Group name - Hull Handbell Change Ringers

Fundamental
to Plain Bob:


Plain Minor

The Plain Bob Group

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Plain Bob:
Key Concepts

  Fundamentals - Plain Bob Minor

Plain Bob Minor

Plain Bob, is the most significant method for a handbell ringer. Time spent studying, memorising, and practising (both on Abel and with bells in hand), will be amply rewarded with competence and enjoyment. Ringing Plain Bob Minor competently is a significant achievement.

However, before ringing Plain Bob, make sure you are able to ring all of the Plain Hunting patterns.

Introduction

Plain Bob is a simple extension of Plain Hunting; it enables 60 changes to be rung on 6 bells before returning to rounds; and with some calls, (i.e. bobs and singles), all 720 unique change rows can be rung without repetition.

In Plain Bob, as in other plain methods, the treble is a fixed bell, it simply hunts up and down as it does in Plain Hunting. The remaining bells, (known as working bells or inside bells), perform a simple dance around the treble, and the majority of this is also plain hunting.

The difference between Plain Hunting and Plain Bob comes whilst the treble is leading. In Plain Hunting when the treble leads, 6ths place is made, the pairs in 2-3 and 4-5 cross, and rounds is reached. In Plain Bob, when the treble leads, 2nds place is made, and the pairs in 3-4 and 5-6 cross. This causes the bells in those places to make step backwards in their hunting path, known as a dodge.

Consequently, the first time the treble leads, the bells at backstroke fall in the sequence 135264, and at that point all six bells start ringing plain hunting once more, but this time each bell starts from a new place within the change. E.g. Bell number 4 will start hunting from the sixth place in the change-row 135264.

This pattern is then repeated a further 4 times until after 60 change rows the bells return to rounds.

The 60 changes without bobs and singles is termed “a plain course”, and with bobs and singles, “a touch”. A touch of 720 changes is known as “The Extent”. We will deal with bobs and singles later.

So in a plain course, we get 5 sections of 12 changes, each section having an identical pattern, but also having the working bells start from a different position each time. Viz:

Site Sections:

Downloads:

Words & Pictures:

Text Only:

Plain Course
(and grid).

Method Structure

Written out by numbers, and also shown as a grid, we get:

A Plain Course of Plain Bob Minor with grid

Diagram: 6p.01.01 Plain Bob Minor, Plain Course, change-rows and grid.

Ambiguous language: Each section of 12 changes is also known as "a lead" or as a full lead.

Plain Bob creates a distinction between the treble which rings a simple, fixed course, and the other bells are known as “working bells” or “inside bells”.


Dodging

Dodging

A glance forwards to the double line for the pair of bells numbered 1&2 will show that the treble in red rings a smooth and regular path alternating between lead and lie. Conversely, bell number 2, in blue, also alternates between lead and lie, but not so smoothly, and indeed at one point returns to lead before it hunts out to lie behind. No 2 is a "working bell" as opposed to the treble which is a fixed bell.

As we have said, the interruptions to the smooth hunting for a working bell are called dodges; these are described in relation to the overall direction of travel. So if a working bell is interrupted whilst hunting up from lead to lie, that is a "dodge up", and conversely an interruption whilst hunting down from lie to lead is a down dodge.

This description makes much more sense on towerbells (from where the definition originated).


Plain Bob Minor
Rule No 1

Rule 1

Plain Bob Minor:
Ring plain hunting until the treble leads.
When the treble leads, seconds place is made and the bells in 3-4, and 5-6 dodge.


Plain Bob Minor
Rule No 2

Rule 2

Plain Bob Minor:
When one bell makes a place and the other bell dodges, the hunting pattern changes.

This rule is true for all three pairs, 1-2, 3-4 and 5-6.

Associated with rule 2:
The previous hunting pattern continues until the handstroke of the treble's lead, and the new pattern starts at the backstroke of the treble's lead.

Turning now to look at each of the pairs of bells in turn: 

Click 1-2 in Words to open a .pdf description of 1-2 that has no embedded graphics.

