[r-t] New plan

Mark Davies mark at snowtiger.net
Tue Dec 29 12:17:46 UTC 2009

Ander writes,

> - re 2, to my taste at least, _completely_ mixing up all the types of
> music might also be a bad thing.  It's nice when you have a block that
> concentrates on one type of music for a while (perhaps with pthers thrown
> in) - the band notices it more, and get to repeatedly practice striking
> that type of run/whatever.

Yes indeed, I should have stressed that, too. I've discussed this in a 
recent off-list exchange of ideas with Clarrie, and the goal is I think 
best described as attaining a balance between the static and dynamic 
production of music.

Compositions which mix everything up and change all the bells round all 
the time can look exciting on paper, but often end up being 
disappointing to ring - "chasing the rows," as Philip describes. I think 
that is because part of the appeal of changeringing is the repetition of 
music, giving it time and space to sink into the listener's 
subconscious. We are a percussive form of music, after all; percussion 
and repetition are strong allies.

In some senses, this means we can't easily get away from the classic 
plan: keep the back bells fixed for a while to generate stability, and 
vary the little bells to give dynamic music; then, after long enough has 
elapsed, vary the back bells, and repeat. Of course there is plenty of 
pleasure in tenors-togethers peals in many methods, which is the 
aforementioned plan with a repeat of zero.

However, if we do have one set of bells fixed (classically, the back 
bells), then rapid transitions of the remaining bells are good, which 
was really what I meant by my original point 2. It's easy to see that 
three Homes keeps too many bells fixed, and doesn't provide enough 
movement or variety of music. If you already have bells 7..N fixed, then 
you want to vary the other bells rapidly from one form of music to the 

This is why, in the tenors-together sphere, I am always on the lookout 
for compositions like my "Cosmic Joker", where different sorts of music 
are interleaved very finely ("both LB runs and 56/65 rollups in every 
full course") within a fixed framework (tenors together). In Grandsire 
Caters and Stedman Cinques, I still like to keep a back-bell position 
going for some good length of time, to produce the same stability, and 
then to generate interest and dynamism in exactly the same way - rapidly 
interleave others types of music, such as LB runs, mid/back-bell 
rollups, near misses, queens effects, and so on.

The above is not to say that there are not other forms of composition 
which are worthwhile, or that it is not possible to achieve the goal of 
"stable dynamism" in other ways. A good example of a different plan 
achieving the same goal is the cyclic part end arrangement: the cyclic 
order in each part provides the stability, and as long as different 
types of run are produced in each part, there is the variety. We must 
explore these new ideas, whilst never forgetting that the "classic plan" 
has plenty of mileage left in it still.


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