Thinking allowed

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.

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Thinking about Yorkshire and Pudsey Surprise

I looked recently at the under­ly­ing struc­ture of Cam­bridge Sur­prise on any num­ber of bells (6 or more), and now I want to do the same with York­shire and Pud­sey Sur­prise on any num­ber (8 or more, since they are false on 6 bells, though still ringable as Yorkshire/Pudsey Block Delight Minor). This may well not dir­ectly help you to ring these meth­ods, espe­cially if you are just learn­ing them. But under­stand­ing the struc­ture of a meth­od helps you know why you’re doing what you are doing, and what oth­er bells are doing around you.

You might think Pud­sey is a slightly odd choice to include imme­di­ately after Cam­bridge, but there’s a good reas­on why. In many ways it is the com­ple­ment of York­shire: the changes each of these meth­ods make, com­pared with Cam­bridge, are essen­tially identic­al except that they are made in dif­fer­ent places.

The basic idea of York­shire and Pud­sey is sim­il­ar to Cam­bridge: the treble always treble-bob hunts in each dodging pos­i­tion (1–2, 3–4, 5–6, 7–8, etc); and wherever pos­sible the oth­er bells treble-bob hunt, but out of phase with the treble.

(See the art­icle on Cam­bridge struc­ture for a remind­er of what it means to treble-bob hunt either in phase or out of phase with the treble.)

But York­shire and Pud­sey each make one addi­tion­al change to Cam­bridge. In each of them there is one bell that treble-bob hunts in phase with and adja­cent to the treble, and the oth­er bells have to deal with that bell as well as with the treble. The two meth­ods dif­fer only in which bell is in phase with the treble, and there­fore in which places the extra adjust­ments must be made.

In Pud­sey, it is the 3rd-place bell, which treble-bobs up to the back, dodging down with the treble and mak­ing places under the treble at the half-lead, and then dodging up with the treble and back down. Except when dodging with the treble at the back it is always one dodging pos­i­tion high­er than the treble.

In York­shire, con­versely, a bell treble-bobs down to the front, dodges up with the treble and makes 2nds place, and then dodges down with the treble and treble bobs out to the back. This bell treble bobs one dodging pos­i­tion lower than the treble. Where­as in Pud­sey the work begins and ends when the treble is at the front, in York­shire it begins and ends when the treble is at the back, i.e. from the half-lead to the next half lead, and begins as the work of the 5th-place bell, which becomes the 2nd-place bell at the lead-end in the middle of this piece of work.

York­shire     Pud­sey
half-lead end -----5-1 1-3----- lead end
----5-1- -1-3----
-----5-1 1-3-----
----5-1- -1-3----
treble-bobs down to the front ---5-1-- --1-3--- treble-bobs out to the back
--5-1--- ---1-3--
---5-1-- --1-3---
--5-1--- ---1-3--
-5-1---- ----1-3-
5-1----- -----1-3
-5-1---- ----1-3-
5-1----- -----1-3
51------ ------13
15------ ------31
where it dodges with the treble 51------ ------13 where it dodges with the treble
15------ ------31
makes 2nd place over the treble 12------ ------31 makes (n‑1)th place under the treble
21------ ------13
and dodges down with the treble 12------ ------31 and dodges up with the treble
21------ ------13
2-1----- -----1-3
and treble bobs out -2-1---- ----1-3- and treble bobs down
2-1----- -----1-3
-2-1---- ----1-3-
--2-1--- ---1-3--
---2-1-- --1-3---
--2-1--- ---1-3--
---2-1-- --1-3---
----2-1- -1-3----
-----2-1 1-3-----
----2-1- -1-3----
-----2-1 1-3-----
----2--1 1--3----

These two pieces of work are mir­ror images of each other.

Next, let’s con­sider one small but import­ant point. In York­shire, the bell treble-bob­bing in phase with the treble is below the treble. The oth­er bells must change their beha­viour (com­pared with Cam­bridge) whenev­er they meet this bell, and by defin­i­tion that can only hap­pen below the treble, since that’s where this in-phase treble bob­bing hap­pens. Whenev­er a bell is above the treble it behaves in exactly the same fash­ion as it would in Cam­bridge. That’s why York­shire is “Cam­bridge above the treble”.