1-2

The Blue Lines

Ringing 1-2 to a Plain Course

1-2 position, numbers, instructions, graphic

Diagram: 6p.01.02 Plain Bob Minor, the work of 1-2.

The diagram shows Plain Bob Minor for 1-2 twice, once with spacings, and once with course bells. The spacing from start of the change and between the bells must be memorised and imprinted so well that it can be rung in "real time" without any hesitation whatsoever.

Once a learner can ring 1-2 by the spacings, learning the course bells gives added strength to the ringing, however, as touches alter the coursing order, further techniques will also be needed for course bells to remain useful.


3-4

Ringing 3-4 to a Plain Course

A course of Plain Bob on 3-4 involves ringing two Plain Hunting patterns as well as the dodges that link the patterns together. Rule 2 above can be helpful to the beginner:

3-4 position, numbers, instructions, graphic

Diagram: 6p.01.03 Plain Bob Minor, the work of 3-4.

Click Touches on 3-4 and 5-6 to open a .pdf text only description of ringing plain courses and touches on the inside pairs.

5-6

Ringing 5-6 to a Plain Course

5-6 position, numbers, instructions, graphic

Diagram: 6p.01.04 Plain Bob Minor, the work of 5-6.


Click Touches on 3-4 and 5-6 to open a .pdf text only description of ringing plain courses and touches on the inside pairs.

Touches

Ringing Touches of Plain Bob Minor

What is a touch?

A Plain Course of Plain Bob Minor is 60 change rows, and to go beyond this without repetition we need to link in further changes before getting back to rounds. We do this by making temporary alterations, one at a time, to the method; these alterations are known as a call. Two types of call are needed, and these are known as a “bob” and a “single”.

Click Touches on 1-2 to open a .pdf text only description of ringing touches on 1-2.

Bobs and Singles

Bobs and Singles

Bobs and singles affect the work of the bells in 2nds, 3rds and 4ths places at the lead end where the call is made. Calls are always made on the backstroke before the treble’s full lead, and take effect on the backstroke of the treble’s lead..

The call of a bob means that as the treble leads, 4ths place is made, and the two bells in 2nds and 3rds cross over. The bells in 5-6 are unaffected.

At the call of a single the bells in 2nds 3rds and 4ths place all remain in place and only the pair in 5-6 swap over. The bells in 5-6 are unaffected.

Plain lead, bobs and singles - grid layout

Diagram: 6p.01.05 Plain Bob Minor, the grid structure for plain, bob, and single.

Impact on one bell

The impact of calls on the working of an individual bell:

PLE = Plain Lead End

  • PLE: Make seconds over the treble
  • Bob called
  • Run out to thirds
  • Make seconds over the treble next lead end
  • Single called
  • Unaffected
  • PLE: Dodge 3-4 down
  • Bob called
  • Run in to 2nds
  • Dodge 3-4 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 3rds place
  • Make 2nds next lead end
  • PLE: about to dodge 3-4 up
  • Bob called
  • make 4ths place
  • hunt in to lead
  • dodge 5-6 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • make 4ths place
  • hunt in to lead
  • dodge 5-6 down next lead end
  • PLE: dodging in 5-6
  • Bob called
  • Unaffected
  • Single called
  • Unaffected

Impact on pairs

The impact of calls on the pairs of bells:

In the following paragraphs we have enumerated all of the combinations of lead end and call but this is a lot of information to memorise. However, we would advise looking closely at the information and ensuring that it is properly understood.

As all of the plain hunting patterns have already been learned, a good way to cope with calls is to look at which of your bells is affected and how, and then to ring plain hunting from the new pair of positions in the approprpriate pattern until the following lead end. In this way the skill of watching the treble is rewarded, and reliance on knowing your exact placing in the double lines is reduced.


