[r-t] The 5056

Philip Earis Earisp at rsc.org
Tue Dec 4 13:12:19 UTC 2007

Beautiful, Mark. It should become very established.

Not much criticism possible, I think, from a quick look.  I guess that
from an elegance point of view I think there's a case to be made for
having whole unadulterated courses of decent coursing orders, but
entering at the middle and leaving at the wrong just slightly
concentrates the goodness here. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Davies [mailto:mark at snowtiger.net] 
Sent: 03 December 2007 17:35
To: ringing-theory at bellringers.net
Subject: [r-t] The 5056

I've discovered a composition with, I think, a claim to being the most
elegant possible arrangement for Bristol Major. A bold claim, I know!
Let me
try and justify it.

Elegance is to some extent subjective with respect to your definition of
good music. However, given that we are interested in music X, Y and Z,
I think "elegance" can be defined in terms of these criteria:

1. An elegant composition will have some structure and symmetry to it.
If a
one-part, on the surface it may look relatively complex, but it should
the property that, the closer you look at it, the simpler it becomes, as
internal structure is revealed.

2. An elegant composition has difficult musical goals, but achieves all
them, and appears to do so with some degree of ease: for instance, using
calls, using few types of calls, avoiding poor transitions, and in a

3. An elegant composition is exciting to ring, for example by
different types of music evenly thoughout, so that there is always
as course follows course. "Ringable" features like starting with easy
courses and saving difficult ones for later - or saving the plain course
the middle of the peal - are good.

4. It also helps if the composition is one of a kind, with no direct

So here's my contribution to the "most elegant" composition award for
Bristol Major, a 5056. The background is: we are aiming for lots of
runs, in
particular 5678/8765 front and back, and little-bell runs like
1234/5432/3456 etc, again front and back. The 6578 rollups off the back
also considered worthwhile. We are keeping tenors strictly together. The
desire to have music off the front as well as the back means that we
lots of courses, with relatively few calls around the course-end; that's
good I think, and means no-one gets stuck on the back or the front for
long - nice and dynamic.

The 5056 achieves all its musical goals: all 72 5678/8765 runs available
with tenors together; all five LB5 courses (53246, 64235, 35642, 24653,
53462); both the "Bristol LB6" courses (23564, 46532); 20 6578 rollups;
the rest of the peal filled with other little-bell music - with,
"no duffers" - that is, no mid-course leads in poor coursing orders.
transition is good!

But the arrangement is I think also supremely elegant. It uses bobs
and very few of them (34), whilst still maintaining the seamless
"duffer-free" transitions from course to course. And the internal
is fascinating: simple but interesting, proto-palindromic in outline.
peal starts and finishes with the two "56 home" courses, 52436 and
with the plain course embedded in the middle. The first half of the peal
contains the "5 Befores" block from 64235, and the last half is balanced
the "5 Befores" from 53246 - but this rung in reverse, using W/M
transitions. Between these two blocks, forming the heart of the peal, is
perfectly palindromic block which delivers all the LB5 and back-bell
missed from the 56-home courses and the two "5 Before" blocks, like so
coursing orders):

  56234 B
  56342 W
  53462 H
  25346 B
  23456 H
  34256 W
  63425 B


Here's the peal (use a fixed-width font):

5056 Bristol Surprise Major
Composed by Mark B Davies

  23456  M B W H
  42356        -
  54326      -
  54263    -   -
  32465  - 5   -
  26354    -
  43652  -     -
  43526    -   -
  24536      -
  43265    -
  45362  2     -
  63254  -   -
  52436  -   -
  34625  -   -
  26543  -   -
  64352  -   2
  23456  -     -

  72 5678/8765 front and back
  20(23) 6578 back
  134 LB4
  40 LB5

You can find it, along with some other good but perhaps not *quite* so 
elegant arrangements, on <http://www.compositions.org.uk/>. Comments and

criticisms welcome.


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