Adjudicators decision is final

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by GingerMaestro, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. GingerMaestro

    GingerMaestro Active Member

    I don't know if this has been discussed before but what do you all think about whether or not the adjudicator(s) should give out a brief note on what they are after from a chosen piece for the areas or should it just be a complete lottery and have bands on the day after the area contest moaning just like me last year after mr murdley's antics
  2. JR

    JR Member

    ...have you read Alan Morrison's proposals on criteria based adjudication as laid out at the recent ABBA AGM? (see 4br)
    These may go some way to alleviating your fears - Alan prefaced his presentation with "Many times i have come away from contests wishing - If only i had known in advance what the judge was looking for..."
    The trouble is, his ideas may never be universally adopted in this country.
    This is an interesting subject. I've been in favour of a similar approach for some years now, particularly for the lower sections. It gets more complicated at the top though

    john r
  3. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I raised this ages and ages ago here, and as I remeber, I got shot to bits for it (hey I wasn't that bothered, much, but I found counselling helped...:p ) I'm at work at the moment, so too busy to hunt around for the thread in question, but I might link to it later tonight.

    Anyway, for the lower sections at least I think this is almost essential. We have a classic case with this year's area pieces:

    Do we play Images at the published tempo markings (a feat even Scottish Co-op didn't manage on the recording) and accept that possibly 50-80% of the notes are going to be wrong or compromised in some way with ones that fall under the fingers more readily, or do we take the tempos down a little (as Alan Fernie does) get some clarity and at least the majority of the written notes right? Until the day we don't know what our adjudicator(s) are looking for, and to me it seems foolish that the time and commitment of a couple of hundred people (think about it - 28 people in each band) could be basically wasted on such a fundamental thing.

    Before eveyone starts screeching about getting 15 performances the same any adjudicators notes issued don't need to be so comprehensive as to turn the contest into some sort of "play by numbers" event. They should be a basic overview of what he / they are looking for and no more - there should then be plenty of scope for interpretation.

    I admit though, that things are much less clear cut in the championship section.
  4. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    I don't agree that you should 'play to an adjudicator' but that you should go with the interpretation that best suits your band (and is the decision of your conductor)...if you are not able to play the tempo markings/get all the notes right/play the correct dynamics then perhaps the level of contesting you are playing at isn't the right one for your band.

    I know that sounds harsh, but ALL the bands in the same sections have the SAME music to play, some will do better than others...that is how contesting works...if everyone played to how a specific adjudicator wanted, then how would he be able to discern which bands deserve to win? They will all be there or there abouts...

    In my opinion, part of contesting is going with your own interpretation...its as important as playing the best that you can...
  5. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    I don't think it's just about playing a piece the way an adjudicator wants it. A band may play a piece in a certain way that the adjudicator hadn't thought about but subsequently after listening to the band he/she really likes it and gives them top prize.
  6. Bigenglandfan

    Bigenglandfan Member

    :confused: I've often pondered and discussed the words of James Watson to the assembled throng before a draw at the area contest. He said " I can promise everyone here that I will send the best two bands to the london finals", (and to be fair, he did). However, was it his job to choose the "two best bands", or should he have been looking for the two best musical performances of the set piece of music on the day???? The two are not always the same, and in many people's opinion they were certainly not concurrent on the day in question.

    So back to your point... maybe the adudicators should be told more clearly what criteria they are required to work to on any particular day?:confused:
  7. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    I can see why you would say that, in in some [most] cases you'd be right, but in the case of the areas, what happens when your stuck with a piece that is at least one section harder than the section it has been chosen for?

    I would be amazed if any 2nd section band on the day could play Images at the tempos marked, playing 90% of the right notes and playing it together, in tune and with a degree of interpretation on top. If they can then they should be challenging for a place in the championship section, not the first.
  8. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    But adjudicators are not stupid...they realise the difficulties in the music may hinder some performances and will take this into consideration...if they didn't, then there wouldn't be a winner would there? If the piece is too hard for everyone, then everyone will play it badly, and the winner will be the best of a bad bunch!! lol!!

    There isn't any need for an adjudicator to let the bands know which bits are the most important bits, or which bits he is gonna allow to be played slower/quieter/less accurate etc....its up to the bands to play as well as they can....not the adjudicators to excuse them from even trying.
  9. Owen S

    Owen S Member

    It's an interesting point. I'm fairly sure an adjudicator has stood on stage at the L&SCR qualifiers and said, "I haven't picked the best two performances, I've picked the two best bands to represent your region at the nationals." Unfortunately, I can't remember who that was or which year or section.
  10. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Again, I can see where you are coming from, but you say the adjudicator should be able to allow for the difficulties in the music. OK I agree, but my point is in which way does he allow for it? Taking the case of Images again there are two ways he can allow for the fact that we've been lumbered with a piece that is too difficult this year - tempos or detail in the notes played. And that is just my point. So we say - "OK we'll play it at the tempos marked and not worry too much about the detail as he is bound to allow for that". Come a months time the adjudicator(s) stand up after the section and say "well we know this piece was too hard for this section so we've allowed a lot of leeway in the tempos - provided the notes were accurate"....

