[r-t] A Ringing Puzzle

Philip Saddleton pabs at cantab.net
Mon May 26 19:37:30 UTC 2014

On 25/05/2014 00:14, Richard Smith wrote:
> The idea of allowing things other than methods in a peal is, I think, 
> a good one.  Over the centuries the word "method" has become imbued 
> with an implied meaning, and it's perhaps understandable that people 
> are reluctant to allow arbitrary sections of ringing to be called a 
> method.  The use of the term "block" seems a nice, neutral word for 
> something more general than a method.
Well put
> Defining a non-method block without first defining a block is 
> bizarre.  A far more satisfactory approach would be to define a block, 
> then define a method as a specific type of block, and finally to 
> define a non-method block as a block other than a method.  This would 
> have the further advantanges of replacing the clumsy, repeated phrase 
> "method or non-method block" with "block", and allowing a round block 
> (which is used many times in the existing Decisions without 
> definition) to be defined as a block beginning and ending with rounds.

> On c-r, Don makes the point that under the proposed Decisions, not 
> everything is method or non-method block. Dixons is such an example.  
> This is because the leads and courses of Dixons are of varying lengths 
> and are composed of different sequences of changes: and they cannot 
> all be called Dixons.  If this proposal was intended as the panacea to 
> allow anything (bar jump changes and cylindrical) to be rung, it fails.
The intention of the proposal was to allow any portion of something that 
can be rung to be given a name that describes what is rung rather than 
having to construe it as something else. Dixons is a totally different 
type of construct - more a composition than a method - since the changes 
to (E) A.2in 2011, Dixons can be described as a composition of Plain Bob.
> The dichotomy between methods and non-method blocks feels quite 
> arbitrary to me. 
See first paragraph.
> One would never notice while ringing them that Strange and Bottom run 
> false in the plain course, so why allude to that in the name?
See first paragraph.
> It certainly feels like the Methods Commitee have been forced against 
> their will to allow false methods (as "blocks") and 
> lead-length-altering calls, but are still determined fuck you over if 
> you want to do both.
Non-method blocks do not have leads. One possibility discussed was not 
to provide for calls at all, but this might lead to a situation where a 
palindromic block in a palindromic composition with different places 
made at either end would have to be given different names in each half 
of a part.

Regardless of the detail the main effect of the motion is to separate 
the definition of a compliant peal composition from that of a method 
(which I have long advocated), without changing what could be construed 
as either. Effectively a compliant peal composition must satisfy 
(D)A.1-3 and  B.1-7: the rest just determines how it is described.

I am genuinely surprised at the amount of opposition to the motion, 
which seems mainly to hinge on the previously unsatisfied demand to be 
able to ring compositions of false "methods". The alternative would have 
been to propose something that might have been defeated as a result of 
pleas from those who prefer to think of a method as something that 
should be worth ringing in its own right.


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