[r-t] Re:[rt] Method focus: Alan Reading

Simon Reading simonreading at dsl.pipex.com
Mon May 16 05:47:39 UTC 2005

Firstly I would like to thank Philip Earis for taking the time to review 
my methods. There are however just one or two points I would like to make.
I agree that while Allwood's Delight is not the work of genius, the 
front work does produce reasonable music particularly with the right 
composition. Secondly, Samaritan is a shit method I agree but I was 
asked on this occasion to produce something simple rather than musical 
(although the two not need necessarily be mutually exclusive) as it was 
to be rung for a particular occasion. XXXB I agree is inferior to 
Cumberland row but was produced after discovering the latter had already 
been rung. Both Pen-y-Ghent and Tan Hill Delight I would defend on the 
grounds that the front work (while boring) does minimise the falseness 
and aid the production of 5678 / 6578 runs off the front (to my mind 
more significant than a random 4 bell run in the middle of the change). 
Shoesmith Hall while a better line and construction does introduce ac 
falseness which reduces musical potential considerably. Cross Fell is an 
interesting idea but actually did not go down very well at all with the 
rest of the band. Shame!
I think the Royal summary is good, but I would like to point out I did 
not actually invent Saltergate Delight but was just asked to produce the 
composition (I agree that Triton is a vastly better method). One bone of 
contention however "Titan is a dud, with an underwork straight out of a 
Rutland Royal variant. Or a Gus Warwick method. It's the stuff of 
nightmares. The overwork deserves better. If it has to be unsung, 
something like -5-4.5-5.36.4-7.58.6-4.7-4-1 perhaps?” I certainly do not 
agree with this. Titan received a lot of praise from those in the peal 
and is actually very musical. Perhaps Phillip has not realised that it 
produces 8 7890 runs off the front in the plain course, half of which 
come in the leads that are repeated by the home. The composition I 
called contained 116 7890 off the front in addition to a lot of little 
bell music. It's the stuff of dreams, and at least is not a trivial 
variation of BS10. Nether Edge, while being static, produced the music 
front and back and has quite an elegant line, I certainly do not think 
it is static enough to render worthless.
Thank you again Philip for the constructive comments made and I hope 
maybe others will ring my methods at some point.


Philip Earis wrote:

> Alan Reading is a name that has caught my eye over recent months. Aged 
> only 18, he has composed and conducted many peals of new major and 
> royal methods in the Sheffield area. I am assuming the new methods are 
> his creations, and thought it would be worthwhile to summarise and 
> review what he's produced in the past 12 months.
> Plain major:
> Cheers Bob Major (-4-, mx, 23 <4-runs>, rung 08/12/04)
> This is passable as plain mx major methods go: the double Norwich 
> overwork is great and as it needs to be, though the underwork is 
> workmanlike and suffers from 3rds at the half-lead (though it is 
> admittedly very constrained). Upton Imperial (-4- and 
> Hethersett (-4- are better mx methods with the same 
> overwork. Even better, stick to Double Coslany.
> Treble-dodging major:
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Name Notation Rung <4-runs>
> Cross Fell -34.5.6-7-1-2-3.4.56-7 e 11/05/05 BD 48
> JJLG -5-4.5-2.36.2-4.5-4-7 f 16/04/05 Bc 42
> Tan Hill -34.5.6-56-36-34-1-34-5 c 13/04/05 Da 34
> Great Shunner Fell -34-4-2-1-2-3.4.56-1 k 08/02/05 BD 56
> Millhouses 3-5.4-5-6-4-5-34-7 a 15/12/04 Bc 30
> Moonshine 3-5.4-5-6-34-3.6-2.7 a 13/11/04 Bc 43
> Carol 3-5.4-5-6-4-45-4-7 a 17/10/04 Bc 32
> Whernside Delight 3-5.4-5-1.34-34.5.4-6.7 f 12/10/04 Bc 34
> Pen-y-ghent Delight -3-4-2.5.6-2-1-2-5 a 11/08/04 BD 42
> Samaritan Surprise -34-4-5-36-4-25-4-3 mx 24/07/04 DNce 32
> XXXB Surprise 3-5.4-5-36.2-4.3-2-5 c 09/06/04 Bc 29
> Allwood's Delight 3-56.4-56-8-2-25-4-5 a 15/04/04 Bac 23
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> I'll take the treble-dodging major methods in chronlogical order. 
