Composition Library is an interactive tool for all change ringers, not just conductors and composers. For example, it can be used to display the blue line of methods and compositions, to keep private collections of favourite or rung methods and compositions, or to create collections of compositions rung for a society during a year. It also has a ranking mechanism - users can give a star rating to individual methods and compositions that will provide a personal and collective measure of their popularity. Methods, compositions and entries in collections can also be linked to BellBoard performances to show when they were first rung, for example. This help provides some more detailed guidance in the use of the site, where this is not necessarily intuitive.


Methods, Compositions and Collections are principal components of Composition Library and Search, View, Print and Add functions are provided. Each is held in a designated Library as follows:

  • CCCBR - Contains the official CCCBR collection of rung methods (only) maintained by the Central Council Methods Committee.
  • Provisional - Contains the unofficial collection of methods (only) that have been rung to quarter peals or in non-compliant peals, maintained by Tony Smith.
  • Public - Contains any methods (not included above), compositions or collections that have been published by Composition Library users.
  • Private - Contains any methods, compositions or collections that have been added to Composition Library by users but not yet published. These remain confidential and can only be searched or viewed by the owner, or by others given a special link by the owner. The link is generated by Composition Library from the view page.

Unless the user specifies a library filter in as search, all libraries will be searched for methods, compositions and collections accessible to them.


Methods are imported regularly and automatically to keep the method libraries up to date. Composition Library classifies the methods and derives the properties of the method. These are shown on the method view page. This shows the method above and below for Hunt methods, as well as the leadhead group, internal falseness and a number of other properties, each of which can be used to search for related methods. A link to compositions composed for the method is also shown on the view page. However, the real power of Composition Library is the ability to search for compositions that work for a particular method even though they were not composed for it. Clicking the Find Composition on the method view page will initiate a background search for compositions that work and are true to the selected method. These compositions, displayed in sequence of musicality, can then be viewed in My Searches. Note however, that this function is only available to Power Users.

Users can give any method a star rating from one to five stars. A weighted average of user's ratings is shown on the view page for the method.


Composition Library stores compositions as a calling and a method calling together with links to the methods used and a definition of the calls. From this compositions can be displayed in a variety of layouts determined by the Composition Layout Options on the Composition Layout tab. Compositions can be laid out in course or by leads. For multi-parts, the first part or all parts can be displayed with any omitted or included calls, and named blocks can be shown or expanded in full. Optionally columns showing coursing orders can be displayed, and Method Mnemonics can also be added even if the composition is not spliced. This is useful to show the number of leads between each call.

Users can give any composition a star rating from one to five stars. A weighted average of user's ratings is shown on the view page for the composition.

Every time a composition is displayed, it is pricked, proved and laid out as requested. Although only true compositions can be added to Composition Library, it is still possible to pair false combinations of methods and compositions. Where this occurs, the number of changes pricked is shown and the falseness is highlighted.

The composition view page shows a wealth of information about the composition, included the whole blue line laid out according to the Blue Line Options, a music analysis, the handbell positions that occur for each pair of bells, properties of the composition such as all the work or every lead different in spliced, or the number of calls of each type used. There is also a tab for any linked performances and references to Composition Library collections.


Collections can contain either compositions, methods or both. They provide a convenient way of collating a set of related methods, such as the Standard 41 Surprise Minor or the Standard 8 Surprise Major. Private collections can be created by individual users to hold their favourite methods, methods they have rung, or methods they wish to share with their band. Similarly collections of compositions can be created. One use might be by society peal secretaries to record the compositions rung by that society in a given year. A BellBoard link can be added to each entry in a collection to provide a cross reference to its published performance. Mixed collections can be created, for example, by a conductor wishing to send a band a link to a spliced composition together with blue lines for all the associated methods. Composition Library also uses collections to create references. For example, references to methods in the Ringing World or Bell News, or as a reference to a printed collection of compositions.

Users can give any collection a star rating from one to five stars. A weighted average of user's ratings is shown on the view page for the collection.

Adding Methods

Users can add their own methods by entering a Name (excluding class), a Stage and a Place Notation using the Method Committee's place notation syntax defined in the Method XML format specification. Clicking the Validate button will check the method, confirm that it does not aleady exist in public collections, classify it, derive its title, and display the blue line. It can then be saved as a private method. Individual users cannot publish methods, but once they have been rung and imported into Composition Library from the CCCBR or Provisional collections, any references to the private method will be changed to the Public method.

Adding Compositions

Users can add compositions they have composed themselves or by others that they or others might wish to ring. When initally saved, they are marked as private until the user explicitly publishes them from the composition search or view page.

