[r-t] Spliced Plain Major

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Thu Mar 5 09:47:09 GMT 2020

Last night we rang Don's quarter of spliced plain major in 8 
methods from p72 of the RW diary.  Possibly the first time 
it's been rung?


It was probably the first time I'd rung spliced plain major, 
at least to anything more ambitious than Plain and Little; I 
suspect that was true of some of the rest of the band too. 
Everything happens very quickly if you're used to ringing 
surprise, but I enjoyed it and over some Szechuan food 
afterwards, we decided we were keen to try some more of it 
(the spliced, that is, not the food – well, maybe that too).

As someone who usually rings round the back, I like the 
cyclic seven-part format, as it means I get to ring 
everything too, rather than being stuck ringing one or two 
leads.  However a search of Complib and Don's website 
doesn't turn up anything.  Would any of the composers on 
this list be up for producing something?

You need 12 leads per part, one of which could be little, 
possibly plus a link method.  At this stage, I don't think I 
want 12 completely different methods or every lead 
different, and I'm fairly ambivalent whether the composition 
should have 12 (or 13) methods with a few simple variants 
(e.g. Double Norwich and Double Oxford, St Clements and 
Childwall, or Plain Bob and Reverse Canterbury), or whether 
we should have some methods repeated.

I broadly liked the selection of methods we rang last night, 
though with hindsight I wouldn't have included both Highbury 
and Edmonton, and more than one lead of Double Oxford – a 
fairly tedious method on eight – felt a bit unnecessary. 
Double Coslany and Double Sandringham are both very elegant 
methods that I'd like to ring again.  I think there would be 
scope for including another more spikey method.  Other than 
Double Bob and Double Mancroft (the hl/le variant of Double 
Coslany), there are no other double methods, but there must 
be some other good methods out there, possibly still 
unnamed.  It feels like plain major is still a relatively 
unexplored realm.

In terms of structure, obviously you could use calls to get 
the cyclic part ends.  An excursion of mega-tittums and back 
is an option, but I find that works much better on twelve 
than eight.  The other option is to use a link method such 
as Martyrs Link – with an even number of changes per part, 
please!  I quite like this with surprise, but with 12 leads 
of plain per part, you cannot stay in the same course.  You 
could include two leads of method(s) that swap two pairs in 
the coursing order to invert four coursing bells and give 
you 5678s off the front and 8765s at the back.  Reverse 
Canterbury and St Nicholas and suitable methods for that 
role and are nice and simple.  Not sure how well that would 
work in practice, but the idea of composition with only 
plain leads seems appealing.

Does anyone fancy seeing what can be done along these lines?


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