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Stage 2: From "Base Camp" to "K2"

Double Bob Treble Bob Cambridge Surprise London Surprise

Cambridge Surprise Minor

Cambridge Surprise Minor
Place notation: -36-14-12-36-14-56/12

Cambridge Surprise incorporates the maximum amount of plain hunting that is possible in a treble dodging method, and so there is plain hunting between 3rds and 6th place when the treble is in 1-2, and between 1st and 4ths when the treble is in 5-6. The 5ths place half-lead and seconds place lead end make this a crisp method to ring; it moves between the fluid hunting, long place-work and the two-lie-one-5ths-one-lie-two of the symmetrical 3rds place bell. This is a neat method.

Approaches to ringing Cambridge.

A strong ringer will have a preferred technique for learning and ringing a method, and preferences vary according to the experience of the ringer, and according to their natural approach to memorising methods. People who are already competent at ringing Cambridge on towerbells will probably gravitate towards using two blue lines. People who like pictures, will probably use the method structure expressed as a grid. People who like words and numbers will probably home in on the Place Notation.

There is nothing wrong with any of these techniques, properly applied they will all produce the same sound.

"Wot,no rules?!?"
There is a rule: Treble rings Treble Bob Hunting, all other bells do maximum plain hunting up to the limit of the definition of regular surprise methods. The method is too complex for a simple rule to be used as a way of ringing the method.

So,
whilst using double lines, people will see a bit of structure, especially with the lengthy Cambridge places;
when using the grid, being aware of some blue line artefacts is re-assuring;
and using place notation is a shorthand way of looking at the grid, or method structure.
With all of the approaches, there is a general convergence of awareness and understanding of them all, that occurs with practice.

All of the approaches relate the work of the method to the position of the treble and being aware of the position of the treble is a key to success in all Treble Bob, Delight and Surprise methods.

Recent research has shown that short term memory is chemical in nature, and transient (e.g. learn and ring the method in the belfry on a Friday night, forget it by Sunday morning). Long term memory is structural, learning something really well changes the structure of your brain.Refs. 1, 2

So picking up 1-2, you might get away with ringing the method if you're a classy towerbell ringer, and well awake. Otherwise, pick your preferred approach, memorise, and check your memory, be honest with yourself, you will probably know when you do or don't know the method.

Then before you start ringing Cambridge, do spend plenty of time ringing Oxford Treble Bob, get the rhythm of Treble Bob under your skin, ensure that you can see the position of the treble as a guide to the rules of Treble Bob. A confident ability in Oxford T.B. is a strong foundation for right place surprise methods in general.


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Cambridge Places

Cambridge Places

The linkages between the blocks create the neatness of the method. Between the 1-2 and 3-4 dodging the places are 14, and between 3-4 and 5-6 the places are 36. In these places it is one bell which makes all of the thirds and 4ths places. So Cambridge places in the first half lead are:
following the 3-4 down dodge to become 4ths place bell, 3rds, 4ths, dodge 3-4 down with the treble, 3rds, 4ths, dodge 3-4 down for the half lead.

Cambridge Places

In the second half lead, the bell dodging with the bell finishing places down, rings places up, ending as 3rds place bell.

Cambridge places become a major factor in ringing the method, especially if blue lnes are your primary aid to memory.


Method Structure

Approach No 1: Method Structure

The position of the treble can be used to define the work of the other 5 bells. Dodging in 1-2 causes hunting in 3-4-5-6
Dodging in 5-6 causes hunting in 1-2-3-4
Dodging in 3-4 is standard for all regular Treble Bob, Delight and Surprise methods and has the essential structure of a Plain Bob Lead end (-12-).

The transition of the treble between dodging places is the standard (internal) places for a Surprise minor method, 14 for hunting in 2-3, and 36 for hunting in 4-5.

The following diagram shows the Place Notation, change rows (for 1st lead), treble dodging / hunting, and then full grid for the method.

Lead and grid for Cambridge Surprise Minor

Cambridge Cages

The position of the treble and the method structure - "Cambridge Cages":

  • Treble dodging in 1-2: the upper four bells hunt in a -36- cage.
  • Treble hunting in 2-3: the lower four bells (including treble) hunt in a -14- cage.
  • Treble dodging in 3-4; this is a standard treble bob -12-.
  • Treble hunting in 4-5: the upper four bells (including treble) hunt in a -36- cage.
  • Treble dodging in 5-6; the lower 4 bells hunt in a -14- cage.
  • 5ths place half lead, seconds place lead end.

