[r-t] Definition of a call

edward martin edward.w.martin at gmail.com
Fri Jun 10 13:23:07 UTC 2011

On 10 June 2011 13:04, Richard Smith <richard at ex-parrot.com> wrote:

> edward martin wrote:
>  Keeping the treble as PH, John Holt did produce a 720 of Bob Minor in
>> which using 4th place bobs the PH was called to dodge 5-6 up (adding 2 rows
>> to the lead block); make 4ths, (subtracting 4 rows from the lead block, and
>> to dodge 5-6 down (adding 2 rows to the lead block) thus allowing for all
>> 720 changes of Bob Minor to be produced without the need for singles. As
>> clever as this was, it never caught on in popularity and stands as a unique
>> quirk of mathematics.
> This is certainly the conventional view, but I'm not sure how accurate it
> is.
> John Holt lived from 1726 to 1753, so his composition must presumably have
> been produced in the 1740s or early 1750s. So far as I know, the earliest
> place this composition is recorded is the Clavis (1788).  The very fact that
> a copy of the composition still existed to be included in the Clavis is
> evidence that it saw use during that period.
> The composition also appears in Benjamin Thackrah's 1852 'Art of Change
> Ringing'.  Thackrah includes three further compositions of PB6 involving
> variable length leads, and nothing in the surrounding text suggests that
> these compositions were considered unorthodox.  Indeed, the fact that two
> thirds of the compositions of PB6 that he gives involve bobs that alter the
> lead length suggests to me that such compositions may well have been part of
> the compositional canon of the time.
> Thirteen years later, in 1863 in a different part of the country, an extent
> of Dixon's is rung for the first time. The tablet recording this peal
> records it as 'Mr Dixon's peal of Bob Minor Variations' -- i.e. a variation
> of Bob Minor, and not as a separate method in its own right. Given Holt's
> compositions and the other compositions given by Thackrah, this makes
> complete sense.  The plain course of Dixon's can be considered as Plain Bob
> Minor with bobs made whenever 2 or 4 lead thus altering the length of the
> lead. Add a few more calls to join it up into an extent, and the similarity
> to compositions in the Holt style becomes more apparent.
> So I dispute your statements that "it never caught on in popularity" and
> that it "stands as a unique quirk of mathematics."  There seems to be
> evidence for well over a century of popularity, and Thackrah's others other
> compositions as well as Dixon's demonstrate it's not unique.
I stand corrected and once  more appreciate your expertise...
You neglected to mention that Holt;'s 720 also appears in Shipway's tome
(part 2 page 22) where Shipway speaks very highly of it, once more
demonstrating that you are on the money. What I suppose happened is that
when the Central Council was founded and began to pigeon hole everything
they decided that this stuff was not cricket
Thanks again
Eddie Martin
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