Tuesday 26th March 2019
A peal in four twin-hunt Minor methods was rung for the Guild at Grundisburgh on 14th August 2008, conducted by Stephen Pettman. Three of these had not been rung and named before. Under current naming conventions the names are pre-determined by the parent Doubles method.
Every plain single-hunt Doubles method has a Minor equivalent derived under the Central Council Decisions on Extension by adding an additional hunt bell. Until recently, only three twin-hunt plain Minor methods derived from plain Doubles had been named. These were Grandsire, Reverse Canterbury, and St Thecla Bob. The Grundisburgh peal therefore doubled at a stroke the number of named twin-hunt Minor methods.
My initial aim, some years ago, was to ring an extent of St Simon's Bob Minor, as a novelty. However, finding an extent proved elusive. Although there are many extents of Grandsire Minor, they do not work for other methods. Roger Bailey, whom I consulted over a pint one evening after a lost handbell peal attempt, pointed out one of the reasons, being that a bobbed lead of Grandsire Minor is symmetrical about the treble’s path and is therefore only false against the same lead rung backwards. This means that, just as for methods such as Plain Bob, the 120 possible bobbed leads of Grandsire Minor may be divided into two mutually true groups of 60, and the group containing rounds can be joined together by plain leads and singles to derive the extent. In St Simon's, because of the lack of symmetry, every lead is false against not just one but four leads. In this method, the internal falseness does not resolve into sets in such a way as to yield 60 mutually true leads, and therefore one cannot derive the extent - not in full leads and with conventional calls, anyway. This was kindly confirmed by Eddie Martin of Washington in a discussion on one of the online lists.
Roger Bailey also pointed out that asymmetry alone does not necessarily preclude the derivation of an extent as calls (which of course do not have to be at the lead-end) may be available to obviate the asymmetry. That is how extents of Grandsire work, and it is also what was done with Reverse Canterbury and St Thecla. However the calls to do that with St Simon’s would be of mind-boggling complexity, beyond this particular mere mortal anyway.
Attention therefore shifted to looking for a 1440. This can be done by creating a touch with all 120 possible leads. Such a touch contains the extent twice - once in the first half-lead and once in the second.
This can be demonstrated as follows. For a plain method that is symmetrical about the treble's path, 60 of the 120 leads are the other 60 rung backwards. So, if one starts with the first half of a lead of (say) Bob Minor taken from one of the two groups of 60 leads, the rows in the second half-lead may be obtained either from the second half-lead of that lead, or from the first half-lead of the counterpart lead in the other group of 60. It follows that the first halves of all of the 120 possible leads of a plain Minor method must together contain the extent as they represent both half-leads of a group of 60 mutually true leads. That will also be true of asymmetric plain methods as this logic is not affected by anything that happens in the second half-lead. Similarly, the second half-leads of the 120 possible leads must also contain the extent - since they are the first half-leads of the different asymmetric method that one would obtain if one wrote out the rows of the lead in reverse.
There is no obvious call to use for those of the twin-hunt Minor methods that are not Grandsire above the treble, so a composer can choose something simple. A composition was derived using a single made in 2-3 at the treble’s lead, and this was rung to New Bob in the Grundisburgh peal (see below). The basic structure is that the tenor is called into and out of the hunt with singles, giving a five-lead course and a twenty-lead round block, and then to shunt 2, 3 and 4 around using singles so as to join together six such blocks to give the 120 leads. This model seems to be capable of rearrangement for all twin-hunt Minor methods except those with 1456 made as the treble leads. The composition would still generate each row twice for those methods, but every bell would lie still at a call and Central Council Decisions do not allow that in a peal. A simple alternative example, using two types of call, is appended to this note.
Although the composition described above works equally well for St Simon’s or St Martin’s, Grandsire calls seemed more fitting for these methods. The composition rung to both at Grundisburgh was produced by arranging bob courses joined by Q-sets of four plains. Because the 120 possible leads may be divided into one set of three leads (the bob course) and thirteen sets of nine leads (each Q-set inserted lengthens the touch by nine leads), the double extent may be obtained on this plan without the need for singles. The first composition produced after proving that this was possible was a rather scary one-part. The simple 8-part used at Grundisburgh was discovered soon afterwards.
As well as the possibility of extending the universe of named twin-hunt Minor methods, there is scope for interesting splicing of otherwise unrelated methods, since the treble and the hunt bell can be used to perform a two-bell splice. A J Pitman produced a peal of spliced Grandsire and Oxford Bob Triples based on this idea, so it is not new. A more conventional two-bell splice, familiar from Doubles and plain Minor, is also available for methods which consist of a frontwork and a backwork, though the scope for this is limited because the hunt bell gets in the way.
Many of the possible twin-hunt Minor methods are of doubtful merit, so the absence of a simple composition is probably not the only reason why they have never been rung! However several look quite enjoyable and might be an interesting alternative to the standard fare in a peal of Minor, or for a quarter-peal of something different.
A more detailed article is also under preparation for possible publication in the Ringing World.
James Smith, Hong Kong, September 2008
62543 S |
46235 S | A
Six-part, omit final single at end of 3rd and 6th parts.
Single = 1234
8-part, omit -* in alternate parts.
Bobs as Grandsire Minor.
24-part, calling Extreme at * in every fourth part.
Single = 1234 Extreme = 12
Method: 36.1456-16-36-36-16-1456 125364