Compositions of the Decade 8 - Cinques

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A Review by Philip Earis - continued

Cinques feels very claustrophobic at the moment, imprisoned by the irrational and still-increasing proportion of Stedman that is rung at this stage.

By the numbers

11-bell peals are up 9% over the decade compared with the 1990s. However, the real story is the method distribution within these peals.

Peals of Stedman Cinques are up 14%, and indeed now account for about 88% of rung 11-bell peals. The Stedman domination of the stage is increasing apace - peals of Grandsire are down 22% in absolute terms, falling to about 10% of rung cinques peals. Throw in a very small smattering of Erin and Plain Bob, and that completes the show. There is nothing else happening at all. No new methods, no spliced, nothing.

The decade has seen considerable compositional effort within the framework of Stedman, to be sure. Peals contain more musical rows, pay more attention to little bells, and are more varied than the simple stodgy compositional fare served up in the past: 6 and two 19s, and all that sort of thing. Cyclic patches, all “near miss” rows, and so on, seem more of a benchmark than an exceptional feature.

This progress is of course welcome, with the caveat that it’s only welcome where complexity genuinely adds value.


Hitting the wall

The problem is that the current direction of development gets to the point where ever-greater compositional complexity is needed, with the “reward” of arguably ever diminishing future returns. The whole thing about Stedman is that the coursing order gets disrupted by the method. This admittedly gives the advantage that it’s fairly quick to jump between any two rows – something that PABS’ turning course software and related new tools over the decade such as MBD and David Hull’s online “prickers” have helped to master.

However, the consequent disadvantage of the property that it is quick to jump between any two rows is that music in advanced Stedman compositions tends (needs?) to be all about jumping inelegantly between desired sixes, in a “chase the row” style. Lots of bobs to disrupt the flow, lots of inelegant compositional complexity, and then a fleeting effect when the desired six arrives.

As alluded to, an intrinsic property of Stedman is that it is hard to get big-bell and little-bell runs in the same course. The best Stedman compositions of the decade have tried to overcome this in neat, systematic ways with partial success, as we shall see.

However, the method will always be working against the composer.


A new direction?

So what to do? Well, with Stedman I feel the structure of the method naturally leads to some coursing music potential, and there remains further scope for exploiting such effects. Whilst the decade has seen a growing realisation that four consecutive bells coursing does not constitute “tittums”, proper tittums effects – which will of course propagate for more than one six – should still exist.

For example, the following course-ends (amongst many others) should give big bell coursing music around the course-end, with little-bell music around the half course.

2476839105E
2176859403E
6472859103E

However, the real key is for people to broaden their horizons. It’s not even that peals of Stedman are rung because they have a high chance of peal success. “Stedman and score” is not a phrase I’ve heard before.

Following on from the first variable cover peals in the 1990s, the present decade has seen the introduction of spliced cinques and maximus. There is no synergistic effect here. The effect that bolting Stedman onto Bristol gives is much more often parasitic.

Rather, there are unlimited new cinques method possibilities out there, unlimited glorious compositional possibilities unconstrained by falseness. Accepted wisdom is often counter-productive, and there’s no shortage of accepted thought when it comes to Stedman Cinques. More boldness is needed.


1) Little bell Stedman

  • 5074 Stedman Cinques – Philip A B Saddleton
  • 5000 Stedman Cinques – Mark Eccleston – July 2009
  • 5007 Stedman Cinques – Mark B Davies – 2003
  • 5004 Stedman Cinques – Michael P A Wilby – March 2005

These four compositions exemplify some of the compositional progress of the decade, showing how little bells can finally get involved in some of the action.

The cleverest is by Philip Saddleton, a valiant attempt to exploit some intrinsic properties of the method. The composition exudes intelligent design, cycling alternately through runs involving different adjacent groups of four bells in an elegant way, using short courses of 6 sixes.

5074 Stedman Cinques
Philip A B Saddleton

1234567890E  1  3  4  6
-----------------------
908E1234567       a
-----------------------
1490E236587       b        |
-----------------------    |
67E90583412     -  -    |  |
320E9418765     -  -    |  |
8590E761234     -  -    |  |
14E90236587     -  -    |  |
670E9583412     -  -    |  |
3190E248765  -  -  -    |A |
86E90572143  -  -  -  - |  |
230E9145678     -  -  - |  |B
5890E674321     -  -    |  |
41E90327856     -  -    |  |
760E9852143     -  -    |  |
2390E145678     -  -    |  |
-----------------------    |
57E90861342  -  -  -  -    |
140E9238765  -  -  -  -    |
8590E763412     -  -       |
7690E854321       A        |
0E912345678       c        |
-----------------------
2314567890E      3B
-----------------------
a = 9.12.13.14.15.17.18.20.21 (22)
b = 5.6.10.13.14.15 (20)
c = 1.2.5.6.7.8.12.13.14.15.17.18.21.22 (24) Start from rounds as the last row of a quick six

