Thinking allowed

Calling Bob Minor, further thoughts

Another aspect of calling a long touch — let alone a quarter peal — is remembering where you’ve got to, and what happens next.

The only long touches I’ve previously called have been quarter peals of bob doubles, where the problem is keeping track of calling exactly 10 120s, and not losing track of how many you have rung so far. For that method I’ve adopted the technique of associating each successive 120 with a particular bell, so that you call a 120 associated with the 2, then a 120 associated with the 3, then the 4, then the 5; then another 120 associated with the 2, then the 3, 4 and 5 in turn; and then yet another 120 associated with the 2, then the 3 — and then you’ve rung 10 120s.

The advantage of this aide memoire is that while ringing you just have to remember which bell is associated with that 120, and at the end of the 120 you move on to the next bell. And you have to remember whether this is the first sweep, the second, or the last (half-)sweep, but that is very considerably easier to do, partly because counting to 2 is an awful lot easier than counting to 10, and also because a look at the clock will give you a pretty clear indication of which sweep you’re in. Two further points about Bob Doubles. First, it is very easy to associate a particular bell with each 120, because in any 120 a particular bell will be the observation bell, unaffected by the calls, and the conductor is focussing on that bell and calling bobs when it is about to ring 4 blows in 5th place. So it is easy and natural to associate a bell with a 120 and to remember which bell it is at any moment. The second point is a footnote to anyone reading this who might be setting out to ring a quarter of Bob Doubles: don’t forget that 10 120s is only 1200 changes and you need to add another 60 to get to the quarter peal.

So how is this applicable to quarters of Bob Minor, and particularly to the composition discussed? One idea is to use a similar counting scheme to keep track of the courses of the composition. In a 1260 of Bob Minor there are 105 leads of 12 blows each, or 21 courses of 60 blows each. Each course is 5 leads in length and at the end of each the tenor — which is entirely unaffected by all the calls of Bob and Single — returns to its ‘home’ position of dodging 5-6 down. Unfortunately, and unlike the Bob Doubles counting scheme, there is no obvious and easy natural association of a course with a different bell.

What we have instead is a 720 of 12 courses followed by a 540 of 9 courses. If we allocate all 6 bells to a course then that is twice through the bells for the 720, and one and a half sweeps through for the 540:

1: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, bob (home)
2: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, plain
3: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, bob (home)
4: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, plain
5: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, bob (home)
6: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, single (home)

1: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, bob (home)
2: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, plain
3: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, bob (home)
4: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, plain
5: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, bob (home)
6: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, single (home) which completes the 720

1: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, bob (home)
2: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, single (home)
3: plain, plain, plain, plain, single (home)

4: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, bob (home)
5: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, single (home)
6: plain, plain, plain, plain, single (home)

1: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, bob (home)
2: bob (wrong), plain, plain, plain, single (home)
3: plain, plain, plain, plain, single (home) which completes the 540

Does this help at all? I’m going to think about that!

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