[r-t] New Alan Reading Composition

Alexander Holroyd holroyd at math.ubc.ca
Fri Dec 14 20:50:35 UTC 2012

To my ear, quite an important musical effect arises from which notes of 
the scale the treble and other bells are.  In particular this affects 
which runs sound best, and the effect is very stage-dependent.

E.g. on 10, -6543s are definitely my favourite LB runs, because the 3 is 
the tonic note of the scale.  On 12, -2345s are similarly the winner.

(Of course, both are generally best enjoyed together with other runs and 
other types of music).

For similar reasons I found the very unusual music of Limited Slip 
Differential Maximus appealing: rows like 1E235678904T crop up, which on 
paper look bizarre, but actually sound great (once you get used to it) - 4 
is an octave above E, which it replaces in the roll-up.

Perhaps there is also an effect of this sort in play in 8-part cyclic 
compositions?  E.g. I can imagine that 3218 and 6781 sound nicer than one 
would otherwise expect (nicer than 3210 and 8901 on 10 for instance) 
because 1 and 8 are an octave apart.  I don't feel I've listened to enough 
of these to tell, though.  Anyone care to comment?


On Fri, 14 Dec 2012, Alan Reading wrote:

> 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.
> Cheers,
> Alan
> 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.
>> MBD
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