1-2

Ringing 1-2 to a touch:

Once the work of 1-2 in a plain course has been thoroughly assimilated, the addition of bobs and singles adds interest and can be learned quite easily from the following:

  • Leading and making seconds
  • Bob called
  • Run out to thirds place,
  • Hunting: coursing pair,
  • Make seconds next lead end
  • Single called
  • Unaffected, make seconds and carry on coursing
  • Leading and about to dodge 3-4 down
  • Bob called
  • Run in to 2nds place
  • Hunting: coursing pair,
  • Dodge 3-4 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 3rds place
  • Hunt out (still coursing)
  • Make 2nds next lead end
  • Leading and about to dodge 3-4 up
  • Bob called
  • Make 4ths place
  • 2-3 hunting pattern
  • dodge 5-6 down next lead end
  • Single called –
  • As for bob, but both blows in 4ths are over the same bell
  • Leading and dodging in 5-6 either way
  • Unaffected by calls

Plain Bob Minor
Impact on inside pairs
Rule No 3

Rule 3

Plain Bob Minor, Rule 2:
When one bell makes a place and the other bell dodges, the hunting pattern changes.

In a touch of Plain Bob on a working pair, Rule 2 becomes Rule 3:

Plain Bob Minor, Rule 3:
When one bell makes either 3rds at a single, or 4ths at a bob or at a single, the work of the pair of bells changes to the other pattern.
i.e. If you are ringing 3-4 pattern and a bell makes 4ths at a bob or 3rds at a single, you will then ring 5-6 pattern. And vice versa.

Equally if your pair makes two places at a single, the pattern being rung remains unchanged.


Click Touches on 3-4 and 5-6 to open a .pdf text only description of ringing plain courses and touches on the inside pairs.

Ringing an inside pair. 3-4, or 5-6 to a touch:

  • PLE: 2nds and 3-4 up
  • Bob called
  • Run out and make 4ths
  • Hunting: Opposites
  • 2nds and 5-6 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 2nds and 4ths
  • Hunting: Coursing
  • 3-4 down and 5-6 down (parallel) next lead end
  • PLE: 2nds and 3-4 down
  • Bob called
  • Run in and run out
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • 2nds and 3-4 down next lead end
  • Single called
  • make 2nds and 3rds
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • 2nds and 3-4 down next lead end
  • PLE: 2nds and 5-6 up
  • Bob called
  • run out and 5-6 up
  • Hunting: Coursing out
  • 2nds and 3-4 up next lead end
  • Single called
  • Unaffected
  • PLE: 2nds and 5-6 down
  • Bob called
  • Run out and 5-6 down
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern (start with m&c in 4-5)
  • 2nds and dodge 5-6 up next lead end
  • Single called
  • Unaffected
  • PLE: Dodge together in 3-4
  • Bob called
  • Run in and make 4ths
  • Hunting: Coursing
  • 3-4 down and 5-6 down (parallel) next lead end
  • Single called
  • make 3rds and 4ths
  • Hunting: Opposites
  • 2nds and 5-6 down next lead end
  • PLE: 3-4 up and 5-6 up (parallel)
  • Bob called
  • Make 4ths and dodge 5-6 up
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • Dodge 3-4 up and 5-6 down (scissors apart) next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 4ths and dodge 5-6 up
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • Dodge 3-4 up and 5-6 down (scissors apart) next lead end
  • PLE: 3-4 up and 5-6 down (scissors apart)
  • Bob called
  • make 4ths and dodge 5-6 down
  • Hunting: coursing down
  • Dodge together in 5-6 next lead end
  • Single called
  • make 4ths and dodge 5-6 down
  • Hunting: coursing down
  • Dodge together in 5-6 next lead end
  • PLE: 3-4 down and 5-6 up (scissors together)
  • Bob called
  • Run in and dodge 5-6 up
  • Hunting: Opposites
  • Dodge together in 3-4 next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 3rds and dodge 5-6 up
  • Hunting: Coursing out
  • Make 2nds and dodge 3-4 up next lead end
  • PLE: 3-4 down and 5-6 down (parallel)
  • Bob called
  • Run in and 5-6 down
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern
  • 3-4 down and 5-6 up (scissors together) next lead end
  • Single called
  • Make 3rds and 5-6 down
  • Hunting: 2-3 pattern (start with m&c in 4-5)
  • Make 2nds and dodge 5-6 up next lead end
  • PLE: Dodge together in 5-6
  • Bob called
  • Unaffected
  • Single called
  • Unaffected

Getting going with touches

Getting started with touches

The major factors seem to be:
The overall strength of the band,
The speed at which concepts and challenges are being tackled and overcome.

