[r-t] Some good observations from Marky D

Mark Davies mark at snowtiger.net
Mon Nov 22 18:41:54 UTC 2004

Chris writes,

> why on Earth would one want to use 123456 calls (they're your
> big singles aren't they Mark?!)  Surely that's like one of the most
> inelegant hammers cracking a very small nut

Yes, I call them big singles because it's a nice name and it's fun to call
out... not because they really are singles. They've been called "Bingles"
and "Jingles" before now, but somehow that just sounds silly when you're
calling. With a bit of drawn-out bombast behind the "big", a "biiii-iiig
single" sounds great.

However I agree, they are a most unsubtle way of getting music from a
composition, and I certainly wouldn't be in favour of using them everywhere.
But there are some occasions where a big single is just the job. How about:

1. A quarter-peal of Surprise Max. Two and a half courses is not enough time
to get from the plain course to a worthwhile selection of the different
musical coursing orders you might expect to encounter in a peal length. Most
quarters of S Max force the band to ring mostly "duffer" transitional
courses. With more types of call you can cut the crap out and ring good
stuff. For instance in one of my comps for Y12 you get 11 leads plain
course, 8 leads 64235, 5 leads 35642, 3 leads 42356 (and that's the right 3
leads to get the incidental rollups, oh yes). It has four types of call, but
the results are fabulous - no duffer leads at all. Why should quarter-peal
ringers get worse compositions than peal ringers?

2. Even in a peal length of Maximus, the linkage is not always quite good
enough with bobs and singles. Yes, you can get some good stuff out, but
unavoidably you will have some duffer transitions too. Getting the best
composition is all about linkage - if the linkage isn't good enough, the
composition won't be optimal. The best compositions of Maximus with bobs,
singles and big singles are better (in the sense of having more music) than
the best compositions with standard calls alone.

It's not true that a big single has to be unsubtle, either. Take this
example of Lincolnshire Max. The calling fragment given below is superb in
the way it rapidly links LB5 courses without repeated hand/back 123456 or
165432 rows, whilst also generating unexpected sets of LB4 runs off the
front in close promixity:

          62345  H
          24653  M W
          63542  M xH
          35642  W

I've called something similar and the band loved it.

3. Finally, what if you fancy a change. Ringing a new type of call is quite
good fun, and can spice up an otherwise dull peal attempt. Why should we
keeping ringing the same old stuff? Perhaps it might sound really nice to
end a peal like so:


Don't know till you try it, do you?

Despite the above, the case for big singles is probably still out to jury.
However, in the case of big bobs, I don't think it is any more. As Chris has
pointed out, they are just the analog of Befores in Major. Looking back at
the evolution of b-group Surprise Maximus ringing, I think the following
compositional watersheds have now all been passed:

Phase One. Bobs only. Ten whole courses.

Phase Two. Singles allow you to ring nine-and-a-half courses. Ringers
therefore decide singles are a good thing.

Phase Three. Composers discover singles provide better linkage, and that
means more music can be stuffed into a composition. Singles become accepted
as a general-purpose call.

Phase Four. Composers realise that ending with a snap is musically poorer
than round-block arrangements. Big bobs allow 9.5-course peals which are
still round blocks. Ringers decide big bobs are a good thing.

Phase Five. Composers realise big bobs provide better linkage...

They're good fun to ring, don't restrict the music of the changing bells at
the row they affect, and provide us with fabulous compositions. What's not
to like?


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