[r-t] Are FCH's needed any more?

Mark Davies mark at snowtiger.net
Sat May 22 12:14:45 UTC 2010

I think Graham has made a valid point, but I agree with Don's viewpoint 
too. New tools are good, and I'd hate to be stuck with a table of FCHs 
and no computer*. But on the other hand, you can't get the most out of 
the computer unless you, the human operator, have some understanding of 
what it is doing, and the search space it is operating over.

(* Actually that's rubbish. It's a tremendously enjoyable challenge 
composing with paper and pencil, up to a point anyway.)

There are lots of examples throughout the history of TD composition 
where an understanding of falseness has led to better human *and* 
computer-produced compositions. The classic two examples are I suppose 
Yorkshire Major - where a recognition of b falseness leads us to the 
need for singles to bring in 6578 courses - and certain f-type methods, 
where knowing the incidence of falseness highlights the usefulness of 
6-lead courses called B or I/V. Without understanding the falseness in 
these two cases, I'd argue you aren't going to be producing the best 

Another specific example I was presented with recently is Diamond 
Delight Major, b -38-14-1258-1236-14- This method has a 
straightforward line, and a good name, so is it a suitable method for a 
good peal by a good, but not elite band, with a rusty conductor, for a 
diamond anniversary?

If you look at the falseness you will see it is fairly nasty (BDO) but 
perhaps not so bad that a good, simple, musical composition isn't 
available. However, blindly machine-searching for multi-parts doesn't 
give us anything: the results are either simple and unmusical, or 
musical but horribly complex.

All is not lost, though. Application of further thought around the 
falseness properties of the method gave me this little number:

5024 Diamond Delight Major, comp. MBD

23456 V B M W H
43652     -
64523   - -   -
34625     2 3
26543     - -
45362     - -
35264     -
56342   -     3
45623 3 -     2
52364   2     -
34265     S   -
26435       S -
23456   - -   3

OK, it is not the finest composition in the world - there are two or 
three bad courses, and ending with 3H is not my favourite - but 
considering the practical problems of the method I think it is quite a 
gem. It delivers a simple calling (easier than the tricky three-parts in 
fact), and uses a straightforward split-tenors section, which is musical 
in its own right, to help maximise the musical content of the 
tenors-together courses, with a good spread of back-bell and little-bell 
runs. In fact, looking at the long strings of musical courses joined 
together within the peal, I think you could be forgiven for thinking the 
method has very little falseness.

Anyway, I think it's a good example of Don's technique - a bit of human 
knowledge combined with appropriate computer searches.

(Can anyone do better btw? I see Diamond Delight has been rung to peals 
before but can't find the compositions used - have a feeling they 
weren't that great but don't know for sure!)


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