18 1234; 21 4321; 18 2345; 21 5432; 18 3456; 21 6543; 21 4567; 21 7654; 24 5678; 21 8765; 24 6789; 21 9876; 24 7890; 21 0987; 75 80; Each course is 6 sixes except where shown

Mark Eccleston’s neat composition has the footnote “contains little bell runs in every course”, which seems great until you see that said runs tend to be once a course, of the same type in the same place, achieved with blocks which keep the front six bells fixed. However, I think it would be unfair to parody this as essentially analogous to “traditional” compositions which keep the back bells fixed, though – here the back bells get to rotate through a sequence of pleasant course-ends, also.


5000 Stedman Cinques
Mark Eccleston
(3241658709E)
-----------
3241657E098  s13.s15
3241650E897  2
324165E0987  s2.s10.s13.s15
3241657E980  s2.s13
324165E7890  s10.s13.s15.s22
324165E7089  1
3241657980E  1.2.s13.s15.s22
32416587E90  2.22
3241658790E  12.14.15.16.17.18.19    (20)
3241657809E  s2.s10.s13.s15
-----------
325164879E0  2.s6.s10.s13.s15
3251647E098  1.s5.13.14.s15         |
3251640E897  2.s5.s14               |
325164E0987  s2.s5.s10.13.14.s15    |
3251647E980  s2.s5.13.14            | A
325164E7890  s5.s10.13.14.s15.s22   |
325164E7089  1.s5.s14               |
3251647980E  1.2.s5.13.14.s15.s22   |
32516487E90  2.s5.s14.22            |
-----------
315264879E0  s5.9.10.s14
31526487E90    A
-----------
234165879E0  s5.s6.9.10.s14.s16
23416587E90    A
-----------
214365879E0  s5.9.10.s14
-----------
Round with a bob at 1.
Start at backstroke with rounds as the fifth row of a slow six.
First Rung: Birmingham (Cathedral) on 20 Jul 2009

MBD uses what he calls his “Generation Three little-bell block (Q)”. This bespoke block is used once a part to obtain maximum little-bell runs in the same courses as the conventional 78 and 87 “tittums” and 87 handstroke home big-bell positions he uses in his three-part plan.

Each repetition of the Q blocks gives the following run types:

course six runs
    3   4  
        5  2345 back
    4   4  6543 back
        5
    5   4  
        5  65432 hand
    6   4  12345 back
        5  
    7   4  
        5  12345 hand
    8   4  65432 back
        5  

Mark’s Q-block is clearly well-designed, well-employed, and deserves greater attention.

5007 Stedman Cinques (#1)
Mark B Davies
2314567890E  3  6  7  9  12 14 16 18 19
---------------------------------------
12346578E90          (a)
241365             s              -      |
432165             s              -      |
314265             s              -      |
254163             -  s        s  s      | Q
514623                      s  s  s      |
523614             s        s  s     s   |
263154                      s  s  s      |
214365             s        s  s  s  -   |
---------------------------------------
13246587E90          (b)
341265             s              -
423165             s              -
21537486     s     -     -        - 
12537486           s 
12346587     s  s     s  -        - 
21436587              Q
---------------------------------------
1324658709E          (c)
341265             s              -
423165             s              -
21437586     s     s     -        - 
21536487     s  s        - 
125364             s 
123465          s     s           - 
214365                Q
---------------------------------------
a = 1 5 8 9 10 11 s13 14 15 (20 sixes)
b = s2 s7 s13 s15 18 
c = 2 s7 s15 18 
Contains:
23 567890E, 7 near misses, 42 LB5 front & back, 79 LB4 front & back.

Michael Wilby takes a similar approach, using a customised block to generate little-bell runs and applying it to several established back-bell positions. By introducing a few additional turning courses, he also churns out all 10 near misses, and several other notable rows.

