[r-t] Handbell Touch and minor principle

simon humphrey sh at keystrata.co.uk
Thu Nov 23 07:45:27 UTC 2006

This principle, on 6 at least, was quite well known in the Nottingham area
in the mid 60's.  It was called Coal Minor then, I don't know what its
proper name is now.  We rang it as treble bob hunting, but making Kent and
Oxford places alternately on reaching 3-4.
I was very puzzled as to why should be so easy to produce true extents of
it, when an extent of the closely related Forward (34-34.16) is nigh on
impossible to obtain.

I've never seen an even-bell principle on 8 or more that might stand a
chance of popularity, i.e. interesting to ring but not too difficult, easy
to keep right, and musical. The Ringing World ran a competition, in 1967 I
think, offering a £100 prize for the best principle submitted.  Nothing very
notable emerged, though: I think the prize was shared between several people
in the end.
> This leads me to recall a little principle for six bells that is so
> simple that it must have been seen before. I found it years ago and made
> a few short touches that we rang in the Doncaster area in the late 70's.
> It even got rung at a district meeting and I heard tell that some other
> bands had picked it up. We just called it "whatsit". The work is pretty
> much like doing Kent and Oxford TB places alternately separated by
> treble bob work at front and back. It extends readily to higher numbers.
> Notation for one division of Whatsit is:    -34-16.34-34.16.  This can
> be understood in terms of the three bell hunting at front and back or
> simply in terms of the contiguous places. It extends differently in each
> case. The places approach gives the most natural looking extension but
> the former option where 34 becomes 36 or 38 etc gives some interesting
> points in the middle.
> I have been surprised never to see this anywhere else. Making calls was
> a bit awkward and we used a bob that involved three places in thirds. I
> did have a 720 that I believed to be true but I have not checked it
> lately.
> Does this have any value or is my minor principle very minor indeed?
> Why do we not ring more principles on even numbers. Given the popularity
> of Stedman is it not strange that Shipway is ignored? Is it all a matter
> of obtaining good music or it there some other perhaps technical reason?
> Ted
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