4barsrest band of the year

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by PeterBale, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know how many of you have looked at 4barsrest's choices for their "Band of the Year":


    One thing that I noted was that they had filled all the cornet positions with players who occupy the Principal's seat in their respective bands. I know that any top cornet player should be more than capable of filling any seat, but I wondered how people felt about this, and whether there are "specialist" back-row players who you would give preference to.

    Feel free to make any other observations about their choices in general ;)
  2. lister89

    lister89 Member

    Yeah, I noticed that too. The euph sections the same, both brilliant players but both definately principals...
  3. deave

    deave Member

    its slightly harder to judge who has the best assistant principal 2nd cornet though!! i know who i'd nominate tho :p
  4. backrowbloke

    backrowbloke Member

    different playing on back from front row - ask any solo cornet who's had to play long low bottom G's ff or use the 3rd finger for a change ;)

    Personally - I have played front row to help out, but my upper register much weaker than lower - vice versa for our top man - I've covered some of his parts when v low.

    Who could name off the top of their head the back row of top 10 bands though?
  5. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    That is typical of the way all groups work. The qualities needed to sit on the end of a section are very different to being a section player. Many of the principal players are excellent principals, but whether they would be as great a 3rd player as someone who is used to playing those parts I would seriously doubt.

    If you sit on the end, you are the known name. If you sit on the front row (talking cornets here) you might be known. If you are on soprano you have a reasonable chance of being known. If you play third there is practically no chance you will be a known name, yet without you the band would be in a terrible state.

    A good third player (a good section player in general) will be someone who can play those parts fantastically. Entering, in tune, on a low G is an absolute nightmare, yet these players require this to be part of their playing skills. They are brilliant at what they do and should be applauded more often.

    A good friend of mine advertises himself as a "last trumpet player." He can play principal trumpet parts with no problems, but he is outstanding at playing down the section, he has developed the skills necessary for that job and has an amazing reputation for playing that style of part.

    Let us celebrate the section players - the principals get all the credit, yet without their section they would look very silly.

    Imagine a section made up entirely of principal players - the combination of nobody being able to play off beats (something you don't find often on solo parts), not being able to produce a full sounding low G (not many of them either) and the soloistic nature that comes from being at the top (where everyone should be listening to you and following your lead) could prove hilarious:-D
  6. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    And there's something to be said for back row players who are content to stay where they are and become proficient at it. Aspiring to be the best that you can be is a good thing, but realizing the true scope of your abilities and accept that you're never going to be the "star" at the end of the front row is sometimes better.

    We had a long-time player in the National Capital Band (25 years) who was content to stay on the back row essentially his entire time with the band. When he retired from playing a couple of years ago it took quite a long time for the section to settle back in. In some ways, it's still a bit at sea at times.
  7. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I would also argue the same to be true with second tenor horn and second baritone. Not only is pitch on the low notes an issue (as it takes quite some skill to develop), but also to be able to play loud enough (while keeping good tone quality), to blend with the other horns that will naturally sound much louder playing in the higher register.
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I totally support all the comments so far. It seems that the 4barsrest team doesn't appreciate the hard work the lower/second position players do!

    p.s., and I won't forget the second in command basses and the rest of the percussion team ;)
  9. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    Absolutely. Personally I was just using cornets as the example because that is what I most familiar with.

    Some of the best players I know (in the professional world as well as the amateur) don't sit on the top seats.

    For a good top player to sound good, the players beneath them have to be outstanding. If you have ever sat at the top of a section where you know people aren't pulling their weight, you really know about it, yet there are some people who when they sit below you - you are assured that your life will be easier. These are the people who get the jobs, in my books. A good section player is as hard to find as a good principal.
    A great top player with a terrible section will sound awful.
    A mediocre top player with a fantastic set of section players beneath them can sound awesome.

    They are not necessarily worse players, it is just that their skills lie in making somebody else sound good.
  10. Verbal Kint

    Verbal Kint New Member

    Are we suggesting that Roger Webster, Mark Wilkinson, Richard Marshall, etc. don't have the musical skill to deal with playing off beats, or good low registers, or anything else for that matter. We are talking about players (on all the sections in the 4br band) with very few holes in their armoury - complete players you might say. It's realise it's difficult for us to appreciate this, but it's true - Roger would make an unbelievably fine 3rd cornet player, Brett Baker would be great on 2nd trom - don't kid yourselves.

