25: Handbells: After Plain Hunt, what next?

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Ok! So, now you can ring Trebles or Tenors to Plain Hunt on 6. Well done! Next, we’d like to be able to ring for more than just the 20 odd seconds those 12 changes take. We don’t want just to keep repeating the same little block. It’s boring for us, and boring for the audience!

For pretty much anyone learning to ring, the next step is to tackle a method known as Plain Bob. Theoretically, it’s the simplest extension of Plain Hunt, so you could argue that it makes sense to try and ring it early on. There are lots of reasons why I disagree;

  • It involves learning to do three new things straight away:
  1. Making places
  2. Dodging
  3. Ringing new positions (whatever that means)
  • It’s quite long (60 changes), so if you make a mistake, it’s a long time before you get a second go at the bit you got wrong.
  • It has very little framework to hold it together.
  • People don’t ring plain methods very much on handbells.
  • It’s rather bland and boring, unless you deliberately set out to make it interesting, which unfortunately also makes it quite difficult!

Many people just assume that Plain Bob ought to come next, but it oughtn’t. If you really want to learn about Plain Bob, just consult one of the standard ringing texts, or stick with me and be patient. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ever ring it, just that I don’t believe that this is the right time.

Instead, we’re going to learn a second type of hunting, called ‘Treble Bob Hunting’. Why?

  • It’s short (just 24 rows)
  • You only need to learn to do one new thing (dodging)
  • You get to do the new thing straight away (in the first 4 changes).
  • You get to do it 6 times in 24 changes (i.e. once every 4 changes).
  • It has a nice regular pattern and structure which help glue it together.
  • The majority of handbell ringers ring Treble Bob methods rather than plain methods, even though they almost certainly learned Plain Bob first.
  • Your bells always stay the same distance apart, just like they do in Plain Hunt.
  • It contains all the same rows as Plain Hunt, but twice each.

Hang on…..isn’t it forbidden to repeat rows? Well yes, that’s right, but for now, it doesn’t matter at all. Ringing in which rows are repeated is said to be FALSE. Treble Bob Hunting is HORRIBLY FALSE. But who cares? It’ll be easy enough to fix that later.

The next post will show you what dodging is, and what Treble Bob Hunting looks like. Can’t wait?