Project Pickled Egg - Part 24

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Rook and Gaskill Surprise Major

One more method. I could go on forever with this, but the end of the year is approaching and my focus needs to shift to producing books and materials to support this initiative. Also, we have got to the point now where there ceases to be a clear or best path. Anyone who gets this far is pretty well equipped to learn almost anything.

The final method is not a particularly difficult one – Glasgow will remain the most difficult – it is something in the middle. It is called Rook and Gaskill, named after a pub in York, which was in turn named after two sheep rustlers who were found hanging around in the city in 1776. It is a relatively recent method, devised by David Hull and first rung in 2003, and the identification of such a young method supports my belief that this group of methods should be reviewed and updated periodically to follow new trends.

In my initial discussion with the small group who started brainstorming this project, once we got past what have become the Core Seven and a few obvious extras, we started tossing around a number of different styles of method. A couple of paragraphs of my discussion paper were titled “34x58.14 Belfast, Hertford, etc”, and “Something like Sussex 38x58.14.” That the discussion was identifying method styles by the first section of the place notation is something I now want to look at.

Reference to the ‘first section’ is a piece of technical ringing jargon that may not be clear. The vast majority of ringers do not focus on place notation or care too much about it. Even some of the most experienced would be none the wiser when informed that a method starts 38x38.14 and it wouldn’t help them one jot in ringing the method. One can manage perfectly well without this knowledge!

The place notation does however tend to get thought of in ‘sections’, with a section being the rows when the treble is in one dodging position. You need four elements of notation to make a section. For example, the first section of Cambridge Major is x38x14, where x38x causes the dodge, and the 14 takes the treble from 2nds to 3rds place ready to start the second section. The first section can be very helpful to know even if you predominantly learn by the blue line, because it is the quickest way of knowing all the starts and most of the above work (because in the second and third sections there isn’t much room above the treble for variation).

With formulaic methods, particularly on higher numbers, you tend to start seeing patterns emerging in the place notation in the sections beyond the first section. Consider Glasgow for instance, and its most popular extension Strathclyde Maximus. The first section is the same for both methods, the next two sections are the same but without obvious pattern, but the last section clearly becomes a pattern that then generates repetitive work as the treble leaves 5-6.

Glasgow 36x56.14 58x58.36 x14x38 16x16.38

Strathclyde 36x56.14 5Tx5T.36 x14x3T 16x16.3T 16x16.3T 16x16.3T

Note here I have separated the different sections for clarity, and the 8 and T are essentially the same, i.e. the last position in the row.

So, the first section does define the method to quite a degree, and there are some first sections that are much more common and ‘user friendly’ than others. We considered (and included) a few different ones, but the last one I want to include above all others is 38x58.14, usually referred to as that of Sussex.

Rook and Gaskill is Sussex above, a wrong place above work with a start we have not seen before, with this difficulty tempered by a friendly F group lead end order like Lessness and London, and a right place below work. Sussex above work is quite like Whalley (which starts 58x58.14) - both have the pair of parallel Stedman whole turns as the treble gets to 3-4. Whalley is familiar to many as it is one of the more difficult methods in Smiths 23, while Sussex is familiar to rather fewer as it is one of the easier methods in the much more difficult Chandlers 23. Whalley has what was once my favourite pivot bell (how sad is that!), while R&G’s is a bit more static. This start is a good roll-up generator, and with friendly Bc falseness it has good compositional possibilities.

There were some other suggestions for methods with Sussex starts, such as Barbican, but I think R&G introduces this start and backwork in a musical method that doesn’t complicate matters with a difficult below work or unfamiliar lead end order.

Ultimately this project will not be judged by the number of ringers who end up ringing Rook and Gaskill. It will be judged by the number of ringers who adopt the Core Seven as their pathway into Treble Dodging Major and the number of more experienced ringers who put in the effort to help them.

1344 Rook and Gaskill Surprise Major Composed by Brian E Whiting

 2345678 	M	F	B	V	H
 34256   					2
 4735268 			–	–	
 2345678 	3	–	–		–

31 5678s (16f,15b), 6 6578s (6f,0b), 40 crus (22f,18b), 89 4-bell runs (46f,43b), 192 5678 combinations (96f,96b), 31 8765s (16f,15b), Kings, Backrounds.