5004 Stedman Cinques
Michael P A Wilby
(3241658709E) 1  5  6  7  9 14 16 18 19 
--------------------------------------
3241657890E  2.12.14.16.17.18.19 (20 sixes)
3124         1s.10s.18
2134               -                 s
--------------------------------------
14236578E90  -        s           -    |
532461                -        s  s    |
4352                     s     s  -    |
315264                -  s        s    | A
314265          s  s        s          |
325164                   s           s |
324165          s        s  s     -  - |
--------------------------------------
1342658790E  2.7s.9.10.13s.15.16.18s
--------------------------------------
213465E7908  7s.9s.15.16.18
324165                   A*
--------------------------------------
2351748690E  3s.6.7.12.15s
123475869E0  1.6.7.9.10.16s.18
2143758609E  1.7s.9s.18
--------------------------------------
21346587E90  2s.3.9s.12.15s.18
324165                   A*
--------------------------------------
2134658709E  2.7s.15s.18
324165                   A*
--------------------------------------
A* = A, without - at 1

Start at backstroke with rounds as the fifth row of a slow six.
NB the first call (2) is at the first six end of the peal.
Contains all 10 near misses, tittums, and little-bell rollups.
First Rung: Birmingham Cathedral on 14 Mar 2005

Addition 23/12/9: I think I didn’t use the best examples to illustrate what can be achieved with little bell music. For example the Mark Eccleston composition below includes his ‘A’ block, which arguably has an advantage of the MBD Q-block and Michael Wilby’s block (and the “chase the run” type compositions also), in that it provides little-bell runs mid course, but not at the expense of “nice” course ends. For example, MBD’s Q block moves the 5th and 6th all over the place at the course ends.

Further, the Eccleston A-block also avoids the “chase-the-run” compositional trap by allowing the music to be enjoyed for a more sustained period before and after the course-end. In other words, the music doesn’t risk being lost in the plethora of calls, as can be the case in the fiendish 1-parts such as the DGH 10000 I highlighted.

Mark’s composition illustrates the concept nicely (and is a better example of what can be done with little bell music than his 5000 which I included before):

5004 Stedman Cinques
(3241658709E)
-----------
325164789E0  2.s10.s13.s15.s19
23416578E90  s1.s5.s14.s16.s19
3241         s5.s14.s16
-----------
3251647890E  s6.12.14.15.16.17.18.19 (20)
234165       s5.s14.s16.s19
3241         s5.s14.s16
1234         s1.7.9.10.s16.19
-----------
2134658709E  s2.s7.s10.s13.s15
1423         3.4.s12.16.17.18
12537486     3.4.12.17.s19
1352         s9.s11.s20                    |
124375       s6.s9.s11.s20                 |
2143         s7.s11.s20                    |
16432587     s3.12.s14.s16                 | A
264315       s14                           |
325164       s7.s9.s14.s16.18.19           |
234165       s5.s14.s16.s19                |
3241         s5.s14.s16                    
-----------
1234658790E  s1.7.s9.s16.19
12537486     s3.12.19
23416587       A
3241         s5.s14.s16
-----------
12346587E90  1.7.s9.s16.19
12537486     s3.12.19
23416587       A
324165879E0  s5.s10.s14.s16
-----------
Round with a bob at 1
Start from rounds as the fifth row of a slow six
Contains all near misses; 48 x 23456s; 24 x 6543s; 12 x 9876543s; 9 x 2345s; 9 x 3456s; 6 x 876543s; 3 x 5432s; 3 x 9876s
Rung at Ashton-under-Lyne 04.05.09

I understand that Mark has also composed a peal of 5000 S11 that tries to combine the benefits of the frequent musical sixes brought up in a “turning course” composition with the added benefit of carefully-crafted courses which offer little bell music in the interior of almost all of the courses. Watch this space!


2) “All-in” Stedman Cinques – David Hull – September 2009

Drawing on Stedman trends over the decade, many of which he instigated, David put together a “turning-course dominated” double-peal of Stedman which is a very significant challenge to call. He successfully shows that a peal can generate lots of musical rows of Stedman, with rapid transitions.

Indeed, this composition beautifully exemplifies recent Stedman cinques compositional trends, as well as simultaneously highlights both the intrinsic strengths, limitations and weaknesses of the method.