If you are lucky enough to have two experienced handbell ringers and only one "improver" in the touch then just working through some simple touches, and watching for mistakes and learning points should be enough to get up to quarter peal standard.

If your situation is more of a struggle, the following are suggested:

  • Ring some calling pattern short touches before progressing to observation bells
  • Work on one specific touch at a time
  • Brief the band on what the touch entails
  • Brief the weaker person on the inside pair to learn how their bells are affected
  • As well as the Bobs and/or Singles, call "Lead End" when the lead ends occur that have no call

Putting a weaker ringer on 5-6 and briefing him / her on the repeating pattern of the calls, and the repeating structure of the work of their pair of bells can enable progress to be made, and very importantly, practice to be gained by all concerned.


Two Touches of Plain Bob Minor by the calling pattern

1: 36 Plain Bob Minor

36 Plain Bob Minor - three bobs in a row

Wrong 4ths Before In Home 23456 53246 Changes

Bob Bob Bob 23456 53246 36

Abel Composition Code

W 4 H


This is the shortest possible touch, three consecutive bobs, 5 makes the first, tenor makes the second, and 4 makes the last bob.

Variation: Call single instead of each of the first two bobs.

Notes: 1-2 never leave coursing position.


2: 72 Plain Bob Minor

72 Plain Bob Minor - BBS BBS

Wrong 4ths Before In Home 23456 53246 Changes

Bob Bob Single 32456 52346 36
Bob Bob Single 23456 53246 36

Total 72

Abel Composition Code

2 ( W 4 SH )


Notes: 1-2 never leave coursing position.


Two Touches of Plain Bob Minor by Observation Bell

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" - 5-6 up
  • F: "Fourths" - 3-4 up
  • B: "Before" - 2nds
  • I : "In" - 3-4 down
  • H: "Home" - 5-6 down

5: 120 Plain Bob Minor

120 Plain Bob Minor - Wrong Home Wrong Home

Wrong 4ths Before In Home 23456 53246 Changes

Bob Bob 45236 35426 60
Bob Bob 23456 53246 60

Total 120

Abel Composition Code

2 ( W H )


Notes A bob is called every time the tenor dodges in 5-6.


6: 120 Plain Bob Minor

120 Plain Bob Minor - 2 Singles Home

Wrong 4ths Before In Home 23456 53246 Changes

Single 24356 54236 60
Single 23456 53246 60

Total 120

Abel Composition Code

SH SH


Notes Only the ringer of 3-4 is affected.


Further touches

Touches of Plain Bob will work for other methods having the same pivot bell and lead end, and a number of examples are collected in: Group a Compositions

Notes on how to progress by using touches with specific attributes for handbell pairs are posted at: Group a Progression


Repeating pattern touches for 5-6

The use of a repeating structure of the work of 5-6 can be a comfort zone for an aspiring conductor. Follow the links to see details of the touches.

Touch No. 6 has the 5th making the bob and running out twice for 120 changes length. This pattern is carried forward into touch No. 19 and repeated twice to make 360 changes; and to touch No. 20 where there are 5 repetitions to make a 720.

Touch No. 16 has the 5th making 4ths at the bob and then making 3rds at the single, and then that work is repeated to make 240 changes. This pattern carries forward into touch No. 17 where a total of 2 repetitions again makes 720 changes; and also into touch No. 18, where an omission of one block of 4 calls gives a touch of 540.