In Pud­sey, on the oth­er hand, the bell treble-bob­bing in-phase with the treble is above the treble. The oth­er bells must adjust their beha­viour when they meet this bell above the treble, so the changes from Cam­bridge occur above the treble, but below the treble Pud­sey is the same as Cambridge.

Now let’s turn to the oth­er bells. They are try­ing to treble-bob out of phase, so when they encounter these two bells (the treble and the bell in-phase with the treble) then they must adapt their work.

Because the two bells are in adja­cent pos­i­tions, we will dodge with one and plain hunt past the oth­er, though which of these comes first depends on where we meet them. And in addi­tion, we must also make places adja­cent to the dodge to switch phase.

There are two possibilities.

We can either plain hunt past a bell, dodge with the oth­er, and then make places and (now back out of phase) dodge again. Or else we do the oppos­ite of this: after dodging out of phase, we make places to get in phase, dodge with one of the in-phase bells and then plain hunt past the other.

Which we do depends on wheth­er we have already dodged when we meet the first of the two bells.

If we meet the first of the two bells after we have dodged, then they have not yet dodged, so we must make places to wait for them, dodge, and then pass through the next dodging pos­i­tion to get back out of phase, and then resume out-of-phase treble bob­bing. (In the fol­low­ing dia­grams the treble and the in-phase bell are labelled p and q; in Pud­sey p is the treble and q the in-phase bell; in York­shire p is the in-phase bell and q is the treble.)

when going down
to the front
when going out
to the back
p-q--x-- --x--p-q
-p-qx--- ---xp-q-
p-q-x--- ---x-p-q
-p-q-x-- --x-p-q-
--p-qx-- --xp-q--
---pxq-- --pxq---
--p-qx-- --xp-q--
---pxq-- --pxq---
---xp-q- -p-qx---
--x--p-q p-q--x--
-x--p-q- -p-q--x-
x----p-q p-q----x
-x----pq pq----x-
x-----qp qp-----x
Altern­at­ively, if we meet the two bells before we have dodged, then they have already dodged and one of them is about to come into our cur­rent pos­i­tion so we must miss a dodge and go straight on to dodge with the oth­er one, and hav­ing done so, make places to get back out of phase and resume out-of-phase treble-bobbing:
p-q--x-- --x--p-q
-p-qx--- ---xp-q-
--pxq--- ---pxq--
--xp-q-- --p-qx--
--pxq--- ---pxq--
--xp-q-- --p-qx--
--x-p-q- -p-q-x--
---x-p-q p-q-x---
---xp-q- -p-qx---
--x--p-q p-q--x--
---x--pq pq--x---
--x---qp qp---x--

There’s one more detail before we have enough inform­a­tion to under­stand each of these meth­ods. If we are about to meet the treble or in-phase bell at the back, when we are in the top­most dodging pos­i­tion, then rather than miss­ing a dodge or mak­ing places to get in phase we add an extra dodge. We’ve already seen this in Cam­bridge when we were about to meet the treble and we were at the back. York­shire here is identic­al to Cam­bridge (because we are above the treble), but in Pud­sey this also applies when meet­ing the in-phase bell, so we must do these double dodges when about to meet that bell. And because the meth­od is sym­met­ric­al, when we said “about to meet”, the same applies when “reach­ing the back hav­ing just met”, as it does in Cambridge.

In the full art­icle, we’ll look at the details of York­shire, then at Pud­sey, and then do a final com­par­is­on of the two methods.

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Thinking about Yorkshire Surprise

I looked recently at the under­ly­ing struc­ture of Cam­bridge Sur­prise on any num­ber of bells (6 or more), and now I want to do the same with York­shire Sur­prise on any num­ber (8 or more, since it is false on 6 bells).

The basic idea of York­shire is sim­il­ar to Cam­bridge: the treble always treble-bob hunts in each dodging pos­i­tion (1–2, 3–4, 5–6, 7–8, etc), and wherever pos­sible the oth­er bells treble-bob hunt, but out of phase with the treble.

(See the art­icle on Cam­bridge struc­ture for a remind­er of what it means to treble-bob hunt either in phase or out of phase with the treble.)

In York­shire there is an excep­tion to this out-of-phase treble bob­bing: start­ing when the treble is dodging at the back, one of the bells treble-bobs in phase with the treble and one dodging pos­i­tion below it, mak­ing 2nd place over the treble at the lead-end, and con­tinu­ing in phase until the treble reaches the back again.

Everything else in York­shire is a con­sequence of this change from Cambridge.

