Group name - Hull Handbell Change Ringers

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  Plain Bob Major

Plain Bob Major on Handbells

Introduction

Plain Bob Major is a pure extension of the concepts of Plain Bob Minor to 8 bells. Plain Hunting on 8 bells requires 16 change rows, and with 7 working bells the plain course of Plain Bob has 7 X 16 = 112 changes.

However, the extent on 8 bells is 40,320 changes, a length which has been rung and is well embedded in the record books. In normal circumstances a selection of changes is made and various criteria, musicality, composition complexity, interest, separation of handbell pairs can be used in selecting what touch is to be rung.

Ringing Plain Bob Major on handbells is in some ways easier than Plain Bob Minor, and in some ways harder.

Harder, because there are more bells to "see" and work amongst, often with a tighter rhythm than on 6.

Easier in that there is more time between dodges, the patterns stay in place longer and course bells are more valuable. Easier also in that touches can be geared to satisfy the needs of individual ringers, and also that a mistake affects only 25% of the bells rather than 33%.

Hence Plain Bob Major on handbells is more stable and more musical than Plain Bob Minor.


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Structure

The Structure

Plain Bob Major has 7 leads of plain hunting in the plain course, each lead being 16 changes long. It is important to ensure that the band has the skill to ring the hunting patterns before tackling the dodges and the method as a whole. The patterns are defined by the crossing points, viz: 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-5.

An alternative definition of the patterns is by their maximum separation inside the pattern.

Crossing placesPattern nameMaximum Separation
1-2 / 7-8 Coursing1
2-3 / 6-7 2-3 Pattern3
3-4 / 5-6 3-4 Pattern5
4-5 / 4-5 Opposites6

NB. Many writers us the phrase "2-3 position" where we use the less ambiguous phrase "2-3 pattern".


Handbells Approach

Approach to Plain Bob Major on Handbells

There is no substitute for knowing the hunting patterns by the positions of the bells inside the changes.

However, in Plain Bob Major, great use can be made of the before and after coursing bells as an aid to fitting in with the rhythm and speed of the ringing, and as an extra help should any trips occur.

1-2 is a specialist pair being characterised by constantly changing hunting patterns.

3-4, 5-6 and 7-8 are in some ways similar in structure in that the hunting pattern for each pair changes twice in the plain course, and this occurs when one of the bells makes seconds place. The positions in the coursing order and the relationship with the treble determine the hunting pattern.

We have used the phrase “halfway change”. This is on the central half lead of the course where 1-2 is in opposites. The change rows are:

23456781
24365871

The first row is rounds with treble shifted to 8ths place, and then as 1-2 complete the lead and lie, the other three pairs of bells cross over. This is also the lead when 7-8 are coursing with the treble in between them.


1-2

Description of the pairs

Because the treble is a hunt bell the work of 1-2 is unique whereas the other three pairs have similarities.

Ringing 1-2 to Plain Bob Major

1-2 is very similar on all numbers of bells from 4, minimus, upwards. There is 1 fixed bell, 1 working bell. The hunting pattern changes whenever the working bell dodges, otherwise it stays the same. In the plain course of plain bob major on 1-2, the hunting pattern changes every time the treble leads other than when the working bell bell makes seconds.

The use of coursing order by the ringer of 1-2 requires a slightly different approach to the other pairs. The working bell, No 2, has a course bell and after bell which stay fixed unless altered by a call. In the Plain Course, these bells are 3 (course bell) and 4 (after bell). So the working bell is fixed in the coursing order whilst the treble jumps one position left at each lead end. That jump increases the distance between the pair until opposites is reached, and then decreases the separation until they come back together coursing 1 apart.

So the hunting patterns in order, for 1-2, are:
Coursing, 2-3 pattern, 3-4 pattern, Opposites, 3-4 pattern, 2-3 pattern, coursing.