Notes on cages

  • A -14- cage creates a dodge in 5-6, a -36- cage creates a dodge in 1-2.
  • A -36-14- pair of cages, which occurs twice in the first half lead, enables 6th place bell, and then 5ths place bell to hunt all the way from lie to lead.
  • A -14-36- pair of cages, which occurs twice in the second half of the lead enables 2nds place bell and then 4ths place bell to hunt all the way from lead to lie.

Further notes on the method structure

  • The structure (14-12-36) from when the treble leaves 1-2 to when it arrives in 5-6 is standard for all Surprise Minor methods.
  • Cambridge places run from the Lead End to the Half Lead, and the half lead dodge, a reflection point is with the bell that makes the Cambridge Places from the Half Lead to the Lead End.

Let's visit the mind of a ringer, ringing 5-6 to the first lead of Cambridge Surprise Minor, using picture elements of the method structure:

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble dodging in 1-2 up):
Cross in 5-6: H: 5&6 over
Hunt in box:  B: 4&6
Hunt in box:  H: 3&5

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble hunting up in 1-4 box):
Hunt in 3-2, dodge at the back: B: 2&6

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

Treble dodging in 3-4 up:
Cross: H: 1&5
Lead and dodge: B: 1&6
Cross: H: 2&5

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble hunting up in 3-6 box):
Dodge and hunt: B: 1&4

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble dodging in 5-6 up):
Hunt in 14 Box, meet and cross in 2-3: H: 2&3
B: 2&3 over
H: 1&4

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble making 6ths): Dodges: B: 2&3

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble dodging in 5-6 down):
Hunt in 1-4 box: H: 1&4
B: 1&4
H: 2&3

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble hunting down in 3-6 box):
Dodge and 3rds: B: 1&3

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

Treble dodging in 3-4 down:
Cross: H: 2&4
1-2: B: 2&3
Cross: H: 1&4

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble hunting down in 1-4 box):
Box: B: 1&4

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble dodging in 1-2 down):
Cross: H: 2&3
Box: B: 1&3
Cross: H: 2&4

 Cambridge Surprise Minor

(Treble leading):
Lead end: B: 2&3: Place Bells

Further notes on using the method structure
Handbell ringers learn when to cross their bells, how to remain crossed that way, and when to cross back. The crossing points are noted above.
Bells 5 and 6 are not highlit in the graphics above because the graphics are a visual aid to the structure, the structure then defines the movement of the pair, which leads to the all important places in which to ring.

Only when it is right in your head will it come out right on the bells
The process detailed above is repeatedly to:

  • Visualise the structure.
  • Note the impact on the bells.
  • Articulate the places in which they ring.
  • Simultaneously with articulating the places, move your hands up for handstroke and down for backstroke, "seeing" the correct number of bells before and between your pair. Hand movements should be in the correct order.

The process needs to be rehearsed to perfection for all 5 starting positions for each of the 3 pairs of bells.


Double lines

Approach No 2: Double Blue Lines

To use the double blue line (or blue and red lines for 1-2) requires deep familiarity with the work of the method.

Lead and grid for Cambridge Surprise Minor

Notes on 1-2 by Double Blue Lines

Ringing 1-2 in any treble dominated method is a specialist calling, people who are happy on 1-2 are very valuable!

Many people are happy with "places up, long back work, places down". It's sort of easy.
Remembering the lead and dodge for 6ths place bell, and dodge and lead for 4ths place bell can be harder, watch the treble like a hawk.
Go over the 2 leads from 5ths place bell to 6th place bell carefully, it looks obvious, but the bells are well separated in the change rows at the half leads and attention to the striking must not lead to method trips.

Lead and grid for Cambridge Surprise Minor

Notes on 3-4 by Double Blue Lines

Double Place Bells
Cambridge S. Minor, like all methods with Lead End 156342, has a place bell order 3-4-5-2-6- etc., - a natural run except for the position of 2 between 5 and 6. This is helpful to ringing 3-4.
Pair 3-4 start in 3rds and 4ths and progress to 4ths and 5ths at the first lead end.
4ths and 5ths place bells as a pair progress to 5ths and 2nds. etc.

