Methods of the month for 2019

Readers of The Ringing World (which should be all of you) know that Simon Linford has proposed a series of "methods of the month" for 2019, which are printed in the Ringing World Diary. There will be compositions for quarters and peals in The Ringing World each month. This is connected to Simon's Project Pickled Egg, encouraging the development of a more interesting Surprise Major repertoire than the Standard Eight.

I don't have my Ringing World Diary yet - it's a traditional Christmas present from my father, Phil Gay, so I won't get it until next weekend. However, the article in The Ringing World gives compositions for Cooktown Orchid Delight Major as January's method, and reveals that Double Dublin will be February's method.

I hope we will be able to ring some or all of the monthly methods on handbells. Cooktown Orchid is an exciting prospect as I've never rung it in the tower either, so it will be fun to have something completely new.

One of the quarter peal compositions given for Cooktown Orchid is the following cyclic 7-part.

1344 Cooktown Orchid Delight Major

  2345678
---------
- 2357486
- 2378564
  3826745
  8634257
  6485372
  4567823
---------
7 part

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it reminds me of a composition that we rang in the tower a few years ago while exploring cyclic compositions. It's published for Bristol, but we rang it for Norwich.

1344 Bristol Surprise Major
Roy K Williams

  2345678
---------
- 4263578
- 6452378
  5634827
  3586742  
  8375264
  7823456
---------
6th place bobs
7 part

Viewed in a certain way, both compositions are the same: two bobs then four plain leads. The differences are that the methods have opposite place bell orders (Cooktown Orchid has Plain Bob place bell order); they have opposite lead end places (Cooktown Orchid is 12); and different bobs are used (the traditional "natural" bob to match the lead end place, i.e. Bristol is rung with a 6th place bob).

In the composition of Cooktown Orchid, the two bobs are used to move 2 and 3 through the coursing order until they are between 8 and 7:

8753246 -> 8732546 -> 8327546

to give the coursing order of the cyclic lead end 14567823.

In the composition of Bristol, the two bobs are used to move 7 and 8 through the coursing order, in the opposite direction, until they are between 3 and 2:

8753246 -> 5873246 -> 5387246

to give the coursing order of the cyclic lead end 17823456.

The common idea is to take the two bells from one end of rounds and move them through the coursing order until they are between the two bells that are at the other end of rounds.

The next interesting point is that the same idea, applied to Surprise Maximus, gives a peal length.

5280 Adventurers' Fen Surprise Maximus
Simon J Gay

1 2 3 4    234567890ET
----------------------
- - - -    4567890ET23
----------------------
11 part

There are four consecutive bobs at the beginning of the part, followed by six plain leads, giving ten leads per part. A description of the calling, that works for both the quarter of Major and the peal of Maximus, is "call 4th place bobs until bell n-1 makes the bob, then ring plain leads until the part end". 

In case anyone thinks I am deviating from the handbell theme of the blog, remember that Adventurers' Fen is part of the alphabet of "Fen" methods rung on handbells by a Cambridge-based band in the 1990s.

To adapt the Bristol composition into a peal, we need an M-type method.

5280 Avon Delight Maximus
Simon J Gay

1 2 3 4    234567890ET
----------------------
- - - -    ET234567890
----------------------
10th place bobs
11 part

Again, after the four consecutive bobs, there are six plain leads. And again, there is a description of the calling that works for both the quarter of Major and the peal of Maximus: "call far bobs (i.e. 6th place for Major, 10th place for Maximus) until the 3rd makes the bob, then ring plain leads until the part end". 

For easier handbell methods, these compositions are also true to Westminster instead of Adventurers' Fen, and to Norwich or Kent instead of Avon.

The idea of these compositions is to use 4th place bobs to move 2 and 3 through the coursing order, or to use far bobs to move the tenors through the coursing order. The technique can be reversed. If we use 6th place bobs (in Major) to move 2 and 3, the sequence of coursing orders is

3246875 -> 4326875 -> 4632875 -> 4683275

which produces the coursing order of the cyclic lead end 14567823. This gives a quarter of Bristol:

1344 Bristol Surprise Major
Simon J Gay

  2345678
---------
  4263857
  6482735
  8674523
- 7856423
- 5748623
- 4567823
---------
6th place bobs
7 part

and a peal of Avon:

5280 Avon Delight Maximus
Simon J Gay

6 7 8 9 10   234567890ET
------------------------
- - - - -    4567890ET23
------------------------
10th place bobs
11 part

Both compositions are described by "call far bobs with 2 and 3 at the back, until the part end".

Similarly, we can use 4th place bobs to move the tenors through the coursing order. For Major, the sequence of coursing orders is

5324687 -> 5324876 -> 5328746 -> 5387246

which produces the coursing order of the cyclic lead end 17823456. This gives a quarter of Cooktown Orchid:

1344 Cooktown Orchid Delight Major
Simon J Gay

  2345678
---------
  3527486
  5738264
  7856342
- 7864523
- 7842635
- 7823456
---------
7 part

and a peal of Adventurers' Fen:

5280 Adventurers' Fen Surprise Maximus
Simon J Gay

6 7 8 9 10   234567890ET
------------------------
- - - - -    ET234567890
------------------------
11 part

Both compositions are described by "call befores until the part end".

The Ringing World also gives a nice cyclic composition for a quarter of spliced Cooktown Orchid, Superlative and Bristol, which I would like to ring.

1344 Spliced Treble Dodging Major
Leigh D G Simpson

       2345678
--------------
CO     3527486
S      7856342
CO -4  7864523
B  -6  6758423
S  -6  7862345
B  -4  6782345
--------------
7 part

This composition uses 4th and 6th place bobs. The notation -4 means a 4th place bob, and -6 means a 6th place bob. After the 6th place bob in Bristol, producing the lead end 16758423, the coursing order is 8765432, the so-called "mega-tittums" coursing order. This is a good coursing order to ring for Superlative, because it generates 4-bell runs at the back and front. Producing the mega-tittums coursing order in a cyclic composition means that all 7 leads of Superlative in that position in the calling, i.e. the leads between the 6th place bobs, come from the mega-tittums course.

The composition is also true if Bristol is replaced by Double Dublin throughout, so it gives a nice link to February's method.

The structure with a sequence of bobs in increasing positions, leading to the mega-tittums coursing order, then reversing the sequence of bobs to get to a cyclic part end, has been used in peals of Maximus. I think there are some by David Pipe, for example. To see how this works, we can modify the quarter peal. Instead of Bristol we can use Norwich, and we need bobs in 4th, 6th, 8th and 10th places. This adds two leads, and another two leads while the sequence of bobs is reversed. The part needs to be ten leads long, so again we need three leads before the first 4th place bob. Ringing three leads of Superlative gets to the desired lead end, where the tenor runs out at the bob. 

5280 Spliced Surprise Maximus (2m)
Simon J Gay

       1234567890ET
-------------------
S      157392E4T608
S      19E7T5038264
S  –4  1ET089674523
N  -6  10E9T8674523
N  -8  1908E7T64523
N  -0  189706E5T423
S  -0  1908E7T62345
N  -8  189706ET2345
N  -6  178690ET2345
N  –4  167890ET2345
-------------------
11 part
3168 Norwich; 2112 Superlative; 43 com; atw.
9 56s (0f,9b), 1 65s (1f,0b), 605 4-bell runs (136f,469b), 14 TEs at back.

I'm not claiming that this is a great composition - it's just another illustration of the correspondence between some quarters of Major and peals of Maximus. It's also true with Cambridge instead of Superlative, which would be more handbell-friendly.

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