Lead NoHunting Pattern Lead End WorkPlace Bells
1 Coursing 3-4 Down 1 & 4
2 2-3 Pattern 5-6 Down 1 & 6
3 3-4 Pattern 7-8 Down 1 & 8
4 Opposites 7-8 Up 1 & 7
5 3-4 Pattern 5-6 Up 1 & 5
6 2-3 Pattern 3-4 Up 1 & 3
7 Coursing 2nds1 & 2

A good 1-2 ringer is a major asset to any handbell band.

The ringer of 1-2 needs to be very reliable when ringing quarters or peals, as the dodging work of all the pairs is defined by the lead of the treble.


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3-4

The "inside" pairs

The consistent aspect of all three pairs is that they have two types of hunting pattern in a plain course, and the pattern changes whenever one of the working bells makes second’s place.

Ringing 3-4 to Plain Bob Major

3-4 has two leads hunting 5 apart, and 5 leads hunting 3 apart.

The plain course splits the two leads of 5 apart to being the first lead and last lead of the course. The nature of 5 apart is that 2 of the five are fixed, and the other three change from row to row. In the plain course, the two fixed bells are bells 1 and 2.

Once one of the pair has rung the 5 apart lead and made seconds over the treble, the treble is then no longer hunting inside the pair and they come closer together, hunting 3 apart, leaving only bell no 2 fixed between 3 and 4.

Adding in more details: ("M&X" = "Meet and Cross")

Lead Pattern Description Work at Lead End Place Bells
1 3-4 X in 3-4 (4 first),
M&X 5-6 (3 first)
2nds & 5-6 Down 2 & 6
2 2-3 M&X 2-3 (4 first),
M&X 6-7 (3 first)
Dodge in parallel 3-4 & 7-8 Down 4 & 8
3 2-3 M&X 2-3 (4 first),
M&X 6-7 (3 first)
Scissors back together:
5-6 Down & 7-8 Up;
Touch in 6-7, go apart
6 & 7
4 2-3 M&X 2-3 (4 first) Touch in 6-7,
Scissors apart,
5-6 Up & 7-8 Down
8 & 5
5 2-3 M&X 6-7 (3 first),
M&X 2-3 (4 first)
Dodge in parallel 3-4 & 7-8 Up 7 & 3
6 2-3 M&X 6-7 (3 first),
M&X 2-3 (4 first)
2nds & 5-6 Up 5 & 2
7 3-4 M&X 5-6 (3 first),
M&X 3-4 (4 first)
X Back to dodge together 3 & 4

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5-6

Ringing 5-6 to Plain Bob Major

5-6 pair has four leads hunting 5 apart, and 3 leads in opposites or symmetrical pattern.

The 4 leads at 5 apart are split evenly in the plain course 2 at the beginning and 2 at the end. As for 3-4, when a pair is 5 apart, there are two fixed bells in between, and for 5-6 in the plain course, those two bells are 7 and 8.

After the first 2 leads, 5 makes seconds, and the treble is then also between 5 and 6 and, as there are then only three other variable bells (1, 7, 8 fixed), 5-6 pair goes into symmetrical work, starting at 2nds and 7ths places.

At the end of 3 leads in opposites, the treble escapes and the pair go back to 5 apart, and the eventually dodge together in 5-6 at the end of the plain course.

Adding in more details: ("M&X" = "Meet and Cross")

Lead Pattern Description Work at Lead End Place Bells
1 3-4 X in 3-4 (4 first),
M&X 5-6 (3 first)
2nds & 5-6 Down 2 & 6
2 3-4 M&X 2-3 (4 first),
M&X 6-7 (3 first)
Dodge in parallel
3-4 & 7-8 Down
4 & 8
3 Oppos. M&X 2-3 (4 first),
M&X 6-7 (3 first)
Scissors back together: 5-6 Down & 7-8 Up; Touch in 6-7, go apart 6 & 7
4 Oppos. M&X 2-3 (4 first) Touch in 6-7,
Scissors apart,
5-6 Up & 7-8 Down
8 & 5
5 Oppos. M&X 6-7 (3 first),
M&X 2-3 (4 first)
Dodge in parallel
3-4 & 7-8 Up
7 & 3
6 3-4 M&X 6-7 (3 first),
M&X 2-3 (4 first)
2nds & 5-6 Up 5 & 2
7 3-4 M&X 5-6 (3 first),
M&X 3-4 (4 first)
X Back to dodge together 3 & 4

