[r-t] A new paradigm in spliced composition

Philip Earis Earisp at rsc.org
Fri Nov 23 05:21:28 GMT 2012

Last night we rang the first peal of a wonderful new David Pipe maximus composition, which I feel represents a new paradigm in spliced:

The peal is essentially a cyclic 12 part, but that description doesn't convey the novelty. The new composition is very much "architectured", using an optimal and very clever "top-down" framework from the outset, which is built up with custom components (methods) to best achieve the design.

(By contrast nearly all peals rung to date have been "constructed", with the composer starting with a selected method or group of methods, and then attempting to arrange these into as satisfying assembly as possible. I tried to set out in more depth the difference between a "constructed" and "architectured" approach in a March 2011 message to this list: 

So what's the design principle behind the new composition? Well, fundamentally it is that the best way to exploit the music in a cyclic 12-part is too use short structure-dominated blocks to give a glorious, fluid, elegant and truly balanced diversity of run music, rather than employ conventional treble-dominated methods which intrinsically are not best-suited to a 12 part composition.

The new composition is divided into two halves. The first half contains a palindromic block of 6 methods, each of which is itself a highly-structured palindrome with a 'x' change at the leadend. The methods varyingly rotate or reverse groups of 2, 4, 6, 8 or 10 bells, to continually generate varied runs (both forward and back), on different groups of bells, at both strokes, in all 12 parts. The result is mesmeric, full-on, ultra-high-definition,"total ringing":

1234567890ET Top
2134567890ET Up
1234TE098765 Strange
567890ET4321 Down
TE0987654312 Charm
7890ET654321 Bottom
5634128709TE Charm
2143658709ET Down
7856341209TE Strange
ET9021436587 Up
TE9078563412 Top

(No doubt the CC method fascists will arbitrarily try to redefine Top as an mx method rung with an implied 'x' bob or somesuch, but this arguably doesn't reflect the true nature of it) 

The first half of the composition ends with reverse rounds at the handstroke row, and then a 10ths place bob to bring up T0E896745312. There then follows a sequence of calls to get to the mega-tittums course, exploit tittums and run music, shunt to a different cyclic part with the mirror-symmetric 'right-place-rung-wrong' principle Quark, and then reverse the palindrome to get to the partend:

T0E896745312 Lepton (8ths)
T0E896751423 Plain Bob (6ths)
T0E897162534 Gluon (4ths)
T0E918273645 Gluon (2nds)
TE1029384756 Quark (2nds)
67859403E2T1 Gluon (4ths)
678905E4T312 Gluon (6ths)
67890ET51423 Plain Bob (8ths)
67890ET12534 Lepton (10ths)
12 Part

This second half of the composition is very similar to the second half used in the "Jupiter" cyclic 12 part, first rung in 2007 and which I described here:

In the new composition, Gluon takes the role of (and is similar to) Amalthea, generating spectacular and varied runs out of the ether in the near-tittums courses. 

Looking at the methods as a whole, the 6 building blocks used in the first half (named after the 6 flavours of the sub-atomic particles called quarks) are short, structured and attractive. All have palindromic symmetry, Bottom further has mirror symmetry, and 'Up' and 'Down' are reversals of each other:

Top Differential: &5.4x5x2x45x4.5.4,x 2134567890ET
Up Differential: &3.2x1x4.5x5.34,x 2134TE098765
Strange Differential: &58x58x58x67x1x1x,x TE0987654321
Down Differential: &0.Ex1x9.8x8.90,x 8765432190TE
Charm Differential: &7x7x67x678,x 6543217890TE
Bottom Differential: &58x58x3670x30.49x,x 8709TE214365
Lepton Little Bob: a &,2
Gluon Little Alliance: a &,2
Quark: &3x50x78x1x1x3x9,x T0E896745231

In terms of ringability, the high structure of the methods and composition make them really fairly straightforward to ring if approached with a structure-based mindset. If you come in with a raw 'blue line only' toolkit you may need to adapt, or find yourself outside your comfort zone.

The musical result really is dynamic, wonderful, and to my mind represents a new paradigm in higher-numbers composition. Find a band and ring it, people. It's mind-expanding stuff.

So what's next? Well, the first half of the composition is essentially a blank canvas. There are limitless possibilities into the choice and style of building blocks that can be used in this framework. It's analogous to the conceptual introduction of something like 7-part 23-spliced major frameworks, where the methods can be selected to suit.

Regarding evolution to the second half of the composition, I'd personally like to see one of the Plain Bob or Lepton to be replaced by Cat o' Nine Tails or an analogue (eg a &, to give a lovely music-box juxtaposition between staticity and dynamism. But this is all a question of taste.

In any case, the current composition is a magnificent achievement that doesn't need refinement. That I'm tapping out an excitable stream-of-thought on my Blackberry at silly o'clock shows how buzzing I am about this. 

Near the end of the film Pulp Fiction, the character Jimmie says, "I don't need you to tell me how good my coffee is, okay? I'm the one who buys it, I know how good it is". I can't help but think that Mr Pipe has every right to be saying something similar regarding the composition.

Welcome to the future, people.

Sent from my BlackBerry


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