[r-t] Re: Extension, etc.

Robin Woolley robin at robinw.org.uk
Mon Nov 15 09:04:07 UTC 2004


There must be something wrong with the decisions if an experienced composer
and conductor such as Tony Cox can make such an elementary mistake with
respect to Anglia. (Or perhaps you might say it was wilful - along, of
course, with John Jelley's and Harry Poyner's mistake with the Chelsea

I can see the position you are trying to arrive at, but if you use the same
terminology as in previous decisions which had a given effect, you can't
complain if people interpret the words in the way they've usually been

How about (G)B7: 'wherever the parent has a place made immediately adjacent
to the path of a hunt bell, this characteristic must be retained in all
extensions, either in the same position or expanded appropriately in a later
position'. That's not quite perfect, but is much closer to what you are
trying to achieve. I did add notes of my own to the previous decisons.
Here's one. To (G)A2(e)(i), - "Wherever the parent has seconds place made,
this characteristic must be retained in all extensions.", I added "If the
last such place is found in position 'X' of the parent, then the first
possible extension route is EyX"

>5ths place moves to 7ths because it is an expanding extension.

Not totally correct of course - in penultimate place half-lead static
extension, there was a special dispensation for the half-lead to remain
static or expand at will in the 'last' (SFG in minor) extension path.
(Cambridge is a bad example because it is expanding below anyway, Tollesbury
would have been better: 3-34.1-2-23-2-23-2-7, a classical static extension
with half-lead expanding).

I plead guilty to having missed the indefinite extension proposal in
February- but sometimes there are more important things than ringing
occupying one's time.

Here are some (mathematical) reasons against it:
i) Whilst infinite families do exist, so do finite ones. Occasionally, I'm
reminded about things I'd forgotten so, consider the Platonic Solids - just
five of them. Consider the Archimedean solids. These come in three types -
two infinite sets and a finite set of 13. Also, there are just seven frieze
patterns and 17 different wallpapers. Therefore, when the MC says "we
consider that existing extensions which only work for a single stage are
coincidences", I believe that the evidence shows that this belief is wrong.

ii) The MC says "in most cases an extension that works for two stages of
extension works for an indefinite number of stages". The fact that we have
been given one example of where it doesn't work suggests that there are
others - dare I suggest an uncountably finite set.

iii) Remember Godel's theorem. This means there is a set of methods, which I
could say are indefinitely extendible which it is impossible to disprove,
and vice versa. In other words, indefinite extension is generally impossible
to proves and, to paraphrase the MC's words "extensions which can be shown
to be indefinite are coincidences".

iv) Not mathematical - but against the sprit of ringing. We regularly visit
the village of Oxton - a 6 bells tower with a method named after it. There
is another Oxton with 10 bells. Suppose the denizens of that Oxton wished to
ring a 10-bell peal in an extension of the method and they correctly use the
formulae. Is it within the spirit of ringing to say, 'no, you can't ring
this extension because it's a 'one-off', but there's an extension which
starts at stage 30, then 54, etc..'? I don't believe that it is. (Recall
also that surprise has never been pealed above stage 20.)

In conclusion, (G)B1 is wrong philosophically, the suggested test is wrong
and is unprovable in a large set of cases.

The chief problem here is that there are very few who came close to
understanding decision (G) even in its earlier form. The MC has largely had
it their own way on this because there are so few who can argue against
them. It would be interesting to discover how few CC members understand even
the general priinciples - a guestimate is less than one sixth. (I can
understand the MC's reticence, having been forced to find rules for variable
cover which no one now wishes to ring, for example).

In a previous e-mail, I referred to a guide prepared by Roger Bailey
illustrating the 1992 decision, of which Roger himself seconded the
adoption. In the guide, he makes a (wilful?) error in describing the effect
(E)D4(b), the direct predecessor of (G)B1. He says: "...there could be two
candidates, Y Royal and Z Royal, both contending to be extensions of X
Major. In this case we have to try extending Y and Z further -- to Maximus,
14, 16 and so on -- using the same technique that we used to get to Y (or Z)
from X. If one extension technique seems to go on "for ever", as the
familiar extensions of Plain Bob, Kent or Cambridge do, then this is to be
chosen..." He doesn't mention that all possible extension paths at all
possible stages have to be inspected, as the decision was interpreted. He
seems to think it's just a tie-break for competing extensions at the next
lowest stage.

You ask "Where in the Decision does it mention counting backwards from the
half-lead". Hasn't it always been this way above the treble? Isn't this why
the old decision (G)A2(b) ('Static' above) was written the way it was? I
could ask "where in the decision does it say X, Y and Z?", but there's a lot
in the decisions which is left out. On this, remember the temporary
confusion about the extension of Warkworth. (Places made in 1-2 above the
treble become 3-4 in the extension).

If the conductor declined to rename Cawston, presumably the MC will
recommend the Council renaming under Decision (E)D4.

What, then, are my criticisms of the MC? In a sense, they are encapsulated
in a quote from Julius Caesar: "for he will never follow any thing that
other men begin." It can be as trivial as the usage by the MC of the
long-winded "EF mode-1 above the treble.." when 1EF/1FG has been adopted by
the rest of the ringing community. (I suggested this myself in the RW before
p917 - but I probably wasn't the first to suggest it).

Also, I feel that the MC is deliberately trying to make the decsions as
obscure as possible. If it's not deliberate, then I think I can see where
the problem has arisen. The MC probably start with a set of interpretations
which they then try to translate into decisions, with varying success! The
MC has taken a simple piece of advice and turned it into a difficult piece
of compulsion. No doubt, this is with a view to providing themnselves with
work, as a comment to the RW said. Do all of the MC understand their own
decisions -  without someone interpreting them for them?

Finally, I have decided that the use of the word wilful is rather
flattering. You can only wilfully misunderstand something if you understand
it in the first place, can't you?


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