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7-8

Ringing 7-8 to Plain Bob Major

7-8 is a coursing pair, staying 1 apart for 6 leads, and going 3 apart for 1 lead. In the 3 apart lead, the fixed bell between 7 and 8 is the treble. For 6 leads of the course, 8 courses down after 6 with 1 bell in between. The other lead is when the treble intervenes, and that happens after the 8 has made 2nds at the lead end. For 6 leads out of 7, 7 hunts up 1 bell removed from 5. The other lead is after the 7 has dodged 3-4 up and the treble has jumped past the 5.

7-8 is then the easiest pair to ring to Plain Bob major.

Adding in more details:

Lead Pattern Description Work at Lead End Place Bells
1 Coursing X in 7-8 (8 first),
M&X 1-2 (7 first)
Dodge in parallel,
5-6 & 7-8 Up
5 & 7
2 Coursing M&X in 7-8 (8 first),
M&X 1-2 (7 first)
Dodge in parallel,
3-4 & 5-6 Up
3 & 5
3 Coursing M&X in 7-8 (8 first),
M&X 1-2 (7 first)
2nds & dodge 3-4 Up; Touch in 2-3 2 & 3
4 2-3 M&X in 6-7 (8 first) Touch in 2-3,
2nds & 3-4 Down
4 & 2
5 Coursing M&X in 1-2 (7 first),
M&X 7-8 (8 first)
Dodge in parallel
3-4 & 7-8 Down
6 & 4
6 Coursing M&X in 1-2 (7 first),
M&X 7-8 (8 first)
Dodge in parallel,
5-6 & 7-8 Down
8 & 6
7 Coursing M&X in 1-2 (7 first),
M&X 7-8 (8 first)
X Back to dodge together 7 & 8

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Learning

Learning to Ring Plain Bob Major

There is great value in ringing two bells using Handbell Manager and Abel Ringing Simulator. Time spent with the motion controllers will enable the work of the pairs to be deeply assimilated and hence best prepare a ringer for time with physical bells and other ringers.

The learning process for Plain Bob Major is just the same as with all bellringing. Learn enough to get going, ring some and then you will start to add in other pieces of the jigsaw.

Expect to ring 1,000 courses, but never expect to stop learning.


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Ringing Touches

Ringing Touches of Plain Bob Major

Bobs and Singles

Bobs and Singles in Plain Bob Major are made exactly as they are in Plain Bob Minor. For a bob, change 12 at the lead end to 1-4, and for a single change 12 into 1234.

However, the problem with ringing the calls in Plain Bob Major is the extra 2 bells and their places.

Ringing 1-2

The impact on 1-2 is identical with Plain Bob Minor, run in, run out, make places as necessary.

Ringing 7-8

The impact on 7-8 is minimal.

There will be bobs “Before” which come at the end of the parted lead, the Before makes the tenor run out, the 7th to run in, and the parted lead is repeated. This can happen more than once in a course which is why bobs before are normally given as a number.

Occasionally bobs are called 5ths / 4ths, whence 7 makes a bob as tenor dodges 5-6 up, the bells touch in 4-5 and ring opposites for 1 lead, tenor makes the next bob, they touch in 4-5 at handstroke and become 4ths and 6ths place bells at backstroke, they are then coursing down, and dodge in parallel 5-6 & 7-8 down next lead end.

Touch 4, below, is an example of this.

Ringing 3-4 and 5-6

If you have two bells affected by the call then the impact is exactly as in Plain Bob Minor.

Place Place Next Hunting Next Work Pair
2nds 3rds 2-3 Pattern 2nds & 3-4 Down Coursing
2nds 4ths Coursing Dodge in parallel,
3-4 & 5-6 Down
Coursing
3rds 4ths 3-4 Pattern 2nds & 5-6 Down 3-4

If you have one bell affected by the call and one unaffected then the ringing is more difficult, there are 12 possible outcomes to be ready for:

The affected bell will be in one of 2nds, 3rds, or 4ths places.
The unaffected bell will be in one of 5ths, 6ths, 7ths, or 8ths places.

