Thinking allowed

Calling Bob Minor

It’s a long time since I have writ­ten any­thing here, but I want to call a quarter peal, and Bob Minor is a plaus­ible meth­od. So I’d bet­ter work out how to do it.

This is based on a piece that appeared in Ringing World in 2008, of which I have a copy. But this is recon­struc­ted from memory as part of my usu­al trick of try­ing to learn some­thing new.

A quarter peal of Minor is 1260: a peal on sev­en bells or few­er is 5040 changes, which is the extent on sev­en bells, i.e. the max­im­um num­ber of dif­fer­ent changes which is 7! or 7×6x5×4x3×2. And a quarter of 5040 is 1260. (A peal on eight or more bells is 5000 changes.)

The basis of this quarter peal is a com­mon touch of Bob Minor that I have called a num­ber of times, which is to call bobs when the ten­or is dodging 5–6 down and up (known as ‘home’ and ‘wrong’ respect­ively). If you call this twice then it comes back to rounds after 10 leads, which is 120 changes. The pat­tern of lead ends is: bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; and repeat bob, plain, plain, plain, bob. The three plain leads are when the ten­or is among the front bells, dodging 3–4 down, mak­ing 2nds and dodging 3–4 up. Incid­ent­ally, this touch can be exten­ded into a 240 by call­ing a single at any one of the lead ends, com­plet­ing the 120, which now doesn’t come round, and then repeat­ing the exact same pat­tern of calls at the lead end, includ­ing the single, and it will now come round at the end of the 240. I’ve called this a few times, and tried to call it a few more!

So we take this 120 of ‘bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; bob, plain, plain, plain, bob’, and omit the last bob. Instead of com­ing round this per­mutes the order of bells 2, 3 and 4. Instead of run­ning in at a bob, the 2 dodges 3–4 down, becom­ing the 4th-place bell. Instead of run­ning out, the 3 makes 2nd place, becom­ing the 2nd-place bell; and instead of mak­ing the bob, the 4 dodges 3–4 up, becom­ing the 3rd-place bell. So at the end of this part, after 120 changes, the order of the bells is:


Repeat this, and, after 240 changes, the order will be

And again, after 360 changes:

But instead of let­ting this come round, we call a single, which swaps the 3 and 4:

And now we can repeat that 360 to make a 720. At the end of the next three 120s with the match­ing single at the end, the order will be:

720 changes is the extent on six bells, all the pos­sible ways of arran­ging the six bells, i.e. 6! or 6×5x4×3x2 = 720.

The 720 con­sists of:
wrong, home, wrong, (plain at home)
wrong, home, wrong, (plain at home)
wrong, home, wrong, single at home
and repeat once more.

bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; bob, plain, plain, plain, plain;
bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; bob, plain, plain, plain, plain;
bob, plain, plain, plain, bob; bob, plain, plain, plain, single
and repeat once more.

To get up to 1260 we need to add anoth­er touch of 540.

Let’s go back to that basic block of 60 changes wrong-home-wrong-home. The lead ends look like this:

The next lead would look like this if it were a plain lead:
but we call a bob instead (at ‘wrong’) so, the 3 runs out, the 2 runs in and the 5 makes the bob:
123564 (after 12 changes)
Then there are 3 plain leads:
136245 (after 24 changes)
164352 (after 36 changes)
145623 (after 48 changes)

Then there’s a bob (a ‘home’), so we get
145236 (after 60 changes)

Repeat this, with a single at the end instead of a bob:
145362 (bob here ‘wrong’)
132456 (single here ‘at home’ after 120 changes)

And ring a plain course with a single at the end:
125364 (no bob ‘wrong’)
134256 (single ‘at home’ after 180 changes)

So in 180 changes we have gone from

If we repeat this 180 two more times we get:

142356 (360 changes)
123456 (rounds after 540 changes)

To sum­mar­ize, the 540 is:
wrong, home,
wrong, single at home
(plain at wrong), single at home
and repeat twice more.

We put these two touches togeth­er, the extent of 720 and the touch of 540 and that’s 1260 changes, which is a quarter peal. I think I’ve under­stood it now – com­mit­ting it to memory is the next task. Then try­ing it out, and also ensur­ing that those ringing 2, 3 and 4 can cope with the singles.

(Acknow­ledge­ments to Ringing World, 23 May 2008, art­icle by Simon Linford.)

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