I included Original briefly in my webinar "A Medley of Methods" back in May and Jonathan Agg also mentioned the method in his talk about "Short Practice Night Touches". This article will look a bit further at the method.

Original is just another name for Plain Hunt. In fact it is the official name for Plain Hunt; if you type "Plain Hunt" into Complib, the only matches you get are for some variable-hunt compositions of Plain Bob!

As an aside, having talked recently about leads and lead ends, how long is a lead of Plain Hunt? Interestingly, the answer doesn't depend on the number of bells. Remember that a lead isn't necessarily the number of changes until the treble comes back to where it started. It's the number of changes in the block that is repeated in the plain course of the method. It's the number of changes between the start of one place bell and the next. In Plain Hunt, on any number of bells, that is 2 changes.

For instance, in Minor, the section of place notation X16 is repeated until rounds is reached, this section being just 2 changes in length, being rung six times in all. 3rds place bell, for instance, takes 2 changes before it becomes 5ths place bell. So in Complib, where the method is shown split into leads, it appears like this:

However, usually when people refer to Original, they mean Plain Hunt with calls. And that's where it gets fun.

The nice thing about calls in Original is that you don't have to worry about what to do next after each call, like you would in most methods; all you do next is to carry on plain hunting.

And what you do at the calls isn't hard either. The standard calls just affect three bells; the three bells at the back. At a Bob, instead of someone lying behind (left, below), the place is made 2 places lower and the back two bells dodge (right, below).

In Minor, that means 4ths place is made at a Bob (the same as in Plain Bob Minor), but in Major, 6ths place would be made. In each case a pair of bells is dodging at the back; 5-6 in Minor, 7-8 in Major. In Maximus, you'd have a place made in 10ths, while two bells dodge in 11-12.

Before we go any further, it is worth reminding ourselves that this is a principle - all the bells are working bells, so there's nothing special about the treble. It can be affected by the calls, just the same as everyone else.

Here are a couple of examples. Firstly Original Minor:

The Bob is called at a backstroke.

The other bells are unaffected; the only person who might be tempted to worry is the 3rd, who has just left the back, but they should be down in 4ths place by the time the call is made, too late to dodge 5-6.

Now in the Major, you can see the Bob (again called at a backstroke) only affects the back three bells, while everyone else keeps plain hunting.

I mentioned above that a lead of this method is just two changes long. This means that you can have a call every two changes, so you can't relax for too long. You can have Bobs at successive backstrokes. What happens then?

We've already seen that the bells at the back dodge at a Bob. If there is another Bob straight away, they are still "the bells at the back", as they haven't actually managed to get anywhere yet, just swapping and swapping back at the dodge. So they must do another dodge at the next Bob. And indeed at any more successive Bobs. The only challenge with multiple dodges is remembering which direction you are going in when the Bobs stop.

The bell that made the place has gone back in, so isn't affected by the next Bob. Someone else will be on their way up towards the back (but not there yet) and they will make the next place if there is another Bob.

I've kept the same colour-coding in the example above, where two successive Bobs are called. The purple and brown bells, having dodged once, carry on to dodge again. Then the purple one, which had already lain behind and was dodging down, goes in, while the brown one, which was dodging up, lies behind. Two different bells make the places; the green one, as before, made the first place and went in, then the next bell to come up, shown in yellow, makes the next place.

Here's an example of Original Minor (or is it??): Can you see where all the Bobs are?

There are three Bobs; the 3 makes 4ths at both the first two of them, then the 5 makes 4ths at the last one. Note that the 4 is affected by both the last two Bobs, doing both 5-6 up and 5-6 down, as the Bobs aren't quite successive.

Actually, this is the start of my standard "cheat" touch of Original Minor; it's just a plain course of Single Oxford. The treble is in fact plain hunting throughout - although you can call the same touch with any bell doing the plain hunt. In my experience, it's usually the bell I'm ringing at the time...

In Jonathan's talk, he mentioned some touches that work on any (even) number of bells.

For Minor, call two Bobs with 5 and 6 dodging at the back, then two Bobs with 3 and 4 dodging at the back, then two Bobs with 1 and 2 dodging at the back.

For Major, call three Bobs with 7 and 8 at the back, three Bobs with 5 and 6 at the back, three Bobs with 3 and 4 at the back, then three Bobs with 1 and 2 at the back.

For Royal, call four Bobs with 9 and 10 at the back, then with 7 and 8 there, then with 5 and 6, then 3 and 4 and finally four Bobs with the 1 and 2 in 9-10.

Try writing them out - they're not too long. And continue the pattern to Maximus too... (The answers are here.)

I should also briefly mention Singles. They also happen at the back and only two bells are affected.

Again, I've kept the same colour-coding as before. The bell on its way up to the back, shown in green, makes the place, just as before. The bell that is just about to lie behind, shown in brown, is unaffected. The new piece of work is a place made next to the back. The bell that was lying behind when the Single was called, shown in purple, makes two blows in the penultimate place, before lying behind again.

As before, you can have consecutive Singles, or a mixture of Bobs and Singles at successive backstrokes.

With Original on odd numbers of bells, the standard calls are still made in the back three places of the change, when a bell would normally be lying behind. But that means that on an odd number of bells, the calls are made at handstroke, like in Grandsire

And again, you can have consecutive calls, resulting in double-dodging, or triple-dodging, or even more...

However, it's sometimes easier to ring Original Doubles with a 4ths place Bob. This has the advantage that it is more familiar from Plain Bob, is called at a backstroke and only affects two bells. You can also get a 120 without having to use Singles too.

In the example above, the treble (in green) makes 4ths and goes back in, while the 3 (in purple) does long 5ths.

Watch out, again, for consecutive calls. The bell at the back does an extra two blow behind for each one, so another call there would have resulted in the 3 doing six blows behind.

Looking for compositions of Original Doubles on Complib, I see that some of them use calls at the front, instead of the back, happening in the front three places. These are called at backstroke and are just the reverse of the standard calls, with 3rds being made from the back. At a Bob, there is dodging in 1-2; at a Single, seconds is made, before leading again.

Similarly, some of the compositions for Original Triples on Complib use 3rds place calls, the same as Grandsire, rather than the standard 5ths place calls.

As long as the whole band agrees, you can use any calls you like at any stage!

So, what about touches?

Using the standard calls, any touch of Plain Bob at one stage gives a touch of Original on the next stage lower, whether using Bobs, Singles or both. So a touch of Plain Bob Major (such as BPPBBBPPBB) will also work on Original Triples. It will give a much shorter length, of course, as each lead is just 2 changes in length.

The easiest touches to call, though, are those where you call yourself unaffected, so calling when you're near the front works well. As the Bobs affect three bells, calling three Bobs at the same position each time will work (like calling yourself unaffected three times in Plain Bob Doubles). So on an even number of bells, call three Bobs, one each time you're in 2nds place, just about to lead. The same three bells will be affected at each call. On an odd number of bells, you need to call at handstroke, so call three Bobs, one each time your're in your first blow at lead.

These are still quite short touches, so you can combine several blocks of three calls into the same touch. For instance, call three Bobs when you're just about to lead, then three more at your second blow in lead. Note that the last of the first block and the first of the second block will be at successive backstrokes.