[r-t] Compositions and secrecy (was: 1-part tenors together atw compositions of 23-splicedmajor)

Ian Fielding Ian.Fielding at nbt.nhs.uk
Sat Dec 5 11:31:41 UTC 2015

I seem to recall a certain amount of telephone activity the Monday morning after the peal too!________________________________________
From: ringing-theory [ringing-theory-bounces at bellringers.net] on behalf of Philip Saddleton [pabs at cantab.net]
Sent: 05 December 2015 11:21
To: ringing-theory at bellringers.net
Subject: [r-t] Compositions and secrecy (was: 1-part tenors together atw compositions of 23-splicedmajor)

On 04/12/2015 13:51, Andrew Johnson wrote:
> From: Philip Earis <pje24 at cantab.net><mailto:pje24 at cantab.net>
> RAS:
> "Are you puzzled by Messrs Johnson, Saddleton and Wyld have kept
> their compositions of Stedman secret in 1995 until they were pealed? "
> Yes, absolutely. From Colin Wyld's perspective, keeping his
> composition unpublished surely led directly to it *not* being used
> for the first rung peal of Stedman triples. What did he gain by
> keeping it secret? I'm sure PABS / Andrew Johnson will correct me if
> I'm wrong, but if the Wyld comp had been published and in the public
> domain I'd be a bit surprised if a CUG band would have independently
> searched for (and soon pealed) a conceptually similar but different
> composition - that would have seemed poor form.
As it was, we were accused of plagiarism (see RW 4374 p188 and RW 4375 p216).
I'm not sure what we would have done. Perhaps I would have started the 10-part search earlier. There had been an attempt to ring Colin Wyld's composition before. Should Colin have published the magic blocks before finding out how to link them? Publishing a partial, but not optimal solution means possibly losing out on being first to find the best solution. If there is a new problem then people will want to have a go at solving it, and also see if solutions can be improved. If the improved solution is more than a bit better the first solution might never be pealed.
I'm sure that if Colin had published the magic blocks several people (Andrew and myself included) would have had a go and come up with a solution sooner - it took Colin three years (RW 4374 p197), Andrew asked for help after a fortnight, and I spent a few hours on it.

What was remarkable was the speed with which the peal was then organized and rung, in the days when not many of us were on line: I posted the composition to Andrew on Sunday afternoon, had a phone call in response before I left for work on Monday, by Wednesday Dickon Love had got the bells and most of the band fixed, and Philip Agg did a remarkable job in learning and then calling the composition on the following Sunday.


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