The bell that starts doing this in-phase treble bob­bing is the 5th-place bell, from the half-lead when it has passed the treble at the back, and con­tinu­ing as the 2nd-place bell until the half-lead as it approaches the back. For brev­ity, I call this piece of work the in-phase bell, because it is treble-bob hunt­ing in phase with the treble. (This isn’t a short­hand I have come across else­where, but it is a con­veni­ent term.)

Because the treble and the in-phase bell are in adja­cent dodging pos­i­tions, the oth­er bells meet the in-phase bell imme­di­ately before or imme­di­ately after meet­ing the treble, They must either pass it or dodge with it, just as they do with the treble.

Remem­ber that in Cam­bridge places a bell dodges with the treble in the middle of the work, mak­ing places either side of that dodge in order first to get in phase with the treble, and then to get back out of phase. But in York­shire there is imme­di­ately anoth­er in-phase bell to deal with: so if we have dodged with the treble we must cur­tail Cam­bridge places to pass the in-phase bell. Or altern­at­ively, if it’s the treble that is passed, then we must dodge with the in-phase bell and make places to change phase. This changes Cam­bridge places into York­shire places and also adds them in pos­i­tions where in Cam­bridge you just plain hunt past the treble.

Let’s see what that means in practice.

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Looking at Cambridge Surprise (again)

I’ve been ringing Cam­bridge Sur­prise for quite a few years now. I began with Minor (in 2005), learn­ing the vari­ous pieces of work by rote. Then when I could do that I moved on to Major (in 2006), again, learn­ing by rote the bits that were dif­fer­ent from Minor. Then I got to the point that I could barely remem­ber how to ring Minor, because I always for­got which bits of Major to leave out. I’ve got over that too, and recently have begun to ring Minor a bit more, because we have ringers who have moved on to learn­ing it.

All of which sparked an interest in learn­ing Cam­bridge Sur­prise Roy­al, i.e. on 10 bells. (Ringing it would be a rather dif­fer­ent mat­ter as I’m not a ten-bell ringer, and although I have rung Caters a hand­ful of times, I’ve nev­er rung Roy­al. But I want to stick with the the­ory for a bit.)

So I looked up the blue line for Cam­bridge Sur­prise Roy­al, and in search­ing for it I came instead across descrip­tions of Cam­bridge, and I real­ized I had been miss­ing some­thing about Cam­bridge all these years. The sort of thing that makes me won­der wheth­er I could have learnt the meth­od in a much bet­ter way — rather than learn­ing sec­tions by rote, and then re-learn­ing it by place bells, instead learn­ing it and ringing it from first prin­ciples. Because the prin­ciple behind Cam­bridge, on any num­ber of bells, is quite simple.

Here it is:

  • the treble always treble-bob hunts from the front, out to the back where it lies behind and then treble-bob hunts down to the front again; and it does this over and over again, (n‑1) times in a plain course, where n is the num­ber of bells (6 for Minor, 8 for Major, 10 for Roy­al, etc).
  • each of the oth­er bells also treble-bob hunts, but it does so “out of phase” with the treble. This means that whenev­er it meets the treble, it must change its pat­tern of treble-bob hunt­ing to fit around the treble.

What do we mean by treble-bob hunt­ing “out of phase”, and what are the con­sequences of this?

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learning London Surprise Major

Hav­ing more or less suc­cess­fully rung a Plain course of Bris­tol Sur­prise Major last week­end, it’s time — like Dick Whit­ting­ton — to turn to Lon­don: Lon­don Sur­prise Major, that is. Lon­don is the last of the “stand­ard eight” Sur­prise Major meth­ods, and Cole­man describes it as the zenith of stand­ard sur­prise. But he also sug­gests that it is easi­er to learn than Bris­tol, and strongly recom­mends learn­ing it by place bells. Oth­er Lon­don web pages seem to agree, one sug­gest­ing learn­ing pairs of place bells togeth­er, as in each pair one is the mir­ror of the other.

The order of the place bells is the same as for Rut­land and Bris­tol: 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 6, 4; with the pairs being: 2 and 4, 3 and 6, and 5 and 8; while 7 is sym­met­ric about the half-lead end.

