The X-File (No.19) - July 1997

'Guildford, we have a problem....' I counted no fewer than 4 new methods this month that were published with quite obviously incorrect place notations. The X-file offices register a complaint! But against whom...? Surely not the composers, fighting hard for a review; and surely not our new, illustrious Editor - first impressions and all that! However, of those correctly printed, this month's selection found very few mid-summer blues-lines and a veritable picnic of fruity tunes to choose from.




Rung at









S Jenner







B G Warwick







S Ibbo







A J Cox





Barrow Gurney


A J Cox


Stamford Bridge





A D Sibson


Midsummer's Eve



Imperial College


O Bailey


Spitalfields Festival Treble Bob Major : 56x56.1x56x1x4x1. lh12

The number of treble-bob major methods is limited by the 18 notation between every treble-dodging section. The number of good treble-bob methods is very limited indeed! This one is the best I've seen yet. Kent-style places in 56 to start off with and mostly treble-bobbing above the treble, with course bells meeting in 1-2 and 3-4 below. There's a bit of wrong-hunting across the half-lead between 3rds and 6ths just to keep the minds on it and plenty of roll-up opportunities at both ends of the change with the tenors together. The absence of tenors together falseness makes a composition rather trivial by today's standards, but that just means the music can flood out. A cumbersome name for a method that deserves good usage, but they got there first, so that's that!

Yarnbrook Surprise Royal : x3x45x56x36x4x3x6x47.58.4x9 lh12

Just squeaking into this month's review is this 'Foundry' method. Yarnbrook is a 4-bell roll-up generator, both at the back with plain-hunting around the lead-end to a 3-pull dodge when the treble's in 3-4 and 5-6, and on the front with plain-hunting on 4 with the odd dodge thrown in. The problems will surround the expected guess-work as to which dodges to miss out, but the end-result is not unappealing in a not very exciting sort of way (if you get my drift......). Not a classic, but probably good in spliced when a different above work is required.

Biggleswade Delight Major : x56x4.5x5.36x4x1. lh18

Bristol above (what else?!) and a mostly right-place (with some Kent-style places in 3-4) below-work give a solid basis for music generation. There are roll-up possibilities in every lead, but the bells working with the tenors vary quite a bit in each course making awkward any objective of musical consistency. On the other hand, the music will be well broken up and arrive unexpectedly in places. BYROC struck again I note, but the O in-course falseness is far from disastrous.

Tyler's Cinques :

Another in the unusual brigade is this new Cinques principle. Each section is divided into two unequal parts: one 3 dodges long and another lasting just a single dodge. There are 2 front works, of effectively equal length, involving the bells in 1-5. This means the bells that met for a 3-pull dodge meet again for a single dodge in the other half of the course. The way you go in is determined by whether you've just done a 3-pull or single dodge in 6-7 so it's fairly easy, and the coursing order is preserved throughout. The late Albert Tyler has produced an interesting variation on the Stedman/Erin theme, and the Caters (and Triples?) versions are all there, ready and waiting.....

Seaborgium Surprise Major : 34x3.6x56x3.4x4.5x4.56.1 lh18

Tony Cox's Barrow Gurney band have combined Chertsey above with Bristol below (with just one place-notation changed) to give Seaborgium - and very fine it is too! Chertsey provides the front-work with the bells in the traditional order for Bristol to do its best and its back-work is interesting and different. Unfortunately, there are 13 in-course false course heads to challenge every pencil-and-paper composer - think how miserable life must have been before BYROC!

Stamford Bridge Delight Royal : x56x4x56x1x4x5.34x34.5.4x4.5 lh10

This was pushing their luck a bit - a peal to celebrate Chelsea's F.A. Cup victory with a peal at Blackburn Cathedral! What's wrong with St Luke's I ask?! Stamford Bridge is a fairly trivial Cornwall variation (only on 10) that gets a mention this month just to remind everyone that Cornwall is as solid a basis for a method as you could ask for. The bells in 1-2 and 3-4 work with each other and swap over at the half-lead so that they get two goes at each set of roll-ups. This feature in a method always gives you something to look forward to later in the lead. To facilitate easy roll-up generation, the bells on the front are all in-course: another one of those cyclical spliced composition candidates me thinks....

Midsummer's Eve Surprise Major : x34x45x56x36x4x3x6x1 lh12

Right-place, unusual above-work, Wembley-esque below-work, and a decent spattering of roll-ups throughout the course. For bands not wanting to tackle anything horrid like wrong-hunting and spikes, Midsummer's Eve will be a breath of fresh air over the compost heap of the more traditional right-place variations. The composer, Al Gorithm, would have had to work hard around the BDO falseness, but, as is often the case, no pain: no gain. I'm not a great fan of the contiguous places in the first two dodging sections, and there will certainly be alternatives to sort this out for the purists amongst us looking for elegance in a method.

This file is now closed.


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