The Structure of Palindromic Peals

with special reference to Treble-Bob Major

(including Surprise) composition

by Brian D Price

Dale! Not a bob at one, lad!

An attempt was made, in the final section of Price 1989, to classify palindromes. As was pointed out in that paper, many of the peals of Cambridge Major produced by non-palindromic tree searches turned out to be palindromes, or have a palindromic structure of blocks which can only be linked asymmetrically.

This paper attempts to develop a theory of palindromic structure, answering in part the question of why peals are so frequently palindromes, and presents a rational method of finding and using palindromic structures.

It will be seen that the forms of palindromic systems are much more extensive and diverse than was formerly thought. In Price 1989 it was realised that there were essentially different 2-part palindromes with parthead group [4.07]. Now it transpires that there are four such systems, three of which enable the tenors to remain together, and examples of all three were actually found then. Most of the palindromes issued as special cases of a general (non-palindromic) search for peals, although the one-part palindromes were the result of an exhaustive palindromic search. Some of the systems are amenable to composition with the tenors remaining unparted, but an object of this paper is to attempt an exhaustive survey of palindromic systems in up to 21 parts, giving an example of a peal in each. The process is dependent on the list of groups in Price 1996 being exhaustive also. An example of a 24-part system is also given. Many of the peals cited as illustrations are by no means acceptable musically!


Contributed by: Brian D. Price, 19 Snarsgate Street, LONDON W10 6QP. Contents page for WWW by Don Morrison