Handbell Compositions: Cambridge Maximus

After our promising Cambridge Maximus session, I started wondering what would be the best peal composition. I don't remember seeing many compositions that are billed as being suitable for handbells. After a little thought, it seems to me that the challenge is to balance two goals: to keep as many pairs ringing as few positions as possible, and to avoid ringing 10 full courses.

My favourite composition of Cambridge Royal keeps 3-4 in the 3-4 and coursing positions, and keeps 5-6 in the 5-6 and 3-4 positions. Because Maximus needs only 10 courses rather than 14, it's possible to use the same idea to do even better by keeping 3-4 in the 3-4 position throughout. The only drawback is that 5280 is a little on the long side.

5280 Cambridge Surprise Maximus

M  W  H  23456
--------------
s  s     53462
s  s     63425
   s     23465
s  s     63452
s  s  s  54326
--------------
2 part.
For handbells: 3-4 are in the 3-4 position throughout;
5-6 only ring the 3-4 and 5-6 positions.

By starting and finishing at the snap, it's possible to keep 3-4 coursing instead of in the 3-4 position, again with 10 full courses. When calling this style of composition, note that the part end is at the wrong. The first line of the second part is the same as the last line of the first part: it is called sM,sM,sH.

6336 (5280) Cambridge Surprise Maximus

M  W  H  (32456)
----------------
      s   34256
   s      54236
-  s  s   36425
ss       (26345)
----------------
3 part.
Snap start and finish.
For 5280, omit ss in 2 parts.
For handbells: 3-4 are coursing throughout.

The following composition by Don Morrison reduces the length to 5042 and still keeps 3-4 coursing as much as possible. 5-6 ring all the positions except for the 7-8 position, which is further apart than any of the working pairs can get in a tenors-together composition.

5042 Cambridge Surprise Maximus
Donald F Morrison (no. 1708)

23456  M   W   H   
----------------
53642  -   s       
43265  -   s   ss  
63245      s       
45326  -   s   s   
25364  s   s       
34562  s       -   
64532      s       
32456  -   s   s
----------------
Rounds after 290 changes.    
For handbells: 3-4 are coursing after the first call.

A common way of obtaining 5040 of B-group Surprise Maximus methods is to use a "big bob", i.e. an 8ths place bob, when the tenor runs out, giving a 6-lead course. If we replace this with a "big single" we can get the same effect and keep 3-4 in the 3-4 position throughout, again with 5-6 ringing only the 3-4 and 5-6 positions.

5040 Cambridge Surprise Maximus 
Arr. Simon J Gay 

M  B  W  H  23456 
----------------- 
   s        24365
s     s  s  63452
      s     53462
ss    s  s  64352
s     s     54326
s        s  63425
ss       s  64325
s     s  s  23456
-----------------
sB = 1890ET

I wondered about combining the big bob or big single idea with a snap start and finish to get 5040 with 3-4 coursing throughout, but I haven't yet managed to produce a composition on that plan.

Comments

More handbell compositions of Cambridge Maximus

5042 Cambridge Surprise Maximus
by Graham A C John
23456   M   W   H
-----------------
53426       s
46325   -   3   s
24365       -   3
64532   -   s    
32456   -   s   s
-----------------
Handbell friendly for 3-4 (65% coursing, 35% 3-4 position).

5042 Cambridge Surprise Maximus
by Graham A C John
23456   M   W   H 
------------------
64352   s       s
54326   s   s   ss
24365   s   s   
53462   s       s
54362   ss      s
64325   s   s
32456   s   s   - 
------------------
Handbell friendly for 3-4 (94% 3-4 position, 6% coursing i.e. the 6 leads after the final call).
In Cambridge Maximus, the 3-4 position is arguably easier than coursing, because the position is maintained above and below the treble through most of the course. The 5-6 pair only rings the 3-4 and 5-6 position.

5040 Cambridge Surprise Maximus
by Graham A C John
23456   B   M   W   H
-----------------------
64352       s       s
64523   x           -
23465       -s  s   s
24365       ss      s
63452       s   s   s
23456       s   ss  ss
-----------------------
x = 18 bob
Handbell friendly for 3-4 (95% 3-4 position, 5% 4-5 position i.e. the 5 easiest leads of the 4-5 course from the bob home).
Another way of maximising the 3-4 position in a minimum length.

3-4 coursing throughout

Re Simon's final comment. Yes you can start and finish at the snap to keep 3-4 coursing throughout, with a big bob to keep the length down e.g:
5040 Cambridge Surprise Maximus
Composed by Graham A C John

(32456)  B   M   W   H
 ---------------------
 34256               s   
 54236           s       
 34625       –   s       
 24635           s       
 35462       –   s   s   
 56324   x 
 25364           –       
 34562       –       s   
 64532           s       
 32456       –   s   s
 --------------------- 
Start and finish at the backstroke snap.
100% coursing for 3-4, 58% coursing for 5-6.