[r-t] Bristol - future directions?

Mark Davies mark at snowtiger.net
Fri Mar 4 23:34:48 UTC 2011

Some time ago, Philip wrote,

> it's hard to see where future developments might lie in
 > tenors-together Bristol.  Have we come to the end of the line?

I think there is a lot of incremental progress possible just sticking 
with the same types of music, by concentrating on where we put the music 
throughout the peal. I call this "the right music in the right place".

Most people I've talked to seem to think this is a completely daft idea, 
but to me it follows logically from ideas like "ending with 3H is dull" 
or "starting with a Middle isn't the best way to let the ringing 
settle". I have over the last few years tried to design my compositions 
so that the music develops in interesting and appropriate ways 
throughout the peal. This means things like:

1. Delaying really exciting courses until a point where the ringing is 
likely to have reached a high standard - e.g. the halfway point - or 
where the band might need a lift - a couple of courses from the end.

2. Mixing different types of music together throughout the peal, rather 
than having great long chunks of the same stuff. I started down this 
line with my "Cosmic Joker" Yorkshire Max, which famously (?!) contains 
LB runs and 56/65 rollups in every full course.

3. Sometimes, conversely, bunching music together to increase its 
impact. For instance, in the notes for my 5136 Bristol Maximus I say, 
"There aren't huge numbers of 56s and 65s - 8 of each, with the same 
number off the front - but these are arranged to maximum effect, with 
batches of four at a time brought up at the Home position, and then an 
immediate transition away into more little-bell music... The effect of 
all this is hopefully a seamless strand of little-bell music running 
through the peal (you're never more than 4 leads away from a little-bell 
run), but with dense knots of back-bell runs appearing at unexpected 

5. Revisiting coursing orders in surprising ways. A classic example is 
my 5056 no.1, where the plain course is rung near but not at the end of 
the peal, as part of five "reverse Befores" matching the opening Befores 
on 64235. I took this concept to extremes in my Jennie's Endeavour 
arrangements of 5000 and 5077 changes, using half-lead calls which 
reversed the lead-end transpositions, allowing coursing orders to be 
"rapidly and unexpectedly revisited".

There are lots of other examples where I think the band in the tower 
really appreciate the sequence of development of music within the peal. 
To my mind this is an under-appreciated area of the composer's art, and 
one where more research is required.


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