Methods as compositions, part 4: Little Bob

Little Bob Minor

In Little Bob, the treble turns round in 4th place, causing two bells to dodge above it. Apart from that, it's the same as Plain Bob. Now I think of it, it's not obvious that turning the treble round in 4th place produces a method with Plain Bob lead ends. Another way of looking at Little Bob is that it's Plain Bob without the rows in which the treble is above 4th place. You can check this by writing out a plain course of Plain Bob, cutting it up into the separate half leads, cutting off the rows in which the treble is above 4th place, then reassembling the pieces. But it's not obvious that they can be put back together while following the rules of change-ringing.

Using the technique of methods as compositions, we can easily see how Little Bob works. Starting as usual with the coursing order 124653, we are now going to affect the treble by having it make a bob in 4th place. It jumps over the 3rd and the 5th, so that the coursing order becomes 246153 or equivalently 153246. This is a cyclic rotation of the non-treble bells, so it produces a Plain Bob lead end. As usual, to get Little Bob instead of its 6th place variation (which is called Crayford) we need to apply another rotation to give 165324.

Whether we are thinking of Little Bob or Crayford, it should now be clear how jumping the treble over two bells and then rewriting the coursing order to put the treble at the beginning has the effect of a cyclic rotation. It's also clear that jumping the treble over any number of bells has a similar effect. This accounts for Gainsborough Little Bob Major, in which the treble turns round in 6th place, and any similar construction on any number of bells.

We can make an analogy with compositions of standard treble-dominated methods. For example, consider a major method and the coursing order 8753246 in the plain course. Calling the tenor to make the bob makes it jump over two bells, which would be the 7th and the 5th if it's a method with 2nd place at the lead end. The coursing order is then 7583246, or equivalently 8324675, which is a cyclic rotation of 753246. Repeating this until we return to the plain course, which is three bobs altogether, we find that calling the tenor to make the bob three times is a touch of, say, Cambridge Surprise Major. (It only really works if making the bob shortens the course, but let's skim over that point).

It's not very usual to call this kind of touch that splits the tenors, but calling one bell (often done with the 2nd) to make the bob four times is a well-known quarter peal of Cambridge Royal, coming out as 1280 because it's four eight-lead courses.