1 player - 1 instrument?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Keppler, Aug 21, 2003.

  1. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    In a recent conversation, I was made aware of a rule in some british contests which stipulates that a player can only play one instrument at a contest.

    I was wondering about the origin and reason for this rule, as it seems to be aimed squarely against the developing band who may not have a full compliment of players, but who wish to play in contests to develop experience and boost standard.
    For example, a band may have a full compliment of brass players, but be missing a percussionist, and may wish to split one of the resting baritone players off to play a 4 bar Glock solo.
    Or, a band may not have a sop player, and may require one of the Bb cornets to double for a time..

    It's situations such as these which are all too common in the less-glamourous end of the banding world, and if it is illegal, then it can prevent a developing band from participating in standard-and-prestige-building contests, thus not helping them develop at all.

    This situation also comes in when faced with wishing to push the band sound by using alternative balances - such as 2 flugels, or 5 trombones, or 7 percussionists.

    Anyway, I'm just curious as to what was the reasoning behind this rule.
  2. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    I think the main reason behind it is to stop bands sneaking extra players. eg that percussionist who is just putting in the occassional cymbal in may be capable of putting a huge cadenza in at the end when all the other front row cornets are tired but his lip is fresh. I know this rule is sometimes dropped particularly at entertainment contests where percussion can feature quite heavily (Disney fantasy is one piece that springs to mind where brass players double up on percussion). If you don't like the rule though let it be known. Contact the registry. They won't change rules unless they know people are unghappy with them
  3. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    The rule only applies to brass, and was introduced to stop one 'star' player taking all the solos.

  4. geordiecolin

    geordiecolin Active Member

    hmmmmm, does seem a strange one, with top sections justification and lower section annoyance!

    This rule is pretty easy to get around though with the rewriting of parts........
    Saying that though, it annoys me when Flugel solos are put in by Solo Cornet Players with dusters up their bells, whilst the Flugel players just sits there!
    How about a rule along the lines of:

    "Each player is restricted to playing 1 instrument only, a 2nd instrument being acceptable only if the seat is vacant"

    This would mean that a 2nd Baritne player could ting a triangle in a rest if the only percussionist was otherwise engaged, or the sop parts put onto the front row in the absence of a sop.
    This would also mean that if there was a flugel player then they would have to play that awkward solo...
  5. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    At the Midlands Area in Nottingham a few years back, one 3rd section bands precussionist played Bass for a few bars.
    We thought it strange at the time, but nothing was done about it and I never thought that much more of it!
  6. asteria

    asteria Member

    Know what you mean about the flugel solos, how many flugel players mimed at the areas last year on Whitsun Wakes while a front row player with duster put in the top notes in the cadenza?

    Even worse, how many flugel players were penalised for attempting to get that high note and missing when others didn't play it at all and got away with it? I hate my parts being re-written onto anybody else, its a cowardly way out i reckon!
  7. Bones

    Bones Member


    Apologoes if there are gaps in my knowledge, but the rule I believe was introduced many years ago following a performance by the famous Phineas Bower who I believe played with Black Dyke. Playing Labour and Love, he played Principal Euph for most of the piece, then stood up and played the trombone cadenza in the middle.

    Dyke won and Phineas got both the euph and trom solo prizes. From then on the rule was one instrument and one person.

    Excuse me now whilst I go away and shoot myself for being a brass band anorak.
  8. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    so if if only applies to brass is a brass player allowed to play a percussion part as well?
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I believe it's contest-specific - at the London Areas last year one of our front row played the Soprano cadenza in 'Whitsun Wakes' on a Sop that he'd brought on stage additional to his Cornet. Other bands cried 'foul', but the rules had been thoroughly checked...

  10. Despot

    Despot Member

    That was it!
    It's also the reason valved trombones aren't allowed to used, as he used a valve trombone.....I think!
  11. mutsuj

    mutsuj Member


    I agree with Helen V......, I noted at the Nationals last year (Champ Section), not only did Euph player in a certain so called top band from Yorkshire receive help from his mate on 2nd. ( Good on David Read for mentioning in his summing up.)

    But the solo horn played the baritone solo, with what looked like a plant pot for a mute in an attempt, I can only guess to deepen the sound. Didn't work, but also baritone solo was only about 4 bars, slow melody, ...very strange....band in question didn't come in top 5.
  12. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Yes. National rules allow you to play as many percussionists as the work requires, so bands can draw upon their brass players to help out with percussion. Done it myself.

    I bow to the supreme anorak Rich Walker re: Phineas Bower - quite correct!

  13. craigyboy1

    craigyboy1 Member

    My memory is hazy at best but is there not a flugel duet in Dances and Arias :? . Achieved by most rep players swaping their Cornet for a Flugel for a few bars! :?: :?:
  14. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    You're right there, and it caused quite a bit of controversy a little while back (discussed here on theMouthPiece) when a band had chosen Dances and Arias in an Own Choice contest, and other people tried to object because they hadn't realised that was how it was written.
  15. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member


    I like the way you don't name the band, but make it blatantly obvious who it is! :wink:
  16. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    At the risk of opening a can of worms (oops too late) could it not be argued that it's the musical effect that matters, not the mechanics of it? Being pedantic, and taking it to it's extreme, this is like arguing against alternate fingerings in tricky passages, or retuning your intrument to make things fall under your fingers. Music isn't dots written on a page, it's the emotional effect it causes on a listener.

    Anyway, just thought I'd bring that up, but I'm sure that if I was a flugel player in said contest, part of me would be praising ingenuity and another part would be crying foul! :)
  17. asteria

    asteria Member

    Good point, the music is certainly the most important thing, and i'd have no objection to something like this happening in a concert.

    However, when it comes to contests i think its unfair that some bands may struggle through a piece to play it 'right' and have each person play exactly what is written, whereas other conductors may choose to swap parts around for the sake of winning the contest.

    I suppose it's just me, but i'd personally prefer to slog my guts out and win nothing but feel i'd tried my personal best than win the contest feeling that i'd taken the easy option out! Just call me stubborn :)
  18. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    ah Helen, there are different levels of that and I think we all know it..

    Of course, there's the extreme where parts are swapped according to the master plan which gives everything at once to the most accomplished player and has the gombĂ­ns at the back sitting and dribbling..

    But there's the much more likely situation where the vast majority of the music is played as written, but one or two areas which unfortunately cannot be mastered in time get swapped or balanced or doubled or whatever.

    Naturally, flagrant swapping before the swap-out-ee has had a chance to try it at all is underhanded and self-defeating.. But in the case where a player has tried their best in rehearsals, and is not going to make a fist of it in contest - then this warrants a swap I think. It's a band, not a collection of individual players, and I think most of us will agree that one of the main points of going to a contest is to improve the standard.

    I'll call you stubborn with enough sense to see alternative points of view.. ;)
  19. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    In that case why not then allow bands to borrow as many people as they want and from whatever section... surely by getting in a load of ringers the musical effect can be increased!!! :lol:
  20. Keppler

    Keppler Moderator Staff Member

    now why didn't I think of that..
    or better still... just use a note perfect recording.. that'll work..

    *insert common sense here*

Share This Page