    Oh flippin' eck (to say the least) thats 6 weeks rehearsal, various sections, extra rehearsals, money spent on pro conductors etc etc, all chucked down the drain because we didn't have the first idea where the slack was going to be given. How are we expected to know this? At present its perhaps a gut feeling from your conductor and a toss of a coin. Wouldn't some very brief notes from the bloke in the box make this slightly less of a lottery?
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2006
  11. Sop_Or_Bass?

    Sop_Or_Bass? Member

    I agree with you WoodenFlugel. As the area is the only contest that matters for most bands (i.e those that do not go to the Open, Masters, Grand Shield, etc.), to have a lottery of requirements ain't good enough when you have to spend a lot of hard earned cash and time to try to get it right.

    However, it has been done like this for a long time and I don't see how it can easily be resolved or whether it can be made to make everyone happy (those at the top have to have the appetite to change it). I've had enough of comment after comment on how badly a section has been adjudicated.

    Go there - play - beer - get result - beer - go home - beer - Life goes on - beer
  12. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Whatever sounds best in the opinion of the conductor. That will depend on the qualities of the music, the levels of ability in the band, how the offending passage fits into his overall reading of the piece and the acoustics of the venue. So surely the MD, rather than the adjudicator, is in the better position to decide which strategy will work best for his band.

    In my experience most adjudicators go into the box hoping to hear a convincing performance but not necessarily one which fits a pre-determined notion of how the piece ought to sound.

  13. Bigenglandfan

    Bigenglandfan Member


    Been thinking about my own posting!!

    If it was made public knowledge that the adjudicators job at the area was to pick the 2 best bands to represent the region at the finals it could save us all a lot of time and hassle. We would just need to travel down on the day and listen to him tell us who the 2 bands are (he can get the info from the rankings if he dosn't already know who the best bands are in that particular contest). Then we can all go straight to the pub! No need to spend weeks on rehersing a piece of music and getting all sweaty and nervous before having to play it on stage. I like this idea, I think that I might start a campaign!!:clap:
  14. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Although for lots of reasons I don't generally support the choice of "Images" as an appropriate 2nd-section test piece, in this case I don't really see what people are getting so "het up" over.

    The answer to the quandary is in the score. At the end of the composer's own preface notes in the full score (both versions!), Howard Snell clearly states:

    "3. The metronome marks are for guidance only"

    As I see it, the 'slack' or 'leeway' has already been given by the composer. What self-respecting, competent adjudicator (yeah, oxymoron, I know ... ) is going to penalise a band for reducing the tempo in view of that?

  15. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    :clap: Excellent post. 'Nuff said
  16. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    OK its a fair cop. I was using Images as an easy and immediate example, and perhaps I shouldn't have done. But just to close the point, the final prestissmo is marked minim (?) = 144+. Now that to me implies that the final section should be taken at at least 144bpm despite Snell's score notes, otherwise why have the +? Frankly, even at 144bpm the cornet parts are virtually impossible - at least for any band outside of the Championship section. Which is kind of what my point was about. Anyway this thread is about adjudicators thoughts etc and not the suitability of Images of the Millenium which I only brought up to used as a case in point (probably wrongly in hindsight).

    Personally, I would've thought anyone who is tasked with the job of judging anything has some pre-conceptions before the day - I just don't see how you would begin to judge something without some idea of what you were looking for beforehand. (But if I am wrong there, it wouldn't be the first time I've not understood how adjudicators work :redface:) . My thought is that issuing these pre-conceptions in note form only (probably only 25-50 words) would be a useful tool for lower section bands. If used properly it might limit those times when the adjudicator stands up to make his speech after the section and you get that sinking feeling as he talks about something diametrically opposite to what your MD was trying to get out of the piece.

    Last edited: Feb 15, 2006
  17. scotchgirl

    scotchgirl Active Member

    Quote......""Oh flippin' eck (to say the least) thats 6 weeks rehearsal, various sections, extra rehearsals, money spent on pro conductors etc etc, all chucked down the drain because we didn't have the first idea where the slack was going to be given. How are we expected to know this? At present its perhaps a gut feeling from your conductor and a toss of a coin. Wouldn't some very brief notes from the bloke in the box make this slightly less of a lottery?""......Unquote

    I understand this point...however ALL the other bands in your section will have the same dillemma won't they? If (as in Images) the bands half the bands decide to play the correct tempo and bluff the notes and the other half drop the tempo and play all the notes, then depending on which way the adjudicator goes...half of them will do well and half won't...there is no way that this could be your conductor and go with the best that you can do!!

    If your band can't play the music, then do the best you can, whatever way you choose...that's what all the other bands have to do...

    I can give you an example, my band (The Staffordshire Band) qualified in 2n place on Montage a few years ago, and we played it completely differently from everyone else on the day (not like the recording...we went with how OUR CONDUCTOR interpreted it) could have backfired, but it didn't....that's contesting for take your chances just like everyone else.

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