[r-t] Consecutive bells coursing

Philip Earis pje24 at cantab.net
Fri Feb 10 23:46:19 UTC 2006

I think some of the nicest ringing music possible is obtained with 
coursing-based methods (such as Plain Bob, Erin, Kent and Bristol) on higher 
numbers. You get a mesmerising effect, caused by the bells moving in unison 
and being in the same position relative to each other. This sounds super in 
the plain course, but I think it's even more effective when the bells are 
coursing in the tittums position, ie consecutive bells are coursing.

Now four consecutive bells coursing does not consititute tittums, however 
frequently Stedman ringers misuse the term. I'm talking about many (ideally 
all) the bells coursing.

Though it sounds absolutely fantastic (just listen to a course of Erin 15 on 
Abel with starting row 879605e4t3a2b1cd - you even get the added bonus of 
continual runs of 4 both ways off the front), this effect has hardly even 
been used. Whilst coursing orders 23456 and 765432 are fairly common, I know 
of of no compositions for treble-dodging methods on 12 bells or above which 
put the big bells into a 'big tittums' position.

Of course, calling three homes on (0et) in max will give you little bell 
music in conjuction with the te09 coursing order, but as I said before four 
consecutive coursing bells doesn't really constitute tittums.

As far as I'm aware, the only times big tittums has ever been used in a 
coursing-dominated method (ie one where it will sound fantastic) is in a few 
scattered handbell peals of Erin 13, 15 and 17.

So why don't people use the big tittums coursing orders?  Well conservatism 
may be one reason, but I guess also because it's not that easy to get the 
bells into the right coursing-order.  I'm not sure what the quickest way 
would be: an exercise for the reader, perhaps?

In recent years I've seen link methods to get into 'cyclic' courses, and 
even link methods to get into 'magnificent 6' courses. So why not link 
methods to get into (and out of) big tittums courses?

The more I think about separate distinct musical blocks of music linked 
together elegantly, the more I think this might be the future of ringing on 

So what would be the best linking block? Well, the very simplest would 
combine two of the earliest concepts in ringing, with 'plain changes' over 
the treble and plain hunt below it. The treble therefore simply passes the 
bells in the order 2,3,4,5 etc. On 10 bells, the notation would be:

Just look at the gorgeous way the notation shrinks over time as the method 
changes from being plain-change dominated to hunting dominated. It's also 
worth pointing out that you can apply palindromic symmetry to this to get a 
regular method (not that you'd want to). This has important implications, as 
you can use the reverse of the link to get back to the regular coursing 

One slightly expanded link, which uses a hunt-to-point motif repeated each 
time the treble moves dodging position (coupled with trendy three 
consecutive blows) is:

Practical Example:
If you get to backrounds (eg with five and a half leads of Bristol max) and 
then apply the reverse of the link (ie 
8.90-89.6.78-67.4.56-45-34-3-2-1.34-34.1) you'll get into a monster tittums 
course. You can then carry on ringing Bristol.

To get back to the 'normal' coursing order, simply ring the second half of 
the original link (ie 90-90.1-e-0-90-89-78.9.67-56.7.45-34.5.1). Depending 
on which half-lead you stop ringing Bristol, the course you'll get back into 
after the link will be one of the 'cyclic' courses.

There's scope for some composition focus here, I think. Who can find the 
neatest way to incorporate a course of big tittums into a peal compostion of 
eg Bristol max?  What are good link methods which keep the treble fixed? 
Come on people, I'm getting excited!

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