Place Place Next Hunting Next Work Pair
2nds 5ths, 5-6 Up 3-4 Pattern Dodge together in 3-4 3-4
2nds 6ths, 5-6 Down 2-3 Pattern Dodge in parallel,
3-4 & 7-8 Down
3-4
2nds 7ths, 7-8 Up Opposites Scissors together
3-4 Down & 5-6 Up
5-6
2nds 8ths, 7-8 Down 3-4 Pattern Scissors together
3-4 Down & 7-8 Up
5-6
3rds 5ths, 5-6 Up Coursing 2nds & 3-4 Up Coursing
3rds 6ths, 5-6 Down Opposites 2nds & 7-8 Down 5-6
3rds 7ths, 7-8 Up 2-3 Pattern 2nds & 5-6 Up 3-4
3rds 8ths, 7-8 Down 3-4 Pattern 2nds & 7-8 Up 5-6
4ths 5ths, 5-6 Up Opposites Scissors apart
3-4 Up & 5-6 Down
5-6
4ths 6ths, 5-6 Down Coursing Dodge in parallel,
5-6 & 7-8 Down
Coursing
4ths 7ths, 7-8 Up 3-4 Pattern Dodge together in 5-6 5-6
4ths 8ths, 7-8 Down 2-3 Pattern Scissors together
5-6 Down & 7-8 Up
3-4

Whilst it is important to study the above table, and be as ready as possible, it important also to recognise that brains get tired, and pulling the correct instructions out of memory in the instant a call is made occasionally is not possible.

At that point, concentrate solely on getting both bells into the correct place at back stroke. Then pick up the direction of hunting for the pair after the backstroke of the treble’s lead, noting even placed bells go in, odd placed bells go out.

Two even places, hunt in in parallel

Two odd places hunt out in parallel.

Even and odd (in that order) places hunt apart.

Odd and even (in that order) hunt towards each other.

Relax into the hunting pattern, watch the treble like a hawk, and be ready to dodge.


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Example touches

Example Touches of Plain Bob Major

Touches are often rung using the tenor bell reference point (a.k.a. an observation bell). It is perfectly ok to make calls that affect the tenor, but very often the tenor is unaffected. The calling positions are known by their impact on the tenor viz:

  • W: "Wrong" - 7-8 up
  • V: "Fifths" - 5-6 up
  • F: "Fourths" - 3-4 up
  • B: "Before" - 2nds
  • I : "In" - 3-4 down
  • M: "Middle" - 5-6 down
  • H: "Home" - 7-8 down

When writing down touches in shorthand it is conventional to use a dash to mean bob and S to mean single, and generally course end change rows are given. In the touches below we have added the related coursing order as well, and the specific purpose touches are spelled out in more detail.

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1: 224 Plain Bob Major

a) 224 Plain Bob Major with 3 variations

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

S 53426 23546 112
S 23456 53246 112

Total 224

Abel Composition Code

SW SW

Only bells 2 and 5 are affected by calls.



b) 224 Plain Bob Major

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

S 63452 53642 112
S 23456 53246 112

Total 224

Abel Composition Code

S6 S6

Only bells 2 and 6 are affected by calls.



c) 224 Plain Bob Major

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

S 24356 54236 112
S 23456 53246 112

Total 224

Abel Composition Code

SH SH

Only bells 3 and 4 are affected by calls.



2: 336 or 448 Plain Bob Major

Combinations giving 336 or 448 Plain Bob Major

For 336 Plain Bob Major, combine SWSW with SMSM, or combine SMSM with SHSH. or combine SWSW with SHSH.

For 448 Plain Bob Major, call SWSW, SMSM, SHSH.

What value is there in these very simple touches? - Much depends on the band. But if the experience level is low, the more ringing the better, especially with the coursing order disrupted.



