Thinking allowed

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.

First, what does it mean for the 5th and 2nd place bells? The work of the 5th-place bell is the same as in Cam­bridge until it passes the treble as it comes away from the back, but it then dodges in the highest intern­al dodging pos­i­tion — (n‑3)-(n‑2), e.g. 5–6 in Major. This is the half-lead, when the treble is lying at the back; it adds anoth­er two dodges and then treble-bobs down to the front, pre­ced­ing the treble; at the lead end it makes 2nd place over the treble, becom­ing the 2nd-place bell, and treble-bobs down to the lead and then out to the highest intern­al pos­i­tion. A dodge there brings it to the half-lead, and it adds two more dodges before passing the treble and double-dodging up at the back, which puts it back out of phase with the treble.

In Major that looks like this, start­ing from the half-lead:


5-1treble is now off the back, so treble bob down in phase with the treble
51—— lead; then dodge up with the treble
12—— lead end: make 2nds place and become the 2

21—— con­tin­ue treble-bob­bing in phase by dodging down with the treble
—-21 half-lead end: add an extra two dodges and pass the treble

At the half-lead, when the treble is at the back, the bell about to start this work (the 5th-place bell) and the bell that has just fin­ished it (the 2nd-place bell) triple dodge with each oth­er in the pen­ul­tim­ate dodging pos­i­tion (5–6 in Major, 7–8 in Roy­al, 9–10 in Max­imus, and so on) whilst the treble is dodging up and down above them in the top­most dodging pos­i­tion. The 2pb is wait­ing for the treble to come off the back so that it can go out; and the 5pb is wait­ing for the treble so that it can treble-bob hunt down below it.

As already noted, everything else in York­shire is a con­sequence of this change.

Next, let’s con­sider one small but import­ant point. 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’.

And third, let’s look at what hap­pens when one of the oth­er bells meets the in-phase bell.

We’ve already noted, that when a bell that is out of phase meets an in-phase bell, it must do the same as it has to do when it meets the treble: either pass it or else put itself in phase to dodge with it.

And this will hap­pen imme­di­ately adja­cent to meet­ing the treble (before or after meet­ing the treble, depend­ing on wheth­er the bell is hunt­ing up or down).

This means that if we are doing, say, places down, then after dodging with the treble we can­not just make places and dodge again, as we would in Cam­bridge, but instead we must hunt past the in-phase bell. And con­versely, if we hunted past the treble, then we will imme­di­ately encounter the in-phase bell and must dodge with it, and then make places to get back out of phase.

Sim­il­arly, if we are going in the oth­er dir­ec­tion we will hunt up past the in-phase bell and imme­di­ately dodge with the treble, and then make places to get back in phase and dodge again; or if we dodge up with a bell and find the in-phase bell above us then places must be made before dodging with the in-phase bell and then plain-hunt­ing past the treble to get back out of phase.

This is why York­shire places are not sym­met­ric about the treble (as Cam­bridge places are) but are pre­ceded or fol­lowed by a missed dodge. And it’s why York­shire places don’t always involve a dodge with the treble, because they are also made with the in-phase bells.

We look below at the details of this for the 4th and 8th place bells of York­shire Sur­prise Major, as they meet the in-phase bells and the treble. The 7th and 6th place bells are respect­ively the mir­rors of these.

There are some oth­er con­sequences of this. When learn­ing York­shire after Cam­bridge, it is com­mon to con­sider the Cam­bridge front­work (either side of mak­ing 2nds place over the treble at the lead end) as divided in two and assigned to the 8th and the 6th place bells. But it is bet­ter, in York­shire, to con­sider it as York­shire places up or down in 1–2 rather than as half the Cam­bridge frontwork.

We can then see that York­shire places are made altern­ately up and down. This begins with the work of the 6th place bell, where all the up places include a dodge with the treble, but all the down places involve a dodge with the in-phase bell. In Major the work is: the low­est set of places down, in 1–2 with the in-phase bell, then 5–6 places up with the treble, 3–4 places down with the in-phase bell, and finally 3–4 places up with the treble, becom­ing the 3rd place bell. Each of these sets of York­shire places is pre­ceded by a missed dodge, where you pass the treble if you’re going down, and the in-phase bell if you’re going up.

After doing the back­work as 3rd place bell you become the 4th place bell, begin­ning imme­di­ately with 3–4 places down with the treble, 3–4 places up with the in-phase bell, 5–6 places down with the treble and 1–2 places up with the in-phase bell. Each set of places is fol­lowed by a missed dodge where you pass the treble or the in-phase bell. The work ends with a 5–6 up dodge, becom­ing the 5th place bell.

This can be gen­er­al­ized to high­er num­bers of bells. Begin­ning with the 6th place bell, places down are with the in-phase bell, start­ing in 1–2 down and mov­ing one dodging pos­i­tion high­er and earli­er each we come down to the front: so 1–2 down the first time, then 3–4 down, then 5–6 down etc. Between each of these places down we have to do places up with the treble, begin­ning in the highest intern­al pos­i­tion (5–6 in Major, 7–8 in Roy­al, 9–10 in Max­imus, and so on) and mov­ing one dodging pos­i­tion lower and earli­er each time we leave the front, fin­ish­ing with 3–4 places up.

We can look in more detail at how a couple of bells in York­shire Sur­prise Major meet the in-phase bells. The 4th place bell, and then the 8th, are suf­fi­cient to show what is going on. First the 4th place bell:


214—– 4 meets the treble so does places and dodges with treble (York­shire places in 3–4 down)
‑241—- 4 com­pletes the dodge with the treble and meets the 2, so passes it, miss­ing a dodge in 1–2 down
-42-1which puts it back out of phase, so it can treble bob with the oth­er out-of-phase bells
4-2-14 starts treble-bob­bing up, from 1–2
4-251- 4 dodges in 3–4
4521- 4 encoun­ters the 5 above it (the in-phase bell)
425-1 so makes places and dodges up with it (York­shire places in 3–4 up)
‑5-14hav­ing dodged with the in-phase 5, 4 meets the treble and plain hunts past it
‑5-14- which puts 4 back out of phase, so it resumes treble-bob­bing with the oth­er bells
15—–4 4 becomes the 8th place bell

And con­tinu­ing as the 8th place bell:


21—-8- 8 goes down to 5–6 and dodges
‑2-18where it encoun­ters the treble, so make places and dodge with the treble (York­shire places in 5–6 down)
—281hav­ing dodged with the treble, 8 encoun­ters the 2 (treble-bob­bing up in phase)
8251- so passes it, miss­ing a dodge, which puts it back out of phase
-8–251- 8 resumes out-of-phase treble-bob­bing, dodging 1–2 down
8—25-1 8 dodges 1–2 up
-85-1and meets the in-phase 5
-8-5-1so makes places (2nds, 1st)
8-5-1to get into phase with the 5
85-1—- and dodges with the in-phase 5 (York­shire places in 1–2 up)
581—– 8 meets the treble so hunts past it, miss­ing the dodge in 3–4 to get back out of phase
5188 resumes treble-bob­bing out of phase
15–88 becomes the 5th place bell

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