    I'm not saying that, in turn, we shouldn't also appreciate the skills of some of our section players, but please don't underestimate the people you're talking about. They'd musically deal with whatever situation was in front of them.
  11. Andy Moore

    Andy Moore Member

    I cans ee why it would have been very difficult to judge ... say the best 2nd Horn/Bari, 3rd Cornet etc. ... out of those that already play in those positions.
  12. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    aaaaaah, it's just a bit of fun people.... I see nothing wrong with it....

    ;) :p :-D
  13. meeglioni

    meeglioni New Member

    Ah, Verbal. I thought just like that, and you were gone? However, I do believe that the FBI are still after you - so I would lay low again.

    However, your re-emergance was needed, as your point does seem to hit the nail on t'head. I do believe that people on this thread are making some very uneducated points - until you came back, Keiser.
  14. pjb120

    pjb120 Member

    Exactly - I cant believe people are suggesting that the principal players would not be able to cope with the different demands of back row/ second part playing!!
  15. BbBill

    BbBill Supporting Member

    Im sure if this band was to put on a concert, it would probably be the best concert ever! Dont think many folk could deny that! Plus its got a few babes in it 2!! :D

    Even if it is all principals on the lower/second seats, i'm sure all the leading 2nd/3rd cornets, 2nd baris, etc etc in the country would agree, just to hear a band of this calibre would be fantasic and surely it would be a full house for a change! As long as they didnt play the Floral Dance I would give my right arm for a ticket!!! :biggrin:
  16. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Festive greetings to all!!! Some of us are not saying that principal players cannot adjust to playing support roles (real-people star bands over the years have done this before) but the original question posed was whether we were happy with just principals and/or whether we could nominate 'specialist back row' players for awards. There are many players who do not want solo/lead positions and concentrate on being exceptional musicians within the band framework and change their setup accordingly. Many choose to use bigger mouthpieces to give a fuller sound in a lower register to balance up to the more easily heard principal positions and these are the people who have chosen their specialist roles I would like to see recognised. Who was the best bumper-up cornet, 2nd baritone, 2nd BBb Bass or whatever? Name the best principals for the roles they played and give other positions and players credit too! ;)
  17. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    My last comment in my first post on this matter:
    "Imagine a section made up entirely of principal players - the combination of nobody being able to play off beats (something you don't find often on solo parts), not being able to produce a full sounding low G (not many of them either) and the soloistic nature that comes from being at the top (where everyone should be listening to you and following your lead) could prove hilarious:biggrin:"
    Was in a slightly whimsical vain, which I see has been entirely lost on some readers.

    I have the utmost respect for players such as Roger Webster, Mark Wilkinson etc, the point I was trying to make is that those players have worked very hard to develop not just the technical facility to perform fantastically as principal cornet players, but have also honed their technique towards the specific necessities of that chair.
    They would, I am sure, all be capable of playing the parts, but would they do a better job of them than someone who has spent many years (possibly) playing that style of part? Somebody who has spent their lives developing the technical facility that these parts require? Somebody who has honed their skills towards the specific needs of that chair?

    The band would, I am sure, sound amazing. Players of that calibre should come together to form a band, if only to find out how it would sound - but who would play principal??

    I am finding this discussion very interesting. As well as tMP I also participate in a number of other brass forums and there are similar threads running, about why people choose to play principal trumpet or why playing second is such a difficult, different challenge to that of playing principal. I have read posts from some of the top US orchestral trumpet players and they all say that a good second trumpeter is very hard to find. It is also interesting that most of them don't think they would be as good a second (or third) player as they are a principal - they have honed their skills towards that role. Their second players have honed their skills towards their respective roles.

    Lots of players (as they come up through the ranks) want the glory of playing in the principal seat, but without the rest of the band, the principal seat is a very lonely one. A truly great band consists (in my eyes and ears) of a band of specialists. The soprano player is a specialist soprano, the second baritone is a specialist second baritone, the 2nd BBb bass is a specialist 2nd BBb bass, the 2nd man down is a specialist 2nd man down, etc... This would, in my view, create the ultimate band.
    Every seat requires a degree of specialism, if you have specialists on every seat, you are very likely to have a great band.
    If you have specialists that work together as a team, you are even more likely to have a great band.
  18. Brassb3ll3nd

    Brassb3ll3nd Member

    I agree to a degree. People starting out in music will all have aspirations to occupy a solo position. However not everyone can fill that seat, and the vast majority never do, but they do reach a point that they are confident in their ability to be able to fill a certain roll. It is very rare to find a musician that is versitile enough to be able to play a range of instruments in different seats.

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