One of the easiest ways of determining the correct syntax and input details for a new composition is to find an existing composition that is very similar. When viewing this composition, clicking the Clone composition button in the toolbar to create a new composition and show the edit page with all input copied from the original composition. This can then be amended as necessary to become the composition you wish to submit. A collection of useful example compositions demonstrating different input characteristics can be found here or the collection can be found by typing examples in the Quicksearch.

Compositions can be entered with a minimum of information as Composition Library will derive information where possible.

For example, to input the 5-part composition of 5600 Cambridge Surprise Major by Charles Middleton, one starts by entering the composition title. By convention this should entered without abbreviation as 5600 Cambridge Surprise Major. The add page will immediately identify the Stage, chosen method, coursehead mask, number of extents etc. Being a seconds place method, it will default calls to 'Near'. It will also add Cambridge Surprise Major in the methods list, and will use standard calls if none are provided on the Calls tab. The composer can be added by clicking add Composer, and adding Charles Middleton, selecting as soon as the correct name appears in the typeahead. It is only then necessary to input 13526478 to Parthead, then add the calling in the Calling tab. At present, compositions can only be entered in course layout. In this case, inputting calling heads of M W H in the top row of cells and 2 2 3 underneath the headings is all that is required. The composition layout is continually generated as data is entered. If, when input is complete, the composition is true and of the length specified in the title, the Save button can be clicked to save the composition.

If the composition already exists in electronic form, then the calling can be frequently cut and paste into the Calling Tab with a minimum of editing required.

In order to achieve consistency of presentation, users are requested to adopt a consistent approach to inputting compositions, as identified in the sections below.


Composition titles for single methods are entered as length followed by the method title in full. Alternatively a universal composition can be added by entering length and a universal description, such as Group b methods. It should be noted, however, that all compositions in Composition Library are treated as universal in extended searches, so this is not as necessary or as useful as it would be in a printed collection. Spliced compositions are input as length followed by x-Spliced Surprise Major. Composition Library will use this to derive the stage, although each of the method titles will have to be entered via the Methods tab. If the composition has an identifying name, such as 'Nottingham 8' this should be included in parentheses after the title.


Typically this is just a number assigned by the composer, but it can be a name. Do not include the text No. or Number.


Selected from the dropdown list, or derived from Title. The methods in the dropdown list on the Methods tab will be filtered by this Stage.

Composer Details

Multiple composers can be added by clicking 'Add Composer' for each. The dropdown has options for Composed By, Jointly Composed By, Arranged By and Generated By. If two composers worked on the same composition, then it is appropriate to use 'Jointly Composed By' for both. If two composers produced the same composition independently with unknown provenance then adding 'Composed By' for both is appropriate. If computer generator is to be credited, then for example add Generated by SMC32, Arranged by Albert Smith, as it is preferable to know the source of the composition in these cases.

To avoid duplication/fragmentation of Composer names, please be careful to choose the existing version of the composer's name from the dropdown. A warning is issued with possible existing combinations of names and initials that might match. If it is genuinely a new name, then ignore the warning.

Date Composed

Often this is not known, but if it is, including it might help with future disputes of provenance.


For a simple multipart cycle, only the first parthead is needed, entered as a complete row such as 1235647890ET. The other partheads from the cycle will be derived (1236457890ET and 1234567890ET in this case). If there is more than one cycle, such as in a six part composition, enter two partheads separated by a comma e.g. 12356478, 12346578. Once the whole cycle of the first parthead has been generated, these partheads will be transposed by the second parthead to generate the remainder. In more complicated cases care is needed, as the sequence of transposition can matter and it is important not to generate transpositions that are not in fact partheads.

Where a parthead affects the observation bell for the calling, care must be taken to match the parthead, coursehead masks and calling positions. Compositions with variable observation are not consistently presented in printed collections. In some cases the calling positions relate to the observation bell in the initial parthead and sometimes they relate to the observation bell in the parthead at the end of the first part. Composition Library uses the latter by convention. It is often worth cloning an existing similar composition to see how it was input in the composition editor. For example in Norman Smith's 23-Spliced use the 4 as the observation for the calling positions in the first part by entering the calling HWWWHHH. Combining this with a parthead of 15738264 and xxxxxxx4 for Coursehead Mask to show that the 4 is in 8ths place for the courseheads in the first part achieves the desired result. Composition Library will then automatically transpose both the observation bell and coursehead masks for the other parts.

