[r-t] A Review of Diary Compositions

Don Morrison dfmorrison at gmail.com
Wed Nov 24 20:19:43 UTC 2004

It's not clear to me that this thread is really the sort of thing
Philip had in mind for "theory," but as it was started here I guess
I'll reply to it here, too, until he tells us to take it elsewhere.

I was part of the group (the then members of the CC Peals Compositions
Committee) that discussed the contents of these pages a few years ago
when they were last updated (other than some minor error corrections
since), and can shed some light on the goals of the time. Even worse,
I was personally responsible for two small errors introduced at that
time, now fixed.

The primary goal is almost simplicity, but not quite. It's really
"things that would be easy to look up at the last minute when you need
something, having met short or whatever." So while simplicity is a big
part of that, "familiar" is another big part of it. It was *not*
intended to be a source of compositions for new or inexperienced
conductors -- rather for conductors desperately looking for something
familiar at the last minute.

While some of us were keen to replace some of the more old-fashioned
compositions with equally simple but more modern ones, the consensus
seemed to be in favor of keeping more of the old warhorses, in the
belief that they would be more useful for people refreshing their
memories at the last minute.

As to the Kent Royal, it (as well as the Kent Major) was chosen
largely in the belief that it is a method far more likely to be rung
in hand than on tower bells. Personally there are particularly
handbell friendly compositions of Kent Royal I like better, but I
think that was thought to be the most familiar to the largest number
of conductors.

Things like Orion and Rigel were deliberately not included based on
the argument that it would be most unlikely to show up for a peal
missing someone, and thus have to "fall back" to such a method. There
was some spirited argument about whether to include any twelve bell
compositions at all!

While obviously too late to update the peals for the 2005 Diary, it
would likely be possible to update them again for 2006. So this thread
is a useful contribution to thinking about what folks would like to
see in the Diary. I will ensure this information does get back to the
appropriate folks on the Ringing World Board, and to the Peal
Compositions Committee to whom they would likely look again for

Don Morrison <dfm at mv.com>

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