[r-t] New Alan Reading Composition

Alan Reading alan.reading at googlemail.com
Fri Dec 14 16:27:08 UTC 2012

Personally I think there is a difference between cyclic compositions on 8
and on higher numbers. On higher numbers I think the sort of cyclic affects
Mark is talking about can be really amazing and so it harder to objectively
measure "musicality". On 8 bells however I think 4-bell runs have greater
importance and in any case the full set of 4-bell runs includes most of the
spectacular special cases of "cyclic music". Of course the fact the
composition is an exact cyclic 8-part with all the 4-bell runs
automatically implies changes like 81234576.


On 14 December 2012 13:18, Mark Davies <mark at snowtiger.net> wrote:

> Ian F writes,
>  Moving towards some "unquantifiable music" discussion here.......
> "Unquantifiable" is the wrong word, I think. But ringing music does sit in
> an interesting place, halfway between a purely subjective and an objective,
> measurable position.
> In every generation there is some metric, be it CRUs or 4-runs, which is
> seized upon by a majority of composers and conductors, and this is I think
> no bad thing, since it provides useful targets, and encourages innovation
> in composition within a fixed framework - something at which ringing excels.
> Perhaps computerization had taken us a little too far down this route,
> though. The machine drives us towards simple, measurable scoring systems to
> judge the quality of compositions by; quicker sharing of ideas then exerts
> a pressure to standardise such measures. Hence the rise of metrics such as
> 4-runs. But occasionally I think we ought to step back and take a wider
> look at the music we're really trying to achieve.
> This particular discussion has, to me, highlighted the kind of discrepancy
> you get when the focus is too narrow: we have a composition on a cyclic
> plan, where the chosen method of measuring music content actually
> disadvantages cyclic music. Something is not right, and to my mind it's
> easy to see what: the 4-run count is not enough on its own. Attractive
> though it is, you can't simply compare the quality of compositions based on
> a single number.
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