[r-t] Anything Goes vs Peals Mean Something

King, Peter R peter.king at imperial.ac.uk
Sat Aug 9 06:43:41 UTC 2008

> A peal of Triples should at minimum contain an extent. OK, 
> maybe you can 
> ring a few more changes, say for a special occasion: but 
> generally a peal of 
> Triples is going to be 5040 true and complete changes, isn't it?

Why? This is an exception which we only make for triples. At no other
stafe is the current usage of the word "peal" synonymous with an extent.
Logically, if we don't want the definition of the word peal to have all
sorts of exceptions and let out clauses then we should aim to have the
definition to be applicable to all stages. So either we now have to ring
extents on higher numbers and 720s of minor are peals (as they used to
be)or we get rid of the exception for triples. To me this is the less
restrictive approach.
> Allow less than that and all of a sudden you can ring a true, 
> normal-length,
> ordinary-calls bobs-only peal of Grandsire Triples. Which 
> cannot possibly be
> right!
But isn't this just an historical artefact. If, in the past, they had
chosen a different kind of "ordinary" bob this wouldn't have been an
issue. Since the call is not supposed to be part of the method I think
this is just an artifical restriction imposed by history.

> All the effort that has gone in over the centuries to these extents of
> Triples - to these *peal compositions* of Triples. If peals 
> of Triples had
> always been 5000 changes, well of course the composers would 
> have still been
> interested in the full extent, from a mathematical point of 
> view, but it 
> *wouldn't have been the same* for the ordinary pealringer would it?
I think the problem arises because we have ambiguous definitions of what
a peal is - which is the whole point of this discussion. Martin Cansdale
is right in that any word definition has some degree of subjectivity,
but having made the definition you then have to live with the
consequences. The current discussion appears to be very similar to that
of "what is art?" We appear to have similar dissenters along the lines
of "I don't like it" or "it can't be art because a 5 year old could do
it". Well I'm not against a definition of a peal because it allows
people to ring things that I wouldn't want to ring or because it would
enable more people to ring them (in practice the physical exertion of
standing around for 3 hours is enough to deter most). What we would all
(hopefully) agree on is that a modern day defintion of a peal is a piece
of ringing which involves a bit more effort beyond the normal but not so
much as to be practically impossible (eg ringing extents for 8 & above).
Historically the definition seems to have settled down as 5000+ rows
(all different - with modifications to this for less than 7 bells).
Personally I think this is sufficient. An extent is something different
which requires ringing all possible rows or permutations on that number
of bells. So I am happy to say that I have rung a peal of major, but not
an extent. Likewise I am happy to say I have rung an extent of minor but
not a peal. So simply do away with the anomaly that is triples. I would
be happy to say that I had rung a peal of triples but not an extent.
This is no more a second class peal than it would be on 8 or 12 or

This then reduces the problem to one of classifying the different
classes of peals in terms of type (or class if you prefer) and stage.
And that's all that peal analysis should be, not one of rejecting things
because they don't fall into the current patterns or we don't like them
and wouldn't want to ring them.

More information about the ringing-theory mailing list