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The Structure of Lancashire and Bristol Surprise Major

An earli­er post described the struc­ture of Bris­tol Sur­prise Major in terms of either treble bob­bing with the treble, or plain hunt­ing right and wrong without the treble. Lan­cashire Sur­prise Major is built on the same prin­ciples, the primary dif­fer­ence being that plain hunt­ing right and wrong are done the oth­er way round. Addi­tion­ally, in Lan­cashire a bell makes 2nd place at the lead end, and the bells in 3–4 con­tin­ue dodging with each oth­er (and at the half lead a bell makes 7th place under the treble, while the bells in 5–6 con­tin­ue dodging with each other).

We can show the two meth­ods along­side each oth­er, like this:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 b 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Bris­tol Lan­cashire
- 1 - - - - - - h - 1 - - - - - -
1 - - - - - - - b 1 - - - - - - -
- 1 - - - - - - h - 1 - - - - - -
-
- - 1 - - - - - b - - 1 - - - - -
- - - 1 - - - - h - - - 1 - - - -
- - 1 - - - - - b - - 1 - - - - -
- - - 1 - - - - h - - - 1 - - - -
-
7 dodges down with treble in 5–6; - - - 5 1 7 8 6 b - - - - 1 7 8 6
8 & 6 dodge at the back - - - - 7 1 6 8 h - - - - 7 1 6 8
- - - - 1 7 8 6 b - - - - 1 7 8 6
- - - - 7 1 6 8 h - - - - 7 1 6 8
-
8 dodges down with the treble in 7–8; - - - 7 6 1 8 b - - - - 7 6 1 8
7 & 6 dodge in 5–6 - - - - 6 7 8 1 h - - - - 6 7 8 1
- - - - 7 6 1 8 b - - - - 7 6 1 8
approach­ing half-lead:
bell in 5th place drops down to the front 4;
bell in 4th place comes out to the back 4
- - - 5 6 7 8 1 h - - - - 6 7 8 1
hl
7 dodges up with the treble in 7–8; - - - 6 5 8 7 1 b - - - - 7 6 8 1 treble-bob­bing bells change direction
5 & 8 dodge in 5–6 - - - - 8 5 1 7 h - - - - 6 7 1 8
- - - - 5 8 7 1 b - - - - 7 6 8 1
- - - - 8 5 1 7 h - - - - 6 7 1 8
-
8 dodges up with the treble in 5–6; - - - - 8 1 5 7 b - - - - 6 1 7 8
5 & 7 dodge at the back - - - - 1 8 7 5 h - - - - 1 6 8 7
- - - - 8 1 5 7 b - - - - 6 1 7 8
- - - 6 1 8 7 5 h - - - 4 1 6 8 7
-
treble goes down; 6 comes up - - - 1 6 8 5 7 b - - - 1 4 6 7 8 treble goes down; 4 comes up
back four bells plain hunt wrong - - 1 - 6 5 8 7 h - - 1 - 6 4 8 7 back four bells plain hunt right
(b&h) - - - 1 5 6 7 8 b - - - 1 6 8 4 7 (h&b)
- - 1 - 5 7 6 8 h - - 1 - 8 6 7 4
-
back four bells plain hunt right - 1 - - 7 5 8 6 b - 1 - - 6 8 4 7 back four bells plain hunt wrong
(h&b) 1 - - - 5 7 6 8 h 1 - - - 6 4 8 7 (b&h)
- 1 - - 5 6 7 8 b - 1 - - 4 6 7 8
approach­ing lead end:
bell in 5th place drops down to the front 4;
bell in 4th place comes out to the back 4
1 - - 3 6 5 8 7 h 1 - - - 4 7 6 8
-
lead end 1 - - 6 3 8 5 7 b 1 - - - 7 4 8 6
le
new place bells for this lead 5 6 7 8 5 6 7 8 new place bells for this lead
back four bells plain hunt right - 1 - - 6 5 8 7 h - 1 - - 5 7 6 8 back four bells plain hunt wrong
(h&b) 1 - - - 6 8 5 7 b 1 - - - 7 5 8 6 (b&h)
- 1 - - 8 6 7 5 h - 1 - - 7 8 5 6
-
back four bells plain hunt wrong - - 1 - 6 8 5 7 b - - 1 - 8 7 6 5 back four bells plain hunt right
(b&h) - - - 1 6 5 8 7 h - - - 1 7 8 5 6 (h&b)
- - 1 - 5 6 7 8 b - - 1 - 7 5 8 6
- - - 1 5 7 6 8 h - - - 1 5 7 6 8
-
7 dodges down with treble in 5–6; - - - 5 1 7 8 6 b - - - 5 1 7 8 6
8 & 6 dodge at the back

