[r-t] A Review of Diary Compositions

Mark Davies mark at snowtiger.net
Tue Nov 23 21:24:51 UTC 2004

Glint writes,

> But what IS the point of the compositions in the diary? I was under
> the impression that they were there for simplicity and ease of looking
> up and calling - I don't think you can argue that they meet that
> requirement.

"Fail to meet", presumably?

I agree with you that Diary compositions have to be first and foremost
simple to look up and learn, so that if necessary you could do that in the
tower when, for instance, arrangements for a peal change at the last minute.

However, simple doesn't have to be unmusical. There are numerous cases in
the Diary where superior compositions exist which are actually simpler to
learn and call. Note that I am using "superior" in the sense "more modern in
its musical ideas". Here are some examples:

8-spliced: replace N Smith 6-part with DFM 12-part, or indeed DFM 6-part.

Lincolnshire Major: GACJ 6-part preferrable to either of the Diary

Yorkshire Major: Humphrey's 3-part much simpler than Starbuck's; or, better,
my 3-part is slightly simpler and much more musical.

London No.3: Hull Fluke arrangement as simple and more musical.

Grandsire Caters: My four-part is simpler.

Stedman Cinques: DEH has better, simpler arrangements.

Bristol Max: Pipe jnr 2-part as simple and infinitely better than Blagrove.

For pretty much every composition in the diary (apart possibly from the
Triples) you can find a superior arrangement that is just as easy, if not

> The diary is a good source of easy compositions for inexperienced
> conductors ringing with inexperienced bands - which I guess relates
> to the majority of the ringers out there.

I disagree with this. The Diary is not, on the whole, a good source of
compositions for this use. Why should inexperienced bands have poor
compositions? For a start, often the most musical compositions are the
simplest. If I were ringing a method for the first time, and the composer
chose one of the more dreadful Diary arrangements, I think I'd be put off
that method for life. Surely not a good thing.

So, r-t reader, what would YOU like to see in the Diary for next year, and


More information about the ringing-theory mailing list