3: 336 Plain Bob Major

336 Plain Bob Major - Three Homes

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

- 42356 52436 112
- 34256 54326 112
- 23456 53246 112

Total 336

Abel Composition Code

H H H


Only bells 2, 3 and 4 are affected by the calls.

3-4 pair rings one course in 3-4 pattern and 2 courses of coursing pattern.



4: 160 Plain Bob Major

160 Plain Bob Major

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

- - - - S 32456 52346 80
- - - - S 23456 53246 80

Total 160

Abel Composition Code

2 ( W 5 4 6 H )


All bells are affected by the calls.



5: 240 Plain Bob Major

240 Plain Bob Major

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

- - 42635 32465 112
- 23456 53246 128

Total 240

Abel Composition Code

W 6 3


5 makes each of the three bobs.



6: 240 Plain Bob Major

240 Plain Bob Major

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

- 35264 65324 128
- - 23456 53246 112

Total 240

Abel Composition Code

3 W 6


6 makes each of the three bobs.

Touches where either 5 or 6 make three consecutive bobs often form the kernel of quarter peal lengths and then peals, see compositions 10, 11 and 12 below.



7: 224 Plain Bob Major

224 Plain Bob Major

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

- - 45236 35426 112
- - 23456 53246 112

Total 224

Abel Composition Code

2 (W H )


7-8 are unaffected.

This is a standard touch of 120 Plain Bob Minor applied to Plain Bob Major. The extensions also work, see compositions 8 and 9 below.



8: 672 Plain Bob Major

672 Plain Bob Major

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

- - 45236 35426 112
- 34256 54326 112

Repeat twice Total 3 x 224

Abel Composition Code

3 (W H W )


7-8 are unaffected.



9: 1344 Plain Bob Major

1344 Plain Bob Major

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

- - 45236 35426 112
- 34256 54326 112
- - 25346 45236 112
- 42356 52436 112
- - 35426 25346 112
- S 24356 54236 112

Repeat Total 12 x 112

Abel Composition Code

2 {3 (W H W ) SH }


This is the standard calling for 720 Plain Bob Minor, the coursing order changes will probably be familiar to an experienced 6 bell band.

Whilst the calling pattern may be familiar, the ringing demands for both 3-4 and 5-6 are significant and the touch is 80 changes longer than needed for a Quarter Peal.



10: 1360 Plain Bob Major

1360 Plain Bob Major - CLD Munday

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

- 42356 52436 112
1 6 25463 65243 688
- - 5 23456 53246 560

Total 1360

6 = BSBBSB; 5 = BSBBS


Abel Composition Code

H 3 6 S6 6 6 S6 6 W 6 H SH H H SH


This musical composition is also very easy to remember.

6 = BSBBSB, 5 = BSBBS



11: 1264 Plain Bob Major

1264 Plain Bob Major - GAC John

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

-S 43256 53426 224
- BBS 24536 34256 336
1 S- 34265 64325 240
- BBS 23654 43265 336
1 - 23456 53246 128

Total 1264

Abel Composition Code

H SH W 6 6 S6 3 SH H W 6 6 S6 3 H


After the first Bob Home, 3-4 are coursing until the end of the quarter peal.

See Complib 10500 for an analysis.



12: 1264 / 5056 Plain Bob Major

1264 / 5056 Plain Bob Major - CK Lewis

W V F B I M H 23456 53246 Changes

- 1 - 52364 62534 128
S - 36254 56324 112
3 - 23654 53264 336
- S 42635 32465 112
3 1 3 23456 53246 576

Total 1264

Abel Composition Code

W 3 H SW H 6 6 6 H W S6 W W W 3 H H H


For 5056 this becomes a 4-part composition, viz:
Call S for 1st call at Wrong in parts 1 and 3
Omit SW in 2nd course in all parts.

This composition is well balanced for the work of the pairs 3-4 and 5-6, see Complib 10787 for an analysis.



  Plain Bob Major

Double blue lines for each pair may be downloaded, viz:

And a text copy of this page may be downloaded, viz: