Training programme for 23-spliced

We like the idea of trying to ring Norman Smith's 23-spliced Surprise Major. First rung in 1966, the composition has become a popular challenge. Andrew Craddock's PealBase web site includes statistics on peals of 23-spliced. At the time of writing (26th September 2014) it has been rung 639 times, but only 30 times on handbells. It has been rung by 1000 people (I think that includes treble ringers) but only by 39 people on handbells. 137 people have conducted it, but only 10 people on handbells. Clearly on handbells it is a particular challenge; the first time it was rung in hand was in 1985, 19 years after its first performance in tower. I rang in the 6th and 7th performances on handbells; the latter peal report might provide a moment's amusement. Sadly I blew my chance to become the 5th person to call it on handbells, during the Cumberlands' 23-spliced weekend in December 1997; as far as I remember we rang about half way before I called the wrong method. Maybe it will prove to be too great a challenge for our current band, but we won't know until we try, and in any case learning to ring all the methods will give us something to do for the next few months (or maybe the next few years...).

There are two established ways of tackling 23-spliced. One way is to use the fact that the composition is a series from 13 to 23 methods, and work up to the full set, adding as many methods as desired at each step. Bill Perrins's companion compositions from 9 to 12 methods are also useful. The other way is to learn all the methods and go for the full 23-spliced from the beginning, taking as many attempts as necessary.

As we find it easier to get together for quarters rather than peals, here I offer a third approach: my quarter peal ringers' training programme for 23-spliced. The idea is to practise the new wrong-place methods (Glasgow, Whalley, Preston and Double Dublin) individually and then in 7-part quarters of spliced, before practising shortened versions of the peal.

Step 1: master 8-spliced

This step includes getting used to 7-part all-the-work compositions, such as this one:

1792 Spliced Surprise Major (8m)
S.J.Gay
              2345678
---------------------
Bristol-      4235678
Pudsey        5728463
London-       4257386
Lincolnshire  7826435
Yorkshire     6385742
Superlative-  3542678
Cambridge     2758364
Rutland-      3527486
---------------------
7 part

Step 2: Glasgow

Here's a nice composition that I haven't seen elsewhere.

1280 Glasgow Surprise Major
S.J.Gay

B H  23456
----------
3 -  56423
----------
2 part

Step 3: spliced with Glasgow

The presence of Norwich in this composition is just to get a nice collection of four compositions with six methods in each. Norwich is easier than any of the Norman Smith's methods, so it shouldn't present a problem. Belfast can be rung instead, if desired.

1344 Spliced Surprise Major (6m)
S.J.Gay
               2345678
----------------------
Wembley-       6423857
Jersey         3547682
Yorkshire      7852364
Glasgow        8276543
Lincolnshire-  2643857
Norwich-       4263857
----------------------
7 part

Step 4: Preston

I don't have an original composition to offer for Preston. The old standby of Wrong Home Wrong is true. In my youth I used to think that Wrong Home Wrong was true to everything, and called it for quite a few quarters in a range of methods, including Cambridge for which it's false. Oops.

Step 5: spliced with Preston

1344 Spliced Surprise Major (6m)
S.J.Gay
             2345678
--------------------
Preston-     3578264
Ashtead      4267835
Uxbridge     6482573
Cray         5836742
Rutland-     7358264
Bristol-     5738264
--------------------
7 part

Step 6: Whalley

Whalley is one of the traditional bogey methods.

1280 Whalley Surprise Major
S.J.Gay

W B H  23456
------------
-   2  24536
  - -  24365
------------
2 part
Also true to Watford and Wembley.

Step 7: spliced with Whalley

1344 Spliced Surprise Major (6m)
S.J.Gay
              2345678
---------------------
Lindum-       6423857
Cornwall      8276543
Pudsey-       2643857
Watford       4286735
Superlative   6325478
Whalley-      4263857
---------------------
7 part

Step 8: Double Dublin

Double Dublin often causes problems, even though (or perhaps because) it's just a variation of Bristol. There's no particular problem with finding compositions, but this one continues the theme of the handbell-friendly part end 12436578.

1280 Double Dublin Surprise Major
S.J.Gay

M W H  23456
------------
1 1    54632
1 2 1  24365
------------
2 part
Also true to Bristol.

Step 9: spliced with Double Dublin

Just in case it turns out that Double Dublin is easy after all, this composition includes the other traditional bogey method, Tavistock.

1344 Spliced Surprise Major (6m)
S.J.Gay
                2345678
-----------------------
Ipswich-        7864523
Tavistock       2345867
Cambridge       5637284
Cassiobury      8472635
London-         6784523
Double Dublin-  8674523
-----------------------
7 part

Step 10: two parts of the peal

In the peal composition, any part can be replaced by a plain lead of Yorkshire, so reducing any five parts gives a length of 1632. In this way it's possible to practise the whole peal by ringing four quarters.

Step 11: the peal

That's all!

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