10000 Stedman Cinques
1234567890E                                           Sixes
123456E9780    S1.4.5.6.7.9.S12.13.14.15.16.17.18      18  
21E90785634    S2.S4.5.6.9.S12.13                      16  
7890E123456    3.4.S6.9.10                             12  
7864523E190    6.8.9.11.13.15                          16  
234567890E1    3.4.6.7.9.10                            12  
2310E896745    6.8.9.11.13.15                          16  
5193276E480    2.6.S8.S14.S16                          18  
5463217890E    1.2.3.5.7.9.10.11.12.16                 18  
23145678E90    1.7.8.9.10.11.S13.15.16                 20  
3421           S16.18  |                                   
4132           S16.18  | A                                 
1243           S16.18  |                                   
E1089674523    S2.4.S6.S13.14.17                       18  
E1352749608    6.8.9.11.13.15                          16  
1E860492735    6.S8.9.11.13.15                         16  
1E234567890    4.6.9.11.13                             14  
1423E098765    3.S5.6.8.S10.11.14.18.20.22.25.27       28  
4312           S16.18                                      
3421           S7.S9.18                                    
4357698E021    6.S8.9.11.13.15                         16  
132540E8967    2.6.9.10.11.S14.15                      16  
1423E975680    3.4.5.S7.8.12.13.S15.17.18              18  
2134               A                                       
213465E7908    1.2.3.4.S5.S7.S9.12.14.15.16            18  
3241               A                                       
3152648709E    S10.S15.18.19                               
31527486       3.4.12.S17                                  
32516487       3.4.12.17.18                                
231465         6.7.S9.18                                   
3421           3.4.S12.16.17.18  |                         
4132           3.4.S12.16.17.18  | B                       
1243           3.4.S12.16.17.18  |                         
21E09876543    6.S8.9.11.13.15                         16  
E9753124680    S1.S4.5.S8.10                           10  
879E0123456    S1.3.7.S10                              10  
786452391E0    5.6.8.S11.12.13.15.16                   16  
E1902345678    S2.4.6.8.9.10.11.12.13.14               14  
E019           18                                          
09E1           S16.18                                      
90E1           S16                                         
908674523E1    6.8.9.11.13.15                          16  
4567890E123    3.4.6.7.9.10                            12  
453120E8967    6.8.9.11.13.15                          16  
0E123456789    3.4.6.7.9.10                            12  
0E978563412    6.8.9.11.13.15                          16  
567890E1234    3.4.6.7.9.10                            12  
1543E276980    S3.4.S6.S9.10.12.S15.18.19.20           20  
213546798E0    1.3.4.6.9.11                            12  
7654321E098    3.4.S7.9.10                             12  
768091E3254    6.8.9.11.13.15                          16  
12345E67890    S1.2.3.4.S11.12.13.14                   14  
43125678E90    1.3.5.10.14.16.17.18                    18  
1423               A                                       
9785634120E    S4.S6.S8.11.12.S14                      14  
E0981234567    6.7.8.9.11.13.15.16.18.20.23.25         26  
674523819E0    2.4.6.8.9.10.11.12.13.14                14  
4362850719E    1.2.4.S6.9                              10  
13E29078564    6.8.10.11.13.15                         16  
14236587       2.S7.8.S11.S14.15                       16  
2134               A                                       
4132E098765    S5.6.8.S11.12.14.18.20.22.25.27         28  
1243           S16.18                                      
2134           S7.S9.18                                    
12537486E90    S1.5.8.11.12.13.14                      16  
124375869E0    S10.S19                                     
2134           S7.S9.18                                    
1234           S16                                         
2134658709E    1.3.4.12.16.17                              
3241               B                                       
0E869472513    S1.2.3.4.6.7.S11.12.13.S15              16  
0E351729486    6.8.9.11.13.15                          16  
089E7654321    4.6.S9.11.13                            14  
2314657890E    S1.S5.S7.9.10.13.S15                    16  
2314568790E    1.S4.5.S7.8.9.S12.S14.15.16.17.18       18  
231465E7908    S1.S4.5.S7.8.9.S11.12.13.14.15.16.17.18 18  
1243               A                                       
23517496E80    3.S12.13.S16.18.19.22                       
Full slow six start.
Rounds in 4 changes.


3) Stedman Cinques on a “magnificent six” plan – PABS – 2003

One of a very small number of compositions of cinques to take a different approach, Philip Saddleton here employs the concepts of the “magnificent 6” caters / royal compositions in a 44-part cinques composition.

Stedman clearly lacks advantages of Erin here, at using the plain method to transition between a row and its reverse. The concept is right, the execution here interesting and elegant without being knock-out.

5016 Stedman Cinques by Philip A B Saddleton
(after P J Earis)
2314567890E
-----------
35179E24680    a
9807654321E    b
-----------
61E72839405    b
12E34567890    a
-----------
11-part
a = 2s.4.5.7.8.11s.14.16s.20 (20)
b = 1s.4s.6.7.9s.12s.16.18 (18)
Queens; Tittums; Back rounds; 

See Also