There are a few famil­i­ar pieces of work:

  • Sted­man whole turn, which occurs only on the front
  • fish­tails, which occur at the back (8–7‑8), and also both ways in 5–6 — 6–5‑6 and 5–6‑5
  • plain hunt­ing below the treble — but plain hunt­ing “wrong”, i.e., lead­ing with back­stroke then hand­stroke (“back and hand”) rather than hand­stroke then back­stroke (“hand and back”)
  • treble-bob hunt­ing above the treble, some­times “right” and some­times “wrong”

When you meet, or are about to meet, the treble you have to get back into phase with it, either to pass it, or to dodge with it. You do this by mak­ing a place, or by doing a Sted­man whole turn, or doing fishtails.

Anoth­er point to note is that the 4th-place bell and above all start in the oppos­ite dir­ec­tion com­pared with most meth­ods learned so far. So even bells (≥4) go out, and odd bells (>4) go in. The 8th-place bell strikes an extra blow at hand­stroke in 8th place before going down.

Oth­er than that it seems that the only way to learn this is by place bells, which we do in the full article.

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Bristol Surprise Major: the plain course and bobs

Armed with a con­tinu­ous blue line, as described in the pre­vi­ous post (but see also this later post), we can write this more com­pactly as a single lead:

12345678
21436587
12346857
21438675
24136857
42316587
24135678
42315768
24351786
23457168
32541786
35247168
53427618
35246781
32547618
23456781
24365871
42638517
46235871
64328517
46238157
42631875
24368157
23461875
32416857
23146587
32415678
23145768
21347586
12435768
21345678
12436587
14263857

We can also write out what hap­pens when “bob” is called. The front two bells are unaf­fected, and run in and out as in a plain course to become the 2nd and 3rd place bells. The bell in 4th place, which would have run out to 5th and become the 5th place bell, instead makes the 4th-place bob and becomes the 4th place bell. The bells above 4th place each dodge back one place, which brings them back to their start­ing pos­i­tions, so that they simply repeat the same lead as they have just done. Like this:

23145768
21347586
12435768
21345678 bob
12436587
14235678

The bob per­mutes the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place bells. If called at the end of each of the first three leads this will bring the touch back to rounds – three leads of Bristol.

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learning Bristol Surprise Major

[Edit: Although I learnt Bris­tol Sur­prise Major in the way described in this post, I sub­sequently figured it out in what is to me a much more con­veni­ent way. You may find it help­ful to read this post on the struc­ture of Bris­tol Sur­prise Major instead. I think it’s much sim­pler. You may or may not agree.]

It’s been a long time since I wrote here about learn­ing a Sur­prise Major meth­od. In the inter­ven­ing peri­od I’ve learnt to ring six such meth­ods: Cam­bridge, York­shire, Lin­colnshire, Super­lat­ive, Rut­land and Pud­sey. These are six of the so-called “Stand­ard Eight” Sur­prise Major meth­ods, and in many ways they are quite sim­il­ar to each oth­er — York­shire, Lin­colnshire, Super­lat­ive and Rut­land are all the same as Cam­bridge when you are above the treble [edit: this isn’t true of Super­lat­ive], and Pud­sey is the same as Cam­bridge when you are below the treble. The oth­er two SM meth­ods in this Eight are Bris­tol and Lon­don and they are dif­fer­ent from the oth­ers, and from each oth­er. Sev­er­al times I have sat down to learn Bris­tol, but not got very far. Time to put that right.

So I’ve spent an hour or so look­ing at the “blue line” for Bris­tol, as well as a couple of guides. From it I can see that:

  • Bris­tol is a double meth­od, so that once you have learnt a quarter of it you should know all of it
  • There are basic­ally three or four pieces of work that you need to learn in that quarter; I call these: 
    • the “front­work”, though you also do this at the back
    • “Sted­man” and “fish­tails”
    • “light­ning work”

I’ll look at each of these in turn.

First we’ll look at fish­tails. These are single blows where you reverse dir­ec­tion after each blow, so on the front it might be: lead, 2nd, lead, 2nd, lead:

x-
-x
x-
-x
x-

Next, the front­work. Bell 2’s work con­sists of doing half the front­work one way, and then mir­ror­ing it to do it the oth­er way:

  • dodge 1–2 down with the treble
  • lead right
  • fish­tails
  • lead wrong
  • out to point 4ths
  • lead right

and then do the same thing in the oppos­ite direction:

  • out to point 4ths
  • lead wrong
  • fish­tails
  • lead right
  • dodge 1–2 up with the treble

(And then, instead of mak­ing 2nd place over the treble, go out to 3rd place and become the 3rds place bell.)

