The X-File (No.35) - November 1998

November saw 19 new methods hitting the peal headlines. The best of the crop come later. Some Major methods just missed out such as Octobre Delight (pretty good but a bit on the false side), Scraptoft Surprise (Catherine Surprise with added falseness – nothing new), Typhoon Delight (pure and simple), and Caterham Hill Delight (the worst above-work imaginable but getting better below the treble). There were three Lincolnshire Royal variations that were never really going to make the cut being low on innovation: Quetzal, Joel, and Xerophyte in increasing order of abstraction. Anyway, onward with November’s best!


lh FCH Rung at On Conductor Page






D E Sibson





Barrow Gurney


A J Cox







R C L Brown







M A Coleman




BEa2c (out)



I Butters


Hadrian’s Wall





S A Wheeler


Lisieux Surprise Major: x5x4.5x2.3x4x45x36.4.7 lh18

Lisieux is this month’s groovy tune from the Sibson stable. It has one of my favourite backworks – a Bristol-style point straight back to another where you originally came from (Zanussi to the Maximus ringers) – which really gets the momentum going around the lead-end with all the music you could wish for. Indeed, the j lead-end group gives a 2 lead course to a home and keeps all the bells moving around very nicely. There is the awkward K falseness but the incidence isn’t too bad so compositions ought to be reasonably straightforward to find. Definitely ‘Method of the Month’ – ring it and see why!

Ebony Surprise Major : 3x3.4x2x6x2x5x4x1 lh12

Tony Cox’s Bristol band continues its theme of mineral methods with Ebony, and another beauty it is too. London above the treble with 6ths made instead of 8ths just before the treble gets to 5-6 and a right-place work below not too far removed (just one place-notation) from Cassiobury. All this produces an excellent program for good music (there are musical opportunities in every lead, either at the front or back) with a recognised method structure that will lend itself naturally to good ringing.

X-File Surprise Major : x3x4.5.2x36x4x25x4x7 lh12

Well, it had to come at some point, didn’t it? To be fair to the others, this one only just made the cut this month with some pretty serious competition from the other Major methods. There are lots of musical possibilities in X-File – we like that – but it’s all a bit static and you get the same things piling up in the same leads. The f method group doesn’t help and you might do better to have a 18 half-lead to move things around. The falseness is a bit hairy too: although ‘only’ BD, it crops up all over the place. I thought BYROC might be due for a justified entrance, but good old-fashioned Washbrook came to the rescue.

Humberstone Surprise Major : x5x4.5x56.3.4x4.5x236x1 lh12

Nothing like the far better Humberstone Delight Major, Humberstone Surprise gets in this month with plenty of music, a clean-proof scale and an unusual lead order. On the down-side, it has that nasty x1236 notation which can be changed to 12.36 but you buy with it some E falseness, so it's probably best left as rung. Clean-proof methods (i.e. those without any tenors together false courses) don’t come up much these days, especially those with any natural music in them, and Humberstone Surprise wins many innovation brownie points as a result.

Oasby Surprise Royal : x3x4x5x6x78x8x4x7.4.58x9 lh12

The only higher-numbers (well, higher then 8 anyway) method to make the review in November is Oasby, and even this doesn’t really constitute anything very original. It’s Cambridge above except that 3rds place-bell stops in 8ths place while the bells at the back continue to dodge. Below, course bells meet in 5-6 and bells work together in 1-2 and 3-4 to produce many 4-bell roll-up possibilities. 6-bell roll-ups on the front should be possible, but you’ll have to work hard to get them. For instance, getting the 7th in 6th place would be a good start for **7890 off the front. Richard Alton hasn’t exploited this idea, but has many of his own to offer in the following composition that they used at Beeston. It’s a bit mucky, but full of interest: front bells and back bells alike.

5040 Oasby Surprise Royal
Comp. Richard I Allton

234567890    1   2  2½  4½   5   7   8   9
452367089                        -   -   -
654329807    -   2                   -
674523890    -               -
243657               -   -               3
645237089        -       2           -
645239807    -                       -
354267890    -   -                   -
23456                            -       3

19 56 & 18 65, 55 7890 front, 20 23456s off back and backrounds.

Hadrian’s Wall Alliance Major : x5x4.5x5.36.4x34.5.34.1 lh18

An Alliance method is one where the treble spends an unequal number of blows in each position of its symmetrical path. In Hadrian’s Wall for example, it treble-bobs everywhere, except at the back where it just plain hunts between its 5-6 dodges. Despite the very large number of possible Alliance methods, very few have been rung. It’s a golden opportunity to invent a new method designed to suit almost any purpose whatsoever – as long as it’s a musical purpose of course! Unfortunately, Hadrian’s Wall, whilst being fairly musical in the grand scheme of things, has an alarmingly large number of those horrid contiguous places to get where it needs to be, so it’s a bit on the ugly side really. We need more Alliance methods – they’re all out there just dying to be rung…..

This file is now closed.


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