the ringer of 7-8 has to stay alert ready for the beginning of the second part.

When calling this kind of composition, it's best not to try to count up to 5 in the blocks of befores. Here, 5-6 are in the 5-6 position at the beginning and end of each block, so it's easiest to follow the coursing order and just call bobs until 5-6 come back home.

We rang it quite well, and it's encouraging that we have been able to ring each of Cambridge, Lincolnshire and Rutland at the first attempt. Next we might try Superlative.