Then there’s “Sted­man”. This is like a whole turn in Sted­man: lead two blows, point 2nd, lead two blows. As in Sted­man, one of the pairs of lead­ing will be right (i.e. hand­stroke fol­lowed by back­stroke), and one will be wrong (i.e. back­stroke fol­lowed by hand­stroke). But in Bris­tol this doesn’t just occur on the front. It’s also done in 4ths — 4th, 4th, 3rd, 4th, 4th. And because Bris­tol is a double meth­od it appears at the back (8th, 8th, 7th, 8th, 8th) and in 5th place (5th, 5th, 6th, 5th, 5th). Each of these pieces of work occur twice, once with the first two blows right and the last two wrong, and once with the first two wrong and the last two right.

Armed with this inform­a­tion we can write out what bell 3 does:

  • dodge 3–4 up
  • 4th place
  • dodge 3–4 down with the treble
  • an extra blow in 3rd place
  • Sted­man on the front
  • out to 4th place
  • Sted­man in 4th place (4th, 4th, 3rd, 4th, 4th)
  • plain hunt down to …
  • fish­tails on the front (2nd, lead, 2nd, lead, 2nd and out)
  • dodge 3–4 up
  • out to 5th and become 5ths place bell

We’re nearly there, and all that remains to do is to look at the “light­ning work”:

  • hunt out to the back
  • one blow only at the back, then turn around and
  • hunt down with
  • two blows in 5th place
  • two blows in 4th place
  • down to the lead
  • one blow only in the lead, then turn around and
  • hunt up to 6th place

This path crosses the treble as it does the places in 4th and 5th:

--x-----
---x----
----x---
-----x--
------x-
-------x
------x-
-----x--
----x---
---1x---
---x1---
---x----
--x-----
-x------
x-------
-x------
--x-----
---x----
----x---
-----x--

That cross­ing point is also one of the pivot points of the meth­od, i.e. the point where you move from doing things on the front to doing things on the back, or where the blue line rotates through 180 degrees.

Bell 5 begins with the light­ning work as described above (the first three blows in the dia­gram are of course the last three blows of bell 3’s work).

After this point we repeat the work already described, but as places from the back, rather than places from the front. This enables us to write out a com­plete plain course, as is shown in the full article.

(more…)

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Julie McDonnell Triples

Close watch­ers of the ringing ‘scene’ — or of Songs of Praise — will be aware that there is cur­rently a sig­ni­fic­ant fun­drais­ing exer­cise under­way, rais­ing mil­lions of pounds to fight leuk­emia — by ringing bells.

The cam­paign was begun by Julie McDon­nell, her­self a sur­viv­or and suf­fer­er from the dis­ease, and also a ringer. She set up a cam­paign called Strike Back Against Blood Can­cer and per­suaded some gen­er­ous spon­sors to donate money to the cam­paign whenev­er a quarter peal of the new meth­od (or meth­ods) is rung. The new meth­od is fit­tingly called “Julie McDon­nell” and exists for vari­ous num­bers of bells.

Last night at anoth­er tower’s prac­tice the tower cap­tain said she’d like to ring a quarter peal of Julie McDon­nell Triples at some point, and poin­ted to a blue line of the meth­od drawn on the tower white­board. After we had looked at it for a few minutes some of us had a go at ringing a plain course, which we did susc­cess­fully at the first attempt.

It’s a fairly simple meth­od, with “front­work” done by the 4 and the 2, and “back­work” done by the oth­er bells; and 3–4 dodges to trans­ition between “front­work” and “back­work”

Start­ing on the 4 do the “front­work” dodge 1–2 down, lead, make 2nds; dodge 1–2 down lead, make seconds, becom­ing the 2. Hav­ing made 2nds and become the 2, it’s lead, dodge 1–2 up, make 2nds, lead, dodge 1–2 up and out, dodging 3–4 up and becom­ing the 3. Or to sum­mar­ize the “front­work” slightly dif­fer­ently: (dodge 3–4 down), dodge down, lead, 2nds, dodge down, lead, 2nds, lead, dodge up, 2nds, lead, dodge up; (and dodge 3–4 up).

