2018 Area test pieces

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by lawrence martin, Aug 22, 2017.

  1. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Even accepting what you say about commissions, "Brass Metamorphosis" is 26 years old. That's just free money for the publishers and distributors ...
    Tom-King likes this.
  2. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Plus, Dave, it has to be remembered that many bands will not buy directly from the publisher, but from Just Music, Band Supplies, R Smith or Studio Music etc. These traders will get a substantial
    discount (30% ?) - when I worked for Studio Music, Banks of York used to get 40% - meaning a gross income of £51.60-60.20 per set, rather than £86.00, for the publisher. At the time of publishing it's sheer guesswork
    how many will be sold direct and how many through the trade.
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    So that bumps up the fair price for a set for a piece commissioned for an area contest to what - £200? Unless of course some kind of grant is in play in the commissioning process, reducing the numbers.

    It's still not that much for a group of 28 people to afford between them. We think about the cost of music in the wrong way in banding very regularly. We could commission one brand new piece from a new-to-banding composer of quality for a rotating area section every year - we could even spread the cost over the other chosen pieces. It's very doable in principle - it just takes will and a bit of joining-up of concepts. In practice, it never seems to happen.
  4. Anglo Music Press

    Anglo Music Press Well-Known Member

    Part of the reason that some pieces (modesty prevents......) end up with large errata lists is that not enough time (therefore, money) is spent on proofing. It's a highly skilled job and, when done properly, no-one notices it!

    I would guess that the average band would spend, perhaps, 20 rehearsals (2 months++ ??) rehearsing the area piece. An £86 piece therefore costs about £4.00 per rehearsal - or 16p per player per rehearsal. I rest my case! (your case)
  5. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    I think the problem – at least perceived problem – is threefold

    1. Is the amount of music bands buy during the course of the year AS WELL as contest pieces

    2. The fact many bands will do 2 or 3 (or even more) major contests during the course of the year – Butlins, Area, Spring Festival – as well of course (for a few) the Finals

    3. Many bands claim to be poorer than they actually are
    I’ll clarify (and quantify) the last point first – many will have seen on Social Media the report in the Bolton press around Wingates band needing more money despite having a “healthy” 4 figure sum in the bank account plus assets equating to well over £100k. I also play and have played with various other bands over the years – both contesting and non-contesting – that complain about the music cost despite having a constant £5k plus in the bank.

    Whilst I appreciate there are a lot of overheads in running bands – new instruments, repair instruments, heat, light, rent etc – for many bands it seems to be a general reluctance to spend rather than being “poor”. Wingates are threatening to close unless they get more money (allegedly) however many lower section bands would love the resources and bank account that they have.

    Whilst Wingates are perhaps an unusual case, it would be interesting to see how many bands complain about the music cost when not even batting an eyelid at spending £100 a week (or more) on an MD.

    Having said that, testpieces ARE expensive – I appreciate you get what you pay for (there are a lot of £20 arrangements available in the market, but quality can be hit and miss) but I don’t think its necessarily right that the cost is ignored when setting works – especially in the lower sections. Just as the panel should consider the percussion required – I think most bands have things like glock, timps (although there are still plenty of hand tuned ones out there) and tamtam, but Marimbas and Vibraphones are expensive. I think more consideration should be made of the total cost to bands to participate, and music is one part of that. Add to that most bands want to play new music besides the testpieces and it can add up to a large sum of money over the year.

    I’d personally like to see Kapitol perhaps provide some sort of subsidy towards the cost of the music they set – either by making a direct payment to the publisher so that they can lower their prices, or bulk buy and try and get bands to get it direct from them – they do allegedly make a reasonable profit from the whole Nationals thing. However I think its (sadly) about as likely as seeing my future breakfast (bacon & sausage roll) fly past my 4th floor office window
  6. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    A publisher issuing errata is really saying that their product is not fit for purpose AND they're expecting the purchaser to fix it at their own time and cost!

    Somehow we've come to accept this situation. If this ludicrous tradition stopped and we rejected them and insisted on new and correct copies, I expect the appropriate investment in proof-reading would start to make economical sense. I'm not saying there should be zero tolerance, but where the errata list is long and clearly suggests lack of quality control, it should be rejected.

    I also think that the availability of Sibelius etc. has encouraged a decline in standards. There are a few apparently self-trained (untrained), publishers churning out work as quickly as possible to capitalise on trends (the latest pop song, film release or human disaster), with little concern for the consumer. We see things such as spurious dynamics (when parts have been copied between staves), music crammed into a single A4 sheet or on duplex A4 sheet requiring a page turn, rests notated incorrectly (dotted crotchets that should be crotchet + quaver), rehearsal marks in illogical places, multibar rests that split in places that don't follow the musical phrasing (e.g. 9 bars & 7 bars instead of 8 and 8), fermata not applied to rests / the correct beat in a rest, anacruses at the start of pieces for resting parts having the correct values and so on...