The Double Place Bell order then is an aid to memory potentially helpful either to remembering where you are in the lines, or in recovering from a slip in concentration.

Having a bell making Cambridge places is a blessing, you can usually spare a bit of thinking time for the other bell, the central dodge is always with the treble.
Then the dodge in parallel at the half lead is followed by a bell in the frontwork and the other bell with it; concentrate, this is "crossing ones bells territory".
The central, 2-5 place bells' lead is symmetrical but that's all it has going for it. Having bells well separated as they are is usually cause for hesitations.

Lead and grid for Cambridge Surprise Minor

Notes on 5-6 by Double Blue Lines

The double place bell order is not so easily memorised as that for 3-4, hence is less useful.

The first half lead for 5-6 (and in reverse, the last half lead for 2-4) is a flying lead with both bells hunting all the way from lie to lead but then having a bell in frontwork and a bell in places can be seen as a pleasure. That is followed by a half lead of frontwork and long backwork, quite tricky to strike well. 4-6 pair are symmetrical about the dodge together at the half lead.


Cambridge by Place Notation

Approach No 3: Place Notation

Using only Place Notation (-36-14-12-36-14-56/12) as a guide to the work of the bells; pair 3-4 are picked out below.

Treble in 1-2 up

Cross
3-6
Cross
1-4

3&4 over
3&5
4&6
4&5

Treble in 3-4 up

Cross
1-2
Cross
3-6

3&6
4&5
3&6
3&6

Treble in 5-6 up

Cross
1-4
Cross

4&5
4&6
3&5

Treble in 6ths, half lead

5-6

4&5

Treble in 5-6 down

Cross
1-4
Cross
3-6

3&6
2&5
1&6
2&6

Treble in 3-4 down

Cross
1-2
Cross
1-4

1&5
1&6
2&5
3&6

Treble in 1-2 down

Cross
3-6
Cross
1-2

4&5
4&5 over
3&6
4&5

Lead end

Pitfalls

This mental exercise of working from Place Notation to places occupied can be performed for the 5 starting positions for the pair 1-2, and the 10 positions for two method-work bells. However, there are at least two pitfalls to avoid:

  • The place notation from lead end to half lead tends to be better assimilated than from the half lead to the lead end. Make sure you can say it and see it backwards.
  • Using the Place Notation as a string of symbols is OK, but it's hard to recover from errors. The visual clues from the grid; and position of the treble are valuable recovery tools.

The mental exercise described above should not be undertaken at the same time as other responsible activities such as preparing vegetables with a sharp knife, or driving a motor car, etc.

The above information is sufficient to enable a ringer to ring Cambridge Surprise Minor, however, a deeper knowledge of the method is useful in making a ringer more confident. Time spend looking at the Cambridge places, the Cambridge front work, (2nds place bell to the half lead), and the work of the symmetrical 3rds place bell will all be repaid in quality and enjoyment of ringing the method.


Right place Surprise Minor

Other Right Place Surprise Minor Methods

There are ten methods that comply with the original definition of "regular" surprise minor methods, and that do not include places made "wrong".

Methods closely related to Cambridge: Ipswich, Norfolk and Primrose.
These are all lead end or half lead variations, using either 1-6 or 5-6 at the half lead, and 1-2 or 1-6 at the lead end. Hence the structure notes on ringing Cambridge are very relevant.

"Cousins" of Cambridge:, Bourne, Hull.
These methods have Cambridge above the treble and -34- when the treble is in 5-6, then 3rds place half lead.
So there is some relationship with Cambridge.

Norwich group methods, Westminster, Netherseale, Annable's London and Norwich.
Norwich is a popular method on towerbells being the first "different" method learned after Cambridge. There is little similarity with Cambridge.


References

1. Boyd, Dr. Lara, "Neroplasticity gives you the power to shape the brain you want", TED Talks, Vancouver, November 14th, 2015. See YouTube Video.
Accessed 14th December 2016.

2. Arrowsmith-Young, Barbara, "The Woman Who Changed Her Brain", TEDxTalks, Toronto, April 27th, 2013. See YouTube Video.
Accessed 14th December 2016.