[r-t] Cygni Surprise Royal - offset cyclic beauty

Philip Earis Earisp at rsc.org
Fri Jun 17 13:04:59 UTC 2011

It's very good to see the OUS have awoken from their recent peal torpor, and rung an extremely interesting new method - Cygni Surprise Royal (www.campanophile.com/view.aspx?123085<http://www.campanophile.com/view.aspx?123085>)

The method is conventionally double:

&56.3-45-25-3.4-7.8-69-67-8.56.1, lh1 = 1876025934

Whilst this irregular leadhead is one that even Alan Reading might shun, the clever thing here is that the method is rung offset by two changes, ie in leads of:

+ -45-25-3.4-7.8-69-67- = 1678902345

This produces an extremely appealing cyclic method. Cygni's design really makes optimal use of the possibilities and constraints of 10-bell grids, employing hunting successively on 6 and 5 to reverse groups of bells and simultaneously shunt them into the order for longer runs.  The music is very well dispersed in each lead throughout the course.  Top work! Indeed, it's hard to criticise much.  You get glorious wraps of forward runs in the second half of the lead; the symmetry consequently means the reverse runs at the back are at backstroke, but this is not a problem.

I haven't seen the composition for Cygni, but I'm told it was a fairly simple arrangement consisting mainly of swaps of adjacent pairs, with occasional "double swaps" of adjacent fours. This is OK per se, and I'm sure the end effect was good.  The real beauty of good cyclic constructions is that they have massive music box potential - you feed anything nice in, and you get huge multiples of it forward and backwards coming out.  With the cyclic construction, the longer the course-end rows you feed in, the better the effect. So feeding in 1098765432 would be much better than 1543267890.  A composition swapping adjacent pairs can give some great courses (eg swapping 2&3 or 9&0), but is a bit limiting.  You absolutely do not need to stick to runs - on ten bells, the magnificent 6 group of rounds queens tittums and their reverses is an ideal base to exploit in cyclic constructions (see numerous previous plugs...)

The offset cyclic trick was first used by MBD in 2002 in the method Spinning Jennie (&56.3-4.5.2-1-34-5.36.4-, 1), and has great potential.  The double symmetry of Cygni is certainly a nice and welcome addition, following on from Philip Saddleton who produced the first double offset cyclic method: the sadly still-unrung alliance major +x4., which I referred to in passing in the Compositions of the Decade series.

All in all great work, and hugely rewarding to a band seeking a challenge and a musical delight. How about a principle on similar lines?


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