    Any such publishers on this forum can have that checklist for free! ;)
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2017
    Jack E likes this.
  7. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    It's simple supply and demand though, isn't it?

    There's lots of demand and suppliers (publishers) with a monopoly....

    The mistakes, incomplete errata and so on don't help create the illusion of value for money.... nor do high prices for pieces that aren't freshly written - I'm sure we could probably agree that it might be reasonable for a fresh composition (if not a paid commission) to cost a bit more, but pieces that are already typeset and just need running off costing crazy amounts smacks of advantage being taken.
  8. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Is there? Other than the area piece, I've been in bands that have bought NO new pieces all year, and grumbled about the cost of the area piece. To be honest, getting an area piece picked is just about the only way to make any profit whatsoever as a music publisher involved with brass banding other than to pile it high, sell it cheap and cut out all the proof-reading and editing that used to happen back in the day. If all the checking and proofing that should happen actually took place, an average test piece would be well over £120 and an average concert piece around £60-80 (much like wind band music), not the £65-70 and £35-40 that seems to be about the norm nowadays. You get the quality you're prepared to pay for, I'm afraid.

    In the case of Brass Metamorphosis, it's also quite possible that it's priced as it is to allow the various distributors to take their big bite (up to 40% of the list price in some cases) without the publisher losing out too much.
    MoominDave likes this.
  9. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    :D :D :D
  10. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    I don't believe errors in published items is limited to music; at least in music the errors are acknowledged and a correction list made available. I read a lot and believe me, there are significant errors in books that are never acknowledged and the publishers don't want to be informed let alone provide corrections!! If it survives spell check then it's good enough and maybe there's a Sibelius version of spell check that simply can't capture all the errors. It is probably too costly to pay a band to play through the music prior to publication so many of these errors could be detected beforehand.
  11. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    You're right, but this doesn't mean should be accepted, especially since recent compositions are created on software in which the errors can very easily be corrected once found and new copies printed at relatively little cost (or I'm sure most recipients would be happy with a corrected pdf copy). I expect most are printed to order so the issue of wasting warehouses full of incorrect stock isn't a consideration these days.

    I'm sure a publisher that took this approach would be seen in good favour by customers and composers / arrangers.
    midlandman and Jack E like this.
  12. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Oh I completely agree that it shouldn't be accepted, just pointing out that this is becoming (or has already become?) the norm. How about adding this to each new score: "Please consider any mistakes in this publication to be deliberate. We try to have something for everyone, and some people are always looking for mistakes"! (Except it would probably read: "Please consider any mitsakes in this publication to be deliverate. We try to have something for everyone, and some people are always looking for mitsakes"!
    Slider1 likes this.
  13. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Double Guarantee • Morthanveld Publishing Ltd

    (because unlike Mr Sparke, I'm not modest!)
    Jack E, Euphonium Lite and 4th Cornet like this.
  14. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    This is really good to see Andrew. Let's hope this starts a new trend (if not push all the publication jobs your way!)
    Jack E likes this.
  15. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    So has anyone heard or played the 2nd section piece, Ex Terra Lucem?

    Any thoughts?
  16. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    I had a very quick look at the Euph part on Wednesday night before the MD handed it across to the librarian....
    I and my "partner in crime" now have to buy mutes for a grand total of 8 bars......

    I'm sure that they'll come in useful at some point (I know the MD wants us to play Pines of Rome arr Snell in the near future) but even so...

    Back to Ex Terra, its going to be all about tuning and balance, rather than who can wiggle their fingers the fastest. Having heard the recording, I quite like it....
  17. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    . . . at anything from £70 - £100 each??

    YEOWCH! :eek:
  18. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Very true; imagine the reaction if someone bought a high-powered cordless drill for the same money as a full-band score, complained to the store that it wasn't working properly, and were told:

    "Oh, here's a flyer on what you need to do to fix it yourself!" :mad:

    I'm not up to date on the latest legislation, but it certainly was the case until recently that anyone in the business of selling certain goods had a legal obligation to ensure that the goods were "of merchantable quality" - in other words, fit for purpose. If the trader sold anything which was not of merchantable quality, the customer had the right to choose between (i) having the sub-standard goods being repaired by the trader; (ii) replaced with a new item at the trader's expense; (iii) or getting their money back (not just a credit note).

    As 4th Cornet points out, with virtually all new compositions being written on easily edited software, it would cost the publishers very little to correct it and send out .pdf files - not ideal, as bands would then have to cover the costs of printing new copies, but still a darn sight less work for the bands than transcribing a mass of errata onto dozens of manuscripts, and with far less likelihood of them making a mistake in the transcription by hand (especially if the corrections came out only a week or two before the contest, which I understand has happened in the past).
  19. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    I would have thought that these (mutes) are items that a Band purchases when and If required
  20. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Only if the band can afford it. Different bands have different resources

    In an ideal world I would agree with you but cant have everything