[r-t] Do you need a larger method?

Mark Davies mark at snowtiger.net
Wed Jan 12 18:53:18 UTC 2005

A lot of people get very worked up over the subject of method extension.
What tends to get forgotten is that methods at different stages are, well,
different. Yorkshire Royal has a clear relationship to Yorkshire Major, but
it isn't the same method. In general, there's no good relationship between
a given method at stage A and any other method at stage B.

It's natural to looks for extensions of methods, because it is nice when we
can spot a pattern, and ring methods at multiple stages with the same name
and the same "feel" to them. But, extensions don't really exist. When you
find an extension, all you're actually saying is, "I've found a rule which,
when applied to different numbers of bells, gives similar-looking methods".

Now, the rule that generates Yorkshire and Cambridge is fantastic - the
different stages of each method are clearly related very strongly; so
strongly that it is impossible to think of any other relationship which
would give anything like that feeling of "sameness". Similarly for Stedman,
Grandsire, Plain Bob. But these are special cases: probably because we ring
them so much, we are misled into thinking what might hold for them, should
hold for other methods.

The Methods Committee has over the years attempted to come up with many
schemes which basically enforce the type of relationship we are allowed to
use when we compare a method at one stage with another method at a higher
stage. On the one hand, this is a good thing - it prevents people calling
two totally different methods on different stages by the same name, which
would be confusing. But on the other hand, it's a bad thing, because why
should we be forced to pick just one type of relationship when considering
the nature and identity of methods?

To me, it's pointless to get bogged down in the technical detail of
extension systems without answering that last, fundamental philosophical


More information about the ringing-theory mailing list