[r-t] Handstroke-home Cyclic Maximus

Ian Fielding Ian.Fielding at nbt.nhs.uk
Thu Aug 18 13:41:29 UTC 2016

As a suggestion,

Why not employ 2 different link methods to switch between the parts to enable ringing alternate parts of pipes forward and backwards?

This maintains the music of the DJP original with the feature Mark is trying to achieve.

Ian Fielding
Chief Pharmacy Technician
North Bristol NHS Trust
0117 414 2277 (Telephone)
07872 995464 (Mobile)

-----Original Message-----
From: ringing-theory [mailto:ringing-theory-bounces at bellringers.net] On Behalf Of Philip Earis
Sent: 18 August 2016 11:53
To: ringing-theory at bellringers.net
Subject: Re: [r-t] Handstroke-home Cyclic Maximus

Mark: "Recently I've been working with Jack Gunning on some multi-part cyclic Maximus peals...Comments, criticisms and suggestions welcome".

There is so much scope for developing spliced maximus compositions. I applaud any experimentation, and I am glad MBD has posted his new compositions and notes on the design plan and execution. I would like more people to do the same.

Mark asked for comments, and I’ll happily oblige.

My brief summary is I think the broad concept could have mileage. However, it needs careful architecture and method selection to bring it to worthy fruition. I think there’s a lot more development required to produce an elegant composition that’s in the same league as DJP’s cyclic 6, the acknowledged benchmark here.

Regarding the broad architecture – the difference in the cyclic shunt between the MBD and DJP compositions is that MBD’s gets to the full reverse cyclic leadhead (12TE09876543 in his first part) at backstroke, while DJP gets there at handstroke (15432TE09876).

As Mark says, this 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”.

The trade-off with this is that you lose the elegant palindromic nature of the Pipe framework (with pivot-leads alternating between the 2nd and tenor of the part), and all the benefits this brings.

The consequences of the trade-off can be seen when looking at MBD’s #6 composition (5003 Spliced Max in 9 methods). The composition isn’t atw for any of the 9 methods other than Grandsire. Indeed, there are only 5 leads of Deimos, Phobos and Strathclyde (and only 6 leads of Fallen Angel) in the whole peal. Now non-atw isn’t an intrinsic flaw, but it can be symptomatic of a composition that’s an assemblage of leads rather than a sculptured whole.

Moreover, in terms of the musical count the DJP composition has 9 of the possible 24 8-bell run rows of each type, ie:

xxxx567890ET = 9
xxxxTE098765 = 9
567890ETxxxx = 9
TE098765xxxx = 9

As the composition is a perfect cyclic 11-part, there are correspondingly 9 of each of the run rows involving bells 23456789 etc also.

With the MBD composition, the corresponding music count is:

xxxx567890ET = 5
xxxxTE098765 = 6
567890ETxxxx = 6
TE098765xxxx = 5

xxxx4567890E = 8
xxxxE0987654 = 9
4567890Exxxx = 3
E0987654xxxx = 1

The lack of big run rows off the front here, particularly in half the parts, is notable. The cause is, in part, related to the method selection.

My feeling is that cyclic compositions on higher numbers should be “architectured”, with the individual building blocks (methods) carefully selected to be the most appropriate for their role in the compositional structure.  As such, I question the use of methods as gimmicks, or which are selected for legacy reasons and aren’t best suited to exploit the desired effect.

I agree with MBD that Grandsire’s plain course is musical (it is just plain bob after all). Regarding “shock value” – this is orthogonal to the main question I feel – if Grandsire is the best tool here, by all means use it. I think I am persuaded that the use of Grandsire is indeed justified here, though simultaneously I am not convinced it is more appropriate than an elegant concentrated link like x3x3x3x3x3.

Turning to the main bulk of the methods – the grid of Counter’s Creek is pleasant and tidy, though Neptune has an ugly 12 in the notation for too close to the halflead for my liking. And as for Deira? Hmm.

Leaving aside the individual methods, I am left with the impression that they are far from optimised for the task in hand.  (The use of Yorkshire etc in the #5 composition reinforces this).  Why be constrained by bog-standard “regular” treble-dodging maximus methods?  One of the triumphs of the Pipe classic composition is that it broke out of this mindset, using alliance methods to concentrate music.

I can’t help but feel some of the most fertile areas for developing spliced cyclic maximus composition are in carefully selecting building blocks, such as we see in the Quark compositions.  Even worthwhile design features, like ringing cyclic courses alternating between hand and back, can end up as compositions that feel a bit derivative if they are padded out with stale methods which act as bloated polygonal pegs in round holes.

I realise these ramblings may come across as somewhat blunt.  The intention isn’t to be snide, but rather to be forthright.  The effect is interesting – as you say, the royal examples are well-crafted.  Some more craft here will hopefully result in a tidier and better architecture that can maximise the effect, resulting in a composition that could really fly.  I look forward to seeing developments.

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