> Allwood's delight was a big disappointment. I'm a fan of the overwork, 
> which has a very visually appealing grid. It is used to great effect 
> in Tellurium Surprise (also 'a' group, first rung 1983), which employs 
> the Cornwall underwork to give music based on a coursing four hunting. 
> Allwood's delight (also a trivial variant of Ewhurst Castle) does not 
> come close in terms of elegance or music.
> Samaritan surprise is no better. A mx method with DN falseness, the 
> underwork conspires to completely avoid music. I'm not sure what the 
> method was trying to achieve, but it's a bit of a dud. I'd rather ring 
> Lincolnshire.
> Fortunately things pick up with the next method, XXXB surprise. This 
> is is first of five new methods beginning 3-5.4, four of them having 
> the Sussex overwork, and all with just Bc falseness. XXXB is pleasant 
> enough: quite neat and tidy if a litle static on the front. However, 
> on inspection it appears to be the distinctly poorer cousin of the 
> much better and similar David Hull method Cumberland Row 
> (3-5.4-5-36.2-4.3.2-6.7), first rung six months before XXXB.
> Whernside is more fluid and a fairly decent method: probably the pick 
> of the bunch. It demonstrates that f group methods with this overwork 
> can be good and distribute the music over the treble, unlike f-group 
> Cambridge-over methods. It also has regualar half-lead-ends, with the 
> added bonus of a hand -> back wrap of rounds in the final lead of the 
> plain course.
> Carol is beautifully simple, and good. It is almost-Ditchling (16 
> instead of 36) under, and gets the music when the treble's at the back 
> without actually having regular half-lead ends/heads. If you can have 
> almost-Ditchling under, you can also have almost-Lancashire and 
> almost-Bristol under. The Bristol has three consecutive blows, but the 
> Lancashire under works like a dream. It is called Crayford 
> (3-5.4-5-6-4-5.4-4.7), and first rung in 1935. There has been one peal 
> of it in the past 20 years. Why do people keep trying to reinvent the 
> wheel? Though I guess you could argue that Crayford is just a varient 
> of Lancashire, which is just a varient of Bristol. As long as 
> everything comes back to Bristol, I'm happy.
> Millhouses is another inferior variation on the theme; with -34-7 
> round the half-lead it keeps pairs together a bit long, and suffers 
> rather than benefits from a 5-pull dodge on the front. Moonshine packs 
> more raw music than Whernside with a respectable 43 <4-runs>, though 
> at the expense of elegance. The 2.7.2 round the half-lead is a bit of 
> a sledgehammer.
> As Alan's clearly a fan of the Sussex overwork, I'd recommend he looks 
> into using it as the basis for a double method...this can be made 
> regular in 3-5.4-5-2367-4-5.4-6.7 . Note that beautiful single change 
> at the symmetry-point: reminds me on Anglia cyclic. I just thought I'd 
> better check it hasn't been rung before, and I'm amazed and gutted to 
> find that it has: Skywalker surprise major, rung on 15.5.2002 at York, 
> St Laurence (coincidentally only days after Anglia cyclic was first 
> conceived!). This has the hallmarks of that Hull chap. Sometimes I 
> think all the best ideas on eight have been taken.
> Of the other methods, Tan Hill is a respectable method with a new 
> overwork that doesn't have too much wrong with it. The underwork is 
> underwhelming though, and the method generally is hardly a huge 
> improvement on any of the many similar rung methods. More more raw 
> music is possible with the same overwork, though normally at the 
> expense of fluidity. The unrung -34.5.6-56-36-34-5-56-7 is quite nice 
> if you like wading through treacle.
> Pen-y-ghent has the standard Phobos overwork, though the 2nds place 
> leadend makes it 'a' group, and consequently a slow process cycling 
> through the music in the course. As I've said in a previous email, 
> Shoesmith Hall (-3-4-, rung October 2004) is a better 
> method on the same plan.