 

 

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The Structure of Bristol Surprise Major

Some 18 months ago, I described learn­ing Bris­tol Sur­prise Major. I haven’t rung very much of it since then, but I want to look at its struc­ture – what the dif­fer­ent bells are doing and how it fits togeth­er. Because it’s really very simple, and can be described in a few short sentences:

  1. The treble always treble bobs, out to the back, and then back down to the front, over and over again.
  2. The oth­er bells work togeth­er, either as a group on the front four, or as a group on the back four, and from time to time a bell moves from the front group to the back group, or vice versa.
    So far so good, now for the clev­er part:
  3. All the bells in the group that con­tains the treble simply treble-bob inside that group, in phase with the treble, up and down or down and up, until the treble crosses to the oth­er group.
  4. The four bells in the oth­er group (the one without the treble) just plain hunt; and every time the treble (which is in the oth­er group) moves from one dodging pos­i­tion to anoth­er, the four plain-hunt­ing bells switch from hunt­ing “right” (where “lead­ing” and “lying” are made at hand and back) to hunt­ing “wrong” (where “lead­ing” and “lying” are made at back and hand) or vice versa. See below for an explan­a­tion of mov­ing from one dodging pos­i­tion to anoth­er and of “lead­ing” and “lying”.
  5. There are three occa­sions when a bell, oth­er than the treble, passes from one group to the other. 
    1. When the treble itself moves from one group to the oth­er, a bell from the oth­er group must move in the oppos­ite direction;
    2. When the treble leads or lies, the two bells that are in 4–5 swap places.

And that’s it. Now you under­stand how Bris­tol Sur­prise Major works.

Before mov­ing on, an explan­a­tion or cla­ri­fic­a­tion of the words mov­ing from one dodging pos­i­tion to anoth­er. The treble dodges 1–2 up, and then moves to dodge 3–4 up, and then to dodge 5–6 up. The four strokes when it is in 3–4 are one dodging pos­i­tion, and the four strokes when it is in 5–6 are the next dodging pos­i­tion. The point at which the treble moves from one dodging pos­i­tion to the next is called a cross-sec­tion.

At the lead-end and the half-lead, the meth­od is sym­met­ric as the treble leads or lies at the back, and so the plain-hunt­ing bells do not change dir­ec­tion. The treble is con­sidered to be in the same dodging pos­i­tion (1–2) all the time that it is dodging 1–2 down, lead­ing, and dodging 1–2 up at the front, and sim­il­arly in the 7–8 dodging pos­i­tion all the time that it is dodging 7–8 up, lying, and dodging 7–8 down at the back. Express­ing that slightly dif­fer­ently, at the front and back, the treble spends eight strokes in the same dodging pos­i­tion: eight strokes in 1–2 (when it is dodging 1–2 down, lead­ing, and dodging 1–2 up); and eight strokes in 7–8 (when it is dodging 7–8 up, lying, and dodging 7–8 down). So when the treble is at the front or the back, the bells that are respect­ively at the back or the front all plain hunt for eight blows before chan­ging dir­ec­tion. We’ll see this more clearly when we trace out the work of each bell.

It’s also worth not­ing that “lead­ing” and “lying” are in quo­ta­tion marks, because this term here includes lead­ing and lying with­in each group of four. So if while plain hunt­ing you are mak­ing two blows in fourth place this is included in “lying” because you are lying at the back of your group of four; and sim­il­arly if while plain hunt­ing you are mak­ing two blows in fifth place this is included in “lead­ing” because you are lead­ing your group of four.

With that intro­duc­tion, we can look at how the bells inter­act with each oth­er and with the treble.

(more…)

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