Acoustics and Adjudicator's box.

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by Caprice, Apr 27, 2014.

  1. Caprice

    Caprice Member

    Having listened to most of the band's in yesterday's Grand Shield contest and also a couple in the Senior Cup it became obvious early on that alot of subtle nuances and sensitive musical playing was lost on any listener sitting more than about 20 rows from the front. (Grand Sheild) The stage was surrounded by curtains on all sides and the hall was heavily clad with soft furnishings - all of which absorb the sound. The adjudicators, who obviously didn't have the luxury of being able to move to a more advantageous position, were at the very back of the circle in a Wooden box!
    The Senior Cup bands were also playing on a carpeted floor with the audience on the same level forming another great mass of sound absorbing material before it reached the adjudicator's ears.
    I appreciate that The Winter Gdns have become synonymous with the Spring Festival over the years and the venue is ideal in terms of its facilities and number of halls etc but l do feel that 'On Alderley Edge' was a wonderful test of lyricism, musicality and great subtlety of ensemble playing which needed the adjudicators in a very different position to a louder, less subtle test piece.

    There will no doubt be some person who replies - 'it was the same for everyone' - but in my opinion there were bands who sounded brash and hard (this would have also been masked by the curtains and wooden box) who were placed above bands who's sensitive and musical performance clearly moved the audience sitting close enough to hear the wonderful pp it.

    This is the qualifying contest for what is considered by many to be the most important and prestigious contest in the brass band calender - which is held in a modern concert hall designed acoustically to show off musical ensembles of all kinds - surely this contest warrants a different venue in the 21st century? - or at least place the box in the optimum position for sound according to the test piece on the day?

    I have been playing and listening to bands for many years and this is an issue which seems to have become more apparent as the standards of bands across all sections have risen over the years. I would be interested in any other thoughts on this.
    Joy Newbould
  2. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    No harm done from the look of the results though? Best bands/conductors came in the prizes and the dross didn't.
  3. Rigo Jancsi

    Rigo Jancsi New Member

    That is a very unkind comment !!
  4. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    Just a concise reply. However close to perfect the acoustics of any venue are, they will always suit one band, or approach more than others. Whatever your views on the qualities of the venues used for the Spring festival they appear to have done their job. The best bands won the rubbish ones came last, and the others were arranged in between in order of merit. At 95 years of age I doubt you could hear any difference. Another true, but perhaps unkind comment!
  5. Chris Hicks

    Chris Hicks Member

    I thought the adjudicators did a decent job ;)
  6. jonny1note

    jonny1note Member

    Thank you for your knowledgeable and informed comments. If the 'rubbish' bands, as you so disparagingly call them, didn't get invited, there could not be any contest. Don't bother to reply, as I won't take the bait.
  7. hobgoblin

    hobgoblin Member

    You could safely not invite quite a few bands and there would still be a contest. Indeed, even if the ten most 'rubbish' bands in the Senior Trophy were not invited back there would still be ten bands in it - more than some sections in some of the regional champs. I understand how you feel though, and it must be said that it's the taking part that counts, and every one of the bands that took part yesterday were special and 'winners' in their own way.
  8. hellraiser

    hellraiser Member

    The 9 bands I heard in the shield were placed fairly, in my view.
  9. Tubawolves

    Tubawolves Member

    Thanks for posting and more importantly thanks for attending the contest, without an audience a lot of the special feel of contest day is lost.
    It is an interesting point you make and to add to the mix I would share the fact that the on stage acoustic is difficult for bands. A major part of playing in a 29 piece ensemble is the need to listen to what is going on around you. The stage at the winter gardens is the most difficult stage I have played on and other players testify to the same difficulty as you cannot hear across the band. I fear over blowing occurs because you have no sense of balance due to the on stage acoustics. The better players and bands trust their rehearsal schedule and go with the script so to speak but any band under rehearsed would have greater difficulty for obvious reasons.
    I am interested in your point about harsher tones against softer sonorous playing - could you be more specific? Are you saying you didn't agree with the result and the box does not get to hear the detail you hear? If this is the case what changes to the placings would you have made and why? Many thanks again for your post it is a sensible point of view which should stimulate the right sort of debate
  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    The Senior Trophy hall (Spanish) is a tricky acoustic too. We were back for the first time in 9 years this year, and despite delivering a performance that found favour with the gentlemen of the press (predicted 3rd by both BB and 4BR) and also seemed to resonate with the audience, we took home a lowly 15th place, with the percussion having arrived at the adjudicators' ears very swampingly, a consistent criticism throughout. But that's contesting! I offer this not in disappointment (getting a bit old to take these things too much to heart), but as an illustration of acoustic difficulties at the weekend. We're not habitually the loudest-blowing band out there (indeed, were criticised for not delivering a big enough fff at Cheltenham last year in a very different hall), and further had deliberately throttled back on the dynamics somewhat from there. And still we were OTT at the top of the range, as evidenced by comments and remarks. One must play the hall, but when the hall is idiosyncratic and one only sees it once a decade, some acoustic guesswork around the stand is inevitable.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2014
  11. The Godfather

    The Godfather Member

    I have every sympathy with anyone playing in the Spanish hall. It's a rotten venue and should be demolished. I didn't hear your band Dave, but did hear several from fairly near the box. Must be a difficult and thankless task eh?
  12. The Godfather

    The Godfather Member

    My my, you are a nasty piece of work!
    I must put a contract out on you. WATCH YOUR BACK HOBGOB!
  13. The Godfather

    The Godfather Member

    Who decides where the box is placed? I understand that in the Ballroom it has been located at floor level and at upper floor level on past occasions.
  14. boourns

    boourns Member

    In recent years the box has been in middle of the stalls, well in front of the overhanging circle, which seems sensible to me. Does anyone know why it was moved up a level this year? Perhaps to keep the adjudicators away from the noise of the riff raff? Or maybe to ensure the riff raff can't hear the adjudicators snoring? ;)

    Also, I know there have been plenty of complaints about the boomy acoustic in the Arena for the Senior Cup, but I quite enjoyed it as a listener. Surely it has to be an improvement on the cavernous ballroom?