[r-t] [r-c] Definition of a peal (was Not A Block)

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Tue Jun 10 11:55:26 UTC 2014

Mark Davies wrote:

> I believe strongly that we need to sort out the mess over 
> method classification, in particular that of Differentials 
> and false methods.

I agree.

Where things don't naturally fit into a class of the common 
methods, they shouldn't be forced into one, nor should their 
title be dictated by irrelevant or incidental properties of 
the method.

The reason we typically include a class in the method is to 
convey some useful information about it.  If you're asked 
into a peal of an unfamiliar surprise major method, the fact 
it is suffixed 'Surprise Major' puts considerable 
constraints on how complicated it could be.

But this is only useful when the class conveys useful 
information.  In a lot of the recent advanced methods, the 
class conveys no such helpful hints.  Does knowing Slinky is 
a Differential Little Treble Place Maximus method help in 
ringing it?  I don't think so.  This is even more the case 
with the quark methods.

Personally I think many of the changes to method 
classification in the last few decades have been rather 
misguided.  The number of method classes has increased in 
number, and the definitions of many have been relaxed. 
This seemed necessary because peals had to be composed of 
methods, and methods had to belong to one of the recognised 
classes.  In accepting non-method blocks, we have accepted 
these premises to be wrong.  A non-method block is 
essentially an unclassified method, and I would sooner we 
used the term 'unclassified method', but that isn't what I 
want to discuss here.

Take the five classes based on the treble's path:

   1. Plain methods.  The current definition seems

   2. Treble dodging methods should have exactly one dodge
   in each dodging position.  I don't think it's particularly
   useful to classify Eryri or Double Darrowby as surprise

   3. Alliance methods should consist of just hunting and
   dodging.  (I'm of two minds whether to go further and
   just say single dodging.)

   4. Treble Place methods are fairly rare, and I don't have
   strong opinions on what they should be.  But historically
   they've usually been variants of treble-dodging methods,
   so I'm inclined to require the treble makes two blows
   per half lead in every position.  And broadly they should
   involve the treble going from the front to the back once
   in a lead: i.e. two leads of plain hunting should not
   count as a treble place method.

   5. Hybrid methods should be abolished as a class.

The number of methods this will affect is small.  But where 
methods are quite different from the established canon, they 
are no longer classified as such.  It is only once new 
styles of method become popular that they should be 
classified.  In this regard, I share Robin Woolley's view 
that far too much time is spent trying to classify sui 
generis performances.  But the solution is not to prohibit 
them as he appears to be advocating.  The solution is to 
allow them to be rung, recognised in peals, named, and 
otherwise recorded in the CC's analysis and methods 
collections, but not necessarily to classify them.  And they 
certainly shouldn't have some ridiculous tag like 'Block' at 
the end of their name.


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