> Three to go. Great Shunner Fell uses the Yorkshire delight overwork 
> (first rung 1808), together with a quite good underwork. The result is 
> decent, leading to a high score of 56 <4-runs>. Yorkshire delight 
> major (-34-4-2-1-1234-1-1234-1) is a bit of a curiosity, being rung so 
> early, containing double changes and pivoting like Oxford TB. It's 
> possible to tweak it so give it music: -34-4-2-6-234-2345-23456-1 is a 
> (unrung!) mx method with a huge 72 <4-runs> in the plain course, all 
> for just the minimum BD falseness. Just look at the elegant 
> progression of notation towards the half-lead. Some day things like 
> this will come back into fashion.
> When I first looked at JJLG I liked the notation, which is one change 
> away from making the method double. On the assumption that Bristol is 
> better than Premier, I thought a 18 halfleaf/leadend combo would be an 
> improvement. On checking, this has already been rung, namely 
> Bouchavesnes, rung in 1988 at Bushey. JJLG is therefore another 
> trivial varient. Mickelgate bar is a further varient on the theme - it 
> looks like David Hull (that name again) is guilty on occasion too.
> But when all was looking lost, along comes Cross Fell. This is a 
> little gem. Sent up with the footnote "Believed to be the first peal 
> in a method in which all the bells (including the treble) pass 2-8 in 
> reverse coursing order throughout", it's always good to see new 
> innovative double methods. Half of the lead is pure Ebeneezer, one of 
> the neatest of the new methods from the 'standard 100' (surfleet minor 
> on the front four with the 2nd as the treble). I could happily ring a 
> peal of this.
> So in summary, lots of the methods are pretty reasonable on a 
> stand-alone basis, and definitely show talent, and with Cross Fell 
> displaying neat design and innovation. Sadly there are a number of 
> inferior trivial variations of existing methods. Treble-dodging major 
> is a well-ploughed field, and a bit of research would be prudent when 
> designing further examples. Quality is more important than quantity 
> for new methods.
> Treble-dodging royal:
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Name Notation Rung <4-runs>
> Saltergate 3-3.4-2-1-2-5-6-1.56-58.9 f 08/05/05 80
> Nether Edge 3-5.4-5-36-2-5-6-7.6-56.7 a 30/04/05 99
> Monkhill -3-4-2-3.4-2.5.6-6.5.4-4.9 b 12/03/05 118
> Hangingwater -5-4.5-7.36-7.4.58-4-7-8-7 k1 19/02/05 105
> Titan -5-4.5-5.36-4.7.58-6-1-58-5 j1 15/01/05 79
> Pale Rider 3-5.4-5-3-2-1-6-7.6-78.1 e 05/09/04 111
> Ringinglow 34-5.4-5-3.4-7.58.6-6.7.6-2.9 l 04/07/04 101
> Flash 3-5.4-5-3-2.7.58-56-7-8-7 f 22/05/04 118
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Alan's new royal methods are summarised above. I'm rapidly losing the 
> will to stay awake, so won't write much more.
> Saltergate is London over, with a three-pull dodge around the 
> half-lead on the front to give a coursing four reversed. Passable 
> method, but doesn't come close to Triton in terms of music.
> Nether Edge is a bit too static to make it worthwhile.
> I do like Monkhill, though. It's got a fairly standard overwork giving 
> it a b-group structure, but with hunting on the front four around the 
> half-lead. Similarly Hangingwater is a pretty good method, though it's 
> not Bristol.
> Titan is a dud, with an underwork straight out of a Rutland Royal 
> varient. Or a Gus Warwick method. It's the stuff of nightmares. The 
> overwork deserves better. If it has to be unrung, something like 
> -5-4.5-5.36.4-7.58.6-4.7-4-1 perhaps?
> Pale Rider and Flash both have the favoured 3-5.4 start. Flash suffers 
> from being too static, though Pale Rider effectively uses hunting to 
> points to produce the music. This is a well-crafted example.
> The Royal methods show more skill and imagination than the major 
> offerings. Watch this boy - I think he could make a mark in years to 
> come.
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