The “back­work” start­ing from the 3 is: lie, make 3rds, lie, make 3rds, lie, make 5ths, lie make 3rds, lie, make 3rds, lie, dodge 3–4 down becom­ing the 4. Or, tak­ing the lying and all the inter­ven­ing plain hunt­ing as impli­cit: 3rds, 3rds, 5ths, 3rds, 3rds.

The starts are:
2: in the middle of the frontwork
3: at the start of the backwork
4: at the start of the frontwork
5: has just made 5ths in the middle of the back­work; lie, 3rds, lie, become the 6
6: has nearly fin­ished the back­work, so down to 3rds, lie, then dodge 3–4 down 
7: has just done the first lot of 3rds; so lie one blow in 7ths, then 3rds, then 5ths

Bobs are the same as plain bob: 
About to make 2nds: run out and become the 3 so begin the backwork
About to dodge 3–4 down: run in and become the 2, so lead and do the second half of the frontwork
About to dodge 3–4 up: make 4ths place and become the 4, so turn round and entirely repeat the frontwork.

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singles in Stedman Doubles

On a good prac­tice night we have enough ringers able to ring Sted­man Doubles, and we are gradu­ally get­ting bet­ter at it, and more people are able to cope with singles so that we can ring an extent of 120 changes, rather than just a plain course of 60.

Singles in Sted­man Doubles seem to cause quite a bit of con­fu­sion. They also have a num­ber of nick­names or mne­mon­ics which aim to remind the ringer what to do. A com­mon pair of nick­names is “cat’s ears” and “coath­angers”, refer­ring to the actions taken by the two bells affected by the call. I could nev­er get used to these, espe­cially “coath­angers” and worked out my own way of deal­ing with singles.

The first thing to remem­ber is that Sted­man con­sists of three bells on the front which plain hunt for six blows, and then change dir­ec­tion, togeth­er with pairs of bells above third place which double dodge out to the back and then back down to the front again. In Sted­man Doubles the only double dodging is in 4–5 up and 4–5 down. And the import­ant thing to remem­ber is that a single affects only the pair of bells double-dodging in 4–5 up and down. The three bells on the front are entirely unaf­fected by the call.

The effect of a single is to swap two bells over, and in Sted­man Doubles it swaps over the two bells that are double-dodging 4–5 up and down. That’s really all you need to know. The ringer who star­ted out think­ing that they were going to double-dodge 4–5 up has to turn around swap places with the ringer who star­ted out think­ing they were going to double-dodge 4–5 down. And vice-versa.

Or to put that anoth­er way, if you are double-dodging 4–5 up and a single is called then you become the bell double-dodging 4–5 down. And if you are the bell double-dodging 4–5 down then you become the bell double-dodging 4–5 up. (Of course in both cases the double-dodges up and down are not really double-dodges because they are incom­plete, but we can gloss over that complexity.)

What does this mean in prac­tice? Let’s con­sider, first, the bell that would, if there were no single, double-dodge 4–5 up. The ringer will count their place some­thing like this:

  • fourth, fifth, fourth, fifth, fourth, fifth

and then they will lie at the back and double dodge 4–5 down.

Mean­while the ringer who would be double-dodging 4–5 down with them will count their place some­thing like this:

  • fifth, fourth, fifth, fourth, fifth, fourth

and then go down to the front, either as a quick bell or a slow bell.

The effect of the single is to swap the two bells over at the fourth stroke (a hand­stroke) of these six changes, so that the bell that starts dodging up ends up dodging down:

  • fourth, fifth, fourth, fourth, fifth, fourth

This bells is now dodging down, so it must next go down to the front.

Mean­while the bell that starts dodging down ends up dodging up

  • fifth, fourth, fifth, fifth, fourth, fifth

This bell is now dodging up, so it must lie in 5th place and double-dodge down before join­ing the front work, either as quick bell or as slow.

As for wheth­er you go in quick or slow: if you are affected by one single (or by an odd num­ber of singles) then you do the oppos­ite of what you would oth­er­wise have done. If you came out quick and would have gone in slow, then after a single you go in quick. Or if you came out slow and would have gone in quick, then instead you go in slow. (That’s because you have swapped places with the the oth­er bell, and it becomes the bell that does what you would have done, and you become the bell that does what it would have done!)

For me, this is where blue lines explain­ing the single — help­ful though blue lines gen­er­ally are — here just com­plic­ate mat­ters. In this instance I find it easi­er just to switch from ringing one place bell (4th’s place) to ringing anoth­er (5th’s). Or vice versa.

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