[r-t] Anything Goes vs Peals Mean Something

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Sat Aug 9 23:06:18 UTC 2008

Mark Davies wrote:

> No, you misunderstand Richard. I think a peal as we're describing (rung on
> two stages, with two partial extents false against each other at the higher
> stage) is false.

Is that what we're discussing?  Oh!  In that case I agree 
with you: such a performence is definitely false. 
Unquestionably.  Without a doubt.

(By the way, can your mail client really not manage to 
preserve message threading?  I've now got a right devil of a 
job trying to work out where in this thread we've managed to 
misunderstand each other, because it's so difficult to work 
out where the message is to which you're replying.  Grrr.)

>> But you said there was just one partial extent of minor. Yes, if you have
>> lots of them, it's possible
> Yes, one partial extent of Minor. It doesn't have to be rung in one
> contiguous block, does it? That would be restrictive.

Good, in that case I agree there too.  I wouldn't want to 
require that the partial extent (or any of the whole 
extents) have to be together in a single block.

> But my point is, it
> might be acceptable to spread an extent of Minor through a peal of Triples
> by leads or courses, but not by individual changes.

But are you actually enforcing that requirement in any way?

In principle (at the moment, and reserving the right to 
change my mind :-), I agree that spreading the minor out 
through the triples, change by change, is not satisfactory. 
However, I don't agree that we should attempt to enforce 
this.  In particular, your definition of 'truth' brings in 
too much baggage in terms of leads and methods and so on. 
I simply don't like it.

Whether a piece of ringing is true or false should 
absolutely not depend on how you choose to describe it.  It 
should simply be a property of the rows that are rung: not 
of the order in which they are rung, and certainly not how 
you describe them.  That's why I like IJA's algorithmic 
definition so much, even despite the problematic example of 
triples and singles.

Yes, I agree with you that it sucks that an extent of 
singles followed by a mutually-false 5034 of triples is 
true.  And yes, I understand why you want to define 'truth' 
so that this is excluded.  *But* I haven't yet seen a 
workable solution that doesn't exclude other things that I 
wouldn't wish to excluded.

At the end of the day, I think we have to accept that the 
beauty of truth is in the eye of the beholder.  I've never 
really tried to vocalise these thoughts before, but when I'm 
composing a peal of spliced minor, I think I regard perfect 
truth as something unattainable: a Platonic ideal, if you 
like.  I then have a series decreasingly good approximations 
-- increasingly diffuse shadows on the cave wall -- which 
I'll try until I find one that is compatible with the 
compositional structure that I have in mind.  (Feel free to 
cut that out and send it to Pseuds Corner in Private Eye.)

The first thing I would like is a series of separate 
extents, each individually true, and each beginning and 
ending in rounds.  This, of course, is quite restrictive. 
Next, I would drop the 'beginning and ending in rounds' 
requirement, while keeping the 'individually true' bit. 
This opens up Banks James-type compositions, and some of 
Roger Bailey's variations on the theme.

The next relaxation would be to only require the extents to 
be mutually true, not individually true.  However, I would 
still want each lead head and end to be present in each 
extent -- I wouldn't allow myself to have, say, four 
consecutive homes, unless it happened to be across an extent 
boundary.  If you look at many of John Warboys' or Philip 
Saddleton's compositions of the 41, they fall into this 

Even if I dropped this requirement, I would typically only 
prefer to lift whole courses from one extent into another -- 
one extent might become a 600, while a second might become a 
840.  And I would draw the 'extent end' lines to reflect 
that.  My shortest compositions of 147 and 178 atw fall into 
the this category.

Beyond that?  I'm not sure.  But I would be a *very* 
compelling structural reason before I would consider 
allowing the same lead end to appear twice in the same 
(logical) extent without intervening calls (or whatever 
other device I was using to move between courses).

The point I'm making is that either you take an algorithmic 
approach to truth -- such as IJA does explicity, or as DFM 
does implicitly.  Or you have admit that truth is both 
subtle and subjective, and give up attempting to codify it.


More information about the ringing-theory mailing list