Band Seating Arrangement

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by eflatbass, May 19, 2011.

  1. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Perhaps for a bit of fun, here is my idea for a new(?) band seating arrangement.

    Just go to, and take the link from the home page.

    My reasonings:

    1. It allows the the euphs and horns to point their bells at the audience.

    2. Blends the sound of the euphs with that of the basses.

    3. Puts the baritones with the trombones (where I think they belong).

    It might be a rubbish suggestion, but one I trust will attract some discussion, and even more alternative seating plans.

    I know I am going to regret this. :-?
  2. cornetsquint

    cornetsquint Member

    I think that having the trombones facing the audience, they could overpower the others. In our band, horns and cornets are seated in the same arrangement as your plan
  3. zippy

    zippy New Member

    Baritone with the Troms!!! oh no no no. Although they would'nt be blasting right behind our heads then I suppose
    Much rather sit with the horns
  4. cockaigne

    cockaigne Member

    I can see your reasoning, but would ask why you want the euphs and horns to point their bells at the audience? This would harden the sound (as heard from the front) and prevent it from blending so well with the rest of the band.

    I agree that the euphs need to blend with the basses - they are all members of the tuba family, after all, but there are other seatings which allow this.

    I would disagree over the baritones; they are saxhorns like the tenors, and need to sit near them.

    Separating the three trombones is a definite no-no, as is having them pointing directly outwards.

    I'd also strongly advocate keeping the basses in the middle, as placed centrally the bass gives a much better foundation to the sound of the whole band. Think of traditional orchestral seating plans - where sometimes the double basses are ranged in a row across the back of the whole orchestra (behind the winds, brass and percussion). The modern orchestral arrangement (cellos and basses to one side, all the violins on the other) is relatively new, and provides for a very unbalanced sound.

    All that said, if you could write a piece with this seating arrangement in mind, it'd prove an interesting experiment. Philip Wilby does it rather a lot, and he seems to know what he's doing ;) I think this is a bit too far-removed from traditional seatings to be much use with the majority of the current repertoire.

    Sorry if this sounded harsh - trying to be constructive...

  5. Bayerd

    Bayerd Active Member

    Go on then, I'll indulge you...

    1. Ideally you don't want any bells pointing directly at the audience as articulation and production noises are more easily heard (unless it's for a specific effect).

    2. Most of the time you're looking for the Euph sound to lead the bottom end of the band, so some distinction won't do any harm.

    3. For me the baritones sit better as a link between Tenor Horn and Euphoniums sound-wise with Trombones adding a brightness to the lower end.

    I should imagine the overall sound would be more lopsided and make it harder to produce an overall balanced band sound.

    Having your Sop and Rep so far apart wouldn't be ideal either as they often share parts and have duets etc
  6. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    That's not harsh! It's just the kind of comment I hoped to generate. Thanks for your contribution.

  7. simonium

    simonium Member

    My only seating advice is to have the "embarrassed-tones" sat as far away from the musicians as possible. I jest, my own baritone section is lovely :)
  8. blue juice

    blue juice Member

    Having the basses at the side would be unbalanced. Personally I don't see the point of trying to mess with the current system and the only 'variations' I've seen is swapping the euphs and baris with the horns.
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    My thoughts (some of which are duplicating points already posted):

    1) You don't want any instruments pointing out. It makes the blend more difficult to achieve and brings any fluffiness of production to the audience's attention. You've carefully organised it so that as many instruments point out as possible...

    2) Putting euphs and basses together is a decent idea - one already practised by a fair number of bands who have swapped the traditional positions of horns/flugel and euphs/baris.

    3) The baritone/trombone thing... No. Just no. Baritone, euphonium and trombone sounds are all related but clearly separate tone concepts in the same pitch region. You could arguably put the baritones beside the trombones (although I'd always think of them as more of a bridge of the horn sound into the tenor range, towards the euph sound), but putting them between the trombones - well... just no. In the band, the trombones fulfil the function of tonal relief - they blend with each other, but are often called on not to blend so much with the rest of the band as the baritones do.

    4) Sop and rep work together often - can't be separated like this.

    5) Ditto flugel and solo horn.

    6) Four percussionists! Not exactly standard... I don't think you can separate them usefully - better to let them just do the usual thing when there are that many of creating a long row of equipment at the back and flitting around to suit.

    I propose an alternative alternative layout... If we retain the front row where they are, and place the back row opposite them, where the euphs/baris traditionally sit, then front and back rows can hear each other, and balance/blend more accurately as a section; sop and rep stay next to each other, and can more easily work with the principal via a direct sight-line. If the trombones then swap sides to sit behind the front row then the bass trombone doesn't end up having to look through their own bell to see the conductor. Then if we place the euphs and baritones in front of the basses (which haven't moved), then the tuba-end blend is easier than if they are in traditional positions. This leaves flugel and horns sat behind the back row where the trombones usually sit, with the flugel on the end. If we then swap baritones and euphoniums over, then the flugel, horns, baritones and then euphs can sit in one long sweep that matches their tonal relation to each other. Percussion stay as usual.

    I think that layout matches the functions of the sections in the band better than the traditional layout.
  10. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Thanks, Dave. Later on, I will attempt to create the layout you have suggested and place it on the web site. For now, I must break and cook our evening meal (who says that the wife's place is in the kitchen?).

  11. bbg

    bbg Member

    In my 'umble opinion ( as a mere bass player, not one these fancy-dan guys that have to be seen to be heard - you certainly hear us boys!) Lord Dave of Kidlington's plan has more merit than does Masterchef Brookes' one. Particularly intrigued by the cornet arrangement, bringing back-row harmonies closer to flugel / tenors, and the baris being in front of basses - would need to hear it to be certain, but the only thing I can't quite imagine right now is bass trom behind 4th solo cornet?

    Interesting thread though!
  12. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Dave's suggested arrangement is now on my web site. The link is on the home page:
  13. blue juice

    blue juice Member

    Not a good idea taking the sop away from the solo cornets as I find sop needs to listen carefully to them so as to blend in.
  14. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    Interesting! My first thought was :eek: at having the bass trom pointing straight at the audience. Most bass troms have the ability to cut though / ruin (delete as appropriate) the sound of the band, even when they are sat towards the back to the band and playing into the backs of the unfortunate baris / horns. Having a 'de-restricted' bass trom is asking for trouble!

    Dave's suggestion is interesting too but the problem is that it takes the lower horns away from the baritones so that link could potentially get lost. I guess however the band chooses to sit, ultimately someone, somewhere is going to be sitting away from a part their own may closely relate to. :dunno
  15. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Not sure if I've misunderstood, but I think Dave's layout would involve reversing the positions of Euphs/Bari's so that Bari's were between Euphs and Horns. This is not reflected on Barry's website diagram ...
  16. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    I think I have it as Dave intended; however, I will wait for him to comment.
  17. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Only real problem I find with the present standard layout of instruments is when the flugel sits next to the solo horn with the bell facing the audience (i.e, when euphs/baris sit opposite cornets). It does upset the balance and sometimes the player's sound as well because of the glare of projection. Grimethorpe's formation does address this issue but for some bands copying their setup, the euphs/baris can get lost in the mix.
  18. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

  19. jackocorn

    jackocorn Member

  20. eflatbass

    eflatbass Supporting Member

    Shall I, dare I, make a frightful suggestion? Take out the flugel completely, and add an additional tenor horn (or perhaps another baritone):eek:

    Forgive me, flugel players, but I often get confused as to the exact purpose of having that big cornet in a band.

    It's now time for me to leave the country!

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