[r-t] New Alan Reading Composition

Alexander Holroyd holroyd at math.ubc.ca
Tue Dec 18 22:51:49 UTC 2012

No-one?  I'm actually surprised this didn't generate indignant protests...

On Fri, 14 Dec 2012, Alexander Holroyd wrote:

> 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?
> Ander
> 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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