this page describes

TouchStone v3.4


TouchStone was one of the first two proving programs for Windows. It was a very powerful tool when it was created, having three different techniques for defining a touch that could be combined freely, and there have been significant additions since then.

The internal structure of the program imposes a limit of 16 on the number of bells and 40320 on the number of changes. Other reserved areas may be increased in the light of experience. The program allows up to 50 different methods (or portions of work) to be included in a single composition, though so large a number would prove inconvenient. A simpler program, Do165, will cater for up to 200 different leads of Major or 160 of Royal, and this is a better way to deal with these exceptional cases.

At the simpest level, the program admits four kinds of call, but this may easily be increased by duplicating a method notation and having different calls for the duplicates. The types of calling are:

  1. by tenor. This is the simplest and leads to a 'calling string' of the form {BHMMH}2 as instanced above.
  2. by place bell. This allows old style compositions such as the following Grandsire fragment:

    7 in single and out at 2 single
    8 in & 2
    9 in & 2
    9 in & 2
    (89)
    9 in & 2


    to be dealt with in a quite straightforward way; and likewise oddities such as the Diary 1280 of Grandsire Triples 'by the bells before' 4bb 5bb 6 7 2 3 4 5 for 1456723 et seq.
  3. numerical. This deals with most 'modern' descriptions of odd bell methods; there are some neat ways of dealing with the varying course lengths that are a feature of peals and the longer touches.
  4. A 'splinter' call is an available addition to these types, and provides for half lead calls and a number of other effects (eg changing from Kent to Oxford with the treble in 3/4 down).

The work to be rung is identified by characters chosen when the methods are selected from the library. For, say, a peal of Cambridge this could be just C , the need for repetition of the lead being understood. Occasionally one needs to link from the calling string to the work string to avoid what would otherwise be some very careful counting in spliced compositions (say of Stedman Cinques and Bristol Maximus), and there is a technique for this.

The material to be downloaded is in zip format. Click on the icon to initiate unzipping. You will be asked where to place the unzipped material; most simply, prepare a folder

c:\My Documents\jrt

for this purpose. There are three folders, tchstn, library, and defaults, and a ReadMe text file. Click here to download TouchStone. The suggested BRF donation is 10.

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