[r-t] Cambridge Surprise Major in the 3-4 Position

Graham John graham at changeringing.co.uk
Sun Mar 24 23:12:49 GMT 2019

When handbell ringers first ring Surprise Major it helps if they only have
to ring a limited number of pair positions while they are learning. It is
good to start on the tenors to learn the course where you are in the
coursing or 7-8 position. The problem then is that typically you have to
learn both the 3-4 position and the 5-6 position in addition to coursing to
ring either 3-4 or 5-6 to a peal, although this can be reduced slightly in
methods that have little falseness. In Cambridge Surprise Major, some
people find the coursing position harder than the 3-4 position, as 7-8 do
not course below the treble, whereas the 3-4 work is similar both sides of
the treble, with two leads of coursing below the treble thrown in. This
raises the question of whether it is possible for 3-4 to stay in the 3-4
position for a whole peal.

The answer to that is yes, although I'm not sure that the resulting peal
composition for Cambridge is simple enough to be useful. I guess it could
be if you have an experienced band and conductor ringing with a learner on

In terms of a multi-part, this is the longest I can find.

4704 Cambridge Surprise Major <https://complib.org/composition/48555>
Composed by Graham A C John
5348627 s –
5346278 s 2
5342786 2 s
6432578 – s s
2348657 s s – s3 part.

Getting a peal length is more difficult, but it is interesting that it is
possible at all using normal calls and no 87s at backstroke.

5152 Cambridge Surprise Major <https://complib.org/composition/48308>
Composed by Graham A C John
2346785 2 s
5438267 – s – s
6348527 s s s
8347562 s –
8345627 s 2
5437862 – s s s
6347582 s s s
7342568 s –
7438625 s – s
8345762 s s s s s
8346275 – s
5436827 – s s
6347825 s s s
7345682 s s –
7346825 2 s
5436782 – s s
6342785 s s s
2348567 – s –
2345678 s 2


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