[r-t] Handstroke-home Cyclic Maximus

Mark Davies mark at snowtiger.net
Wed Aug 17 11:44:22 UTC 2016

Recently I've been working with Jack Gunning on some multi-part cyclic 
Maximus peals. The benchmark here is David Pipe's brilliant 6-spliced:


I set to wondering if there was a different take on this theme. My 
primary inspiration came from the spliced Royal peals I devised in 
collaboration with Chris Poole - see e.g.:


The simple but clever idea behind these arrangements is Chris's - you 
just bob a bell (to start with the 2nd or tenor) through to the middle 
of the coursing order, producing a cyclic course end at handstroke. 
Repeating with the next bell gives the normal succession of cyclic 
courses, but alternating hand and back, and ending up in the reverse of 
the plain course to give a handstroke-home finish. I like this idea, 
because the alternation of strokes adds real interest to the normal 
cyclic succession.

This plan works brilliantly on ten bells, because there are only five 
positions needed to jump a bell from one "end" to the "middle" of the 
coursing order. Two ordinary bobs or a 16 big bob do the trick nicely. 
But on twelve bells, a jump of 6 positions is required - not so easy. A 
link method, a la Pipe, would solve this problem perfectly well, but I 
wanted to break the mould a little bit, and the whole handstroke home 
thing left me thinking about one method alone, and a very old and 
traditional one at that: Grandsire.

Now, Alex Byrne always used to tell me he thought the plain course of 
Grandsire was very musical and much under-rated, and in this I think he 
is correct. What's more, half a plain course of the method does exactly 
what we need for a cyclic shunt, moving the hunt bell across half the 
coursing order. Naturally this is a bit longer than a link method, but 
the half course is musical in its own right, and, when I thought about 
it, I really liked the shock value of using Grandsire Maximus in a peal 
of cyclic Surprise/Delight/Alliance. (Comments welcome on that!)

Here are two arrangements on this new plan. In the first, I begin by 
moving the 2nd through the coursing order using the Grandsire, and so 
finish with the single-hunt methods. These are chosen to maximise the 
run counts in both the handstroke and backstroke cyclic courses, and 
include the library methods Counter's Creek, Neptune and Fallen Angel, 
which turn out to be ideally suited for this purpose, as well as a 
selection of more standard methods, some in common with Pipe's peal. The 
beauty of it is, it becomes a perfect "five and a half part", with 
rounds occurring at handstroke one change before the final "half-part" end.

5003 Spliced Max, Composed by MBD (no.6)
9m: 1320 Grandsire; 1104 Counter's Creek D; 574 Bristol S; 528 Deira D 
(E), Neptune S; 287 Fallen Angel S; 240 Phobos S, Strathclyde S; 180 
Deimos A; 82 COM.

   2TE09876543  GGGGG     |
   3547698E02T  EBCBCCNF  | a
   3T20e896745  GGGGG     |
   4567890ET23  ENCSPD    |
  (243658709TE) 5a

Rounds at the handstroke lead of Fallen Angel in the 6th part.

The second arrangement moves the bells in the opposite direction, i.e. 
tenor first, and so comes round in the Grandsire. The final cyclic shunt 
does not come out at the correct lead for rounds, so we need to ring 
some bobbed leads of Grandsire to get there - this is like the plain 
course of the single-hunt methods. Although this looks slightly less 
neat, I love the idea of finishing with a proper Handstroke Home course 
in the Grandsire. This is normally so painful to get to in a peal of the 
single method - could it be that this cyclic spliced prelude will come 
to be seen as the natural turning course for Grandsire Maximus!

5039 Spliced Max, Composed by MBD (no.5)
10m: 1439 Grandsire; 576 Deimos A; 528 Deira D (E); 480 Bristol S, Via
Gellia S, Woodstock S; 288 Phobos S, Strathclyde S; 240 Avon D,
Horsleydown S. 79 COM.

   T0E89674523  ESPD
   T32547698E0  GGGGG     |
   E098765432T  EABWWBPD  | b
   ET234567890  GGGGG     |
   089674523ET  ESVHVDD   |
   2ET90785634  4b
   23547698E0T  GGGG
  (32547698E0T) G-G-G-G-G-G

Comments, criticisms and suggestions welcome. If you ring either peal, 
I'd love to hear about it.


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