Notes to the Central Council Methods Library

The Central Council Methods Library is maintained using the Composition Library website, and that provides the easiest way to search for and view methods by their blue line or grid. You can also use it to find suitable compositions, classify new methods and check the validity of the proposed names.

In addition, files containing method lists to view, or download for use with spreadsheets or computer programs, are usually generated once a week, and are archived in a Central Council repository on GitHub for direct access through these pages. There are three different formats provided and these are explained further below:

Text Format Files

Text format provides simple lists for browsing or pasting into a spreadsheet or database.

Separate files are provided for each Method Class and Stage, and these can be viewed directly in a browser by clicking on the link. They are presented as simple html files to ensure the browser does not wrap the text. In addition a single zipped file containing all methods (i.e. all Classes and Stages) is provided for download.

The single Class and Stage files are laid out in columns that are both tab separated and space separated to a fixed width. This means that the columns will be aligned when displayed in a browser or text editor, and will also paste or import correctly into the columns of a spreadsheet or database. The fixed column width means that the data in some columns has to be truncated, for example extremely long method names or references. The presence of an ellipsis (...) at the end of the column indicates where the data has been truncated. If full data is needed, use the all methods file.

For easy transfer to a spreadsheet in formatted columns, Select All (typically CTRL-A or CMD-A) on the web page of place notation and Copy (CTRL-C or CMD-C), then in the spreadsheet, click Paste Special and choose Paste as Text.

The all methods file is only tab separated, as use with a spreadsheet or database is assumed. No data is truncated in this file.

The files are UTF-8 encoded to support the limited range of Unicode characters used in Method names (see Method Name Syntax for details). UTF-8 is very widely supported by applications, but if you require a simpler encoding, try the MicroSiril format as that is restricted to the ASCII character set.

The data is laid out in columns as follows:

A unique identifier for the method
The method title, omitting the common classes and stage if shown in the heading of the file
First rung
The date [yyyy-mm-dd] the method is first recorded as being rung in a qualifying published performance, whether that be an extent, touch, peal, quarter peal; on its own or in spliced
References, including:
- Bell News [BN: Vnn/ppp ppp Vnn/ppp ppp]
- Ringing World [RW: yyyy/ppp ppp yyyy/ppp ppp]
- Treble Dodging Minor Methods collection [TDMM: nnnn]
- Plain Minor Methods collection [PMM: nnnn]
The tenors together False Course Heads for methods with Plain Bob leadheads
The number of bells
The symmetry of the method, using the initial letter of the following symmetry types. 'D', 'P' & 'R' will frequently occur together:
A - Asymmetric
D - Double symmetry
P - Palindromic symmetry
R - Rotational symmetry
Contains 'Y' if it is a Little method (the principal hunt bell does not ring in every place)
Lead Length. The length of a lead of the method and the number of changes represented by the place notation
The Leadhead Code or Leadhead Row if not coded
The full Place Notation for a lead of the method

MicroSiril Format Files

The MicroSiril format has been used to import methods into computer programs since the 1980s and although it has limitations, it is still widely used. For example MicroSiril files can be imported by Abel, BelTower, MethodMaster and a number of other applications. Its place notation format is also widely supported, including the online peal prover of BellBoard.

Methods of each combination of stage and class grouping is held in a separated file in ASCII format. The files are named according to the convention below, where n is the Stage:

An - Alliance methods
Dn - Delight methods
Hn - Hybrid methods
Jn - Jump methods
On - Principles
Pn - Plain methods
Sn - Surprise methods
Tn - Treble Bob methods
TPn - Treble Place methods - A Zip file containing all the other files

Each method is recorded on a separate line using fields as follows, separated by a single space:

Method Name
The method title without the stage and common classes of the file. Any Unicode characters in the name are converted to lower case ASCII format with a leading Capital letter, and all spaces are removed. Leading numbers are prefixed by 'Number'.
Leadhead Code
The Leadhead Code or where there is no leadhead code a 'z' followed by the leadend change is used
Place Notation
The Place Notation for the method in MicroSiril format, omitting the leadend change that can be inferred from the Leadhead Code

XML Format Files

The XML format is the newest and most comprehensive format available, and is ideal for use with any new ringing software being developed. As well as the place notation for each method, it provides method properties, such as False Coursehead Groups, symmetry and hunt bell path, as well as details of the first performance on tower bells and handbells. For full details of the format, you can download the Central Council's XML Method Specification.

Each method tag is given a unique ID corresponding to the method ID used in Composition Library prefixed by 'm'.

Implementation of the CCCBR Framework for Method Ringing

Version 1 of the Central Council Framework for Method Ringing became effective on the 1st June 2019, superseding the Central Council Decisions, which were last modified in 2017. Since then, methods have been classified according to the Framework and pre-existing method titles were updated where appropriate. In summary:

  1. The Slow Course classification was retired so these methods are now classified as either Bob or Place. The word 'Slow' was added to the method name where necessary to maintain uniqueness of the new title.
  2. Non-method blocks were retired, and are now classified in the same way as any other method. The word 'Block' was added to the method name appropriate to its given name.
  3. The Hybrid classification was retained, but 'Hybrid' and 'Little Hybrid' are no longer used in the method title. The suffix 'II' was added to a name where there would have been a title clash with another method.
  4. Short course methods, where working bells are in equal length cycles, are no longer classified as Differential.
  5. Methods with hunt bell symmetry about a row rather than a change were reclassified from Hybrid to either Alliance or Treble Place, as applicable.
  6. A Jump class was added for recording methods containing jump changes.

A full list of methods retitled by those changes can be found here.

Jump and Dynamic Methods

Jump methods are defined using an extended place notation described in the Framework for Method Ringing. They are provided in separate text, microSiril, and XML formats, but have been excluded from the XML All Methods file to allow time for app developers to handle the extended notation.

Dynamic methods do not yet have an adopted notation. They are currently defined in descriptive form in the text format collection only.


If you have any queries or comments regarding methods, the methods library, or the Framework for Method Ringing, the CCCBR Technical & Taxonomy Workgroup will be pleased to answer them. Please email

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