We rang another quarter of Stedman last week, this time with Julia conducting. There was a false start but after that we rang well, and Julia did some impressive correcting of mistakes. We're not ringing this week, but next week it's my turn to conduct, which I will do from the tenors. I'm confident about putting the bobs in, but the question is how much I will manage to see of how the other bells are working.
We picked the Thurstans block for a quarter peal so that it would lead nicely to a peal, so let's have a look at how a peal composition works. Recall the calling for the basic block:
S H L Q ---------- x x x x x x ----------
and ringing it 5 times gives a quarter peal. I learned more about the structure of this composition from Philip Saddleton's Collection of Compositions of Stedman Triples and Erin Triples. The extent of 5040 rows can be divided into 4 copies of this quarter peal, starting from 1234567 (rounds), 5432167 (reverse rounds), 1352467 (Queens) and 4253167 (reverse Queens). The question then is how to join these 4 quarters into a peal, and there are many ways to do it.
The original Thurstans composition first joins two quarters into a half peal, by adding a pair of bobs to one quarter and omitting a pair in the other quarter. The two half peals are joined together by adding a pair of singles. However, there are many other arrangements using more pairs of singles. I expect that when Thurstans produced the composition it was considered desirable to minimise the number of singles, but the arrangement that I think is the simplest uses 3 pairs of singles. Here's how it works.
First, when we use pairs of singles in these compositions, they are at 2 and 14. A single at 2 is at the beginning of the course, with the 7th making 6ths. A single at 14 is at the end of the course, with the 7th making 5ths. The way they occur is first to call s14 at the end of one of the courses of the basic block. This skips the 7th past the course end, but the calling continues with S, H, L Q for the 7th as observation in the normal way. In other words, even though the single swaps the 7th with another bell, it continues to be the observation bell. Then later there's a s2 which keeps the 7th at the back for two extra sixes, and again it continues as the observation bell for the rest of the calling.
The arrangement that looks simplest to me is called Dexter's No.2 Variation of Thurstans'. It's in the Ringing World Diary. What happens is that you ring the first course of a Thurstans block, then call s14 which jumps into the second part of the Thurstans block starting from Queens. Then you ring the first course of that block and call s14 which jumps to the fourth part of the the reverse rounds block. After the first course of that block you call s14 and jump to the 3rd part of the reverse Queens block. The reverse Queens block is rung completely, with s2 at the end to jump back into the previous block, and so on until everything has been unwound. Here's what it looks like in full:
5040 Stedman Triples F.H.Dexter (No.2 Variation of Thurstans') 2 S H L Q 14 2314567 --------------------------- x x s (5234167) x x s (1524367) x x s (3154267) x x 3461257 | x x x 4132657 | A x 1432567 | 4A 3154267 s 1465327 | x x x 4513627 | B x 5413267 | 4A 1524367 B 2451367 4A 5234167 B 3425167 4A 2314567 ---------------------------
The bracketed course ends indicate that the course end is not rung, because the s14 skips past it. They occur properly later. The lines with just s2 and then a course end immediately are because after s2 the 7th does 6-7 up again and is therefore back in the position of a course end.
Another option is Dexter's No.1 Variation, which is described in detail in Bob Smith's book Standard Methods. Although it doesn't look quite as simple written out, there are some pointers that can help when calling it. Maybe I will write about it another time.