Coursehead Mask(s)

This field tells Composition Library which leadheads should also be identified as courseheads. For tenors together compositions, the default is normally sufficient. Where the tenors are affected, masks should match the courseheads and only the courseheads. This is especially important where the calling is entered by lead position in the course (3,4,5 etc) as is common with Grandsire and Stedman e.g. xxxxxxxx90E, xxxxxxxxE90, xxxxxxxx09E, xxxxxxxx9E0 where x is any bell. Composition Library uses the coursehead mask to determine the end of the course, and may not count the leads to the next call correctly if a coursehead mask is wrong.

Start Row Number

This field defaults to zero for normal leadhead starts. If you start a composition from the backstroke snap, this would be entered as 2. The first method in the composition will then commence from the second change.

Backstroke Start

If this check box is ticked, the composition starts at backstroke. This can affect music counting which is stroke specific, such as wraps or 87s at backstroke. It also affects Handstroke and Backstroke in the Blue Line view, when the show handstroke/backstroke option is selected.


The number of extents is automatically derived from the length in the title together with the stage e.g. a title of 1260 Plain Bob Minor will derive 2 for extents. This is used to set the maximum number of extents in multi-extent proving. Note however, that a composition will be marked as false if more than one extent is incomplete. Conversely, a composition would still be shown as true if extents is 2 but all the rows only occur once.

Default Calls

This dropdown selection identifies the standard call types available by default. The standard calls for each type are shown below:

  • Near
    • Doubles: Bob -=145, Single s=12345
    • Minor: Bob -=14, Single s=1234, Double d=123456, BobSingle b=1456, BigBob x=16
    • Triples: Bob -=147, Single s=12347, BobSingle b=14567, BigBob x=167
    • Major: Bob -=14, Single s=1234, Double d=123456, BobSingle b=1456, BigBob x=16
    • Caters: Bob -=149, Single s=12349, BobSingle b=14569, BigBob x=189
    • Royal: Bob -=14, Single s=1234, Double d=123456, BobSingle b=1456, BigBob x=16
    • Cinques: Bob -=14E, Single s=1234E, BobSingle b=1456E, BigBob x=10E
    • Maximus: Bob -=14, Single s=1234, Double d=123456, BobSingle b=1456, BigBob x=18
    • etc
  • Far
    • Doubles: Bob -=3, Single s=345, Double d=12345
    • Minor: Bob -=16, Single s=1678, Double d=145678, BobSingle b=1456, BigBob x=14
    • Triples: Bob -=5, Single s=567, Double d=34567
    • Major: Bob -=16, Single s=1678, Double d=145678, BobSingle b=1456, BigBob x=14
    • Caters: Bob -=7, Single s=789, Double d=56789
    • Royal: Bob -=14, Single s=1234, Double d=123456, BobSingle b=1456, BigBob x=16
    • Cinques: Bob -=9, Single s=90E, Double d=7890E
    • Maximus: Bob -=14, Single s=1234, Double d=123456, BobSingle b=1456, BigBob x=18
    • etc
  • Grandsire
    • Doubles: Bob -=3.1, Single s=3.123
    • Minor: Bob -=36.16, Single s=36.1236
    • Triples: Bob -=3.1, Single s=3.123
    • Major: Bob -=38.18, Single s=38.1238
    • etc
  • Stedman (also provides a default quick and slow six definition)
    • Triples: Bob -=5, Single s=567
    • Caters: Bob -=7, Single s=789
    • etc
  • Mixed or None
    • None


A free text field for adding composer notes. Calling notes, such as the place notation of a non-standard call, or the replacement, omission, or inclusion of calls in particular parts are generated automatically. Unlike paper collections it is unnecessary to add notes saying a composition is true to other methods, or quantify musical properties, as Composition Library provides this information for all compositions.

Performance/Bellboard Reference

Enter either Rung or First Rung from the dropdown and add the Bellboard Id to provide a link to Bellboard from the composition. The Bellboard Id is the number shown in the URL when the performance is viewed on Bellboard.

Calling Position

The default calling position mnemonics are shown with the position of the observation (where n is the stage) after the call has been made as follows:

  • H - Home (n)
  • W - Wrong (n-1 for even stages, n-2 for odd stages)
  • M - Middle (n-2 for even stages, n-1 for odd stages)
  • I - In (2)
  • B - Before (3 or 2 where the call has 2nds place made e.g. at a 1234 Single)
  • O - Out (3)
  • T - Thirds (3)
  • F - Fourths (4)
  • V - Fifths (5)
  • X - Sixths (6)
  • S - Sevenths (7)
  • E - Eighths (8)
  • N - Ninths (9)