Bands playing behind the beat

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by shaunbasstrom, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. shaunbasstrom

    shaunbasstrom Member

    I have played in quite a few brass bands so far, some which played straight to to stick, and others which played a long time behind. What i want to know is what are peoples thoughts on this, does your band do it?
  2. Masterblaster jnr

    Masterblaster jnr Active Member

    I reckon a lot of bands might do it when sightreading or something like that.

    It really for me would depend how well you know the piece. If you know it well, you will probably keep up, if not, then you might fall behind a bit trying to work out where you are in the piece.
  3. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I always thought it was the conductor in front of the beat:rolleyes:
  4. shaunbasstrom

    shaunbasstrom Member

    which ever way u wanna think of it!
  5. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    It bamboozled me for half my first rehearsal after joining a Championship Section band. There was I, all Academy learning (Newham Academy, before anyone asks...) following the beat religiously, and finding I was almost half a beat ahead on occasion. Once I worked it out it was OK. When I asked my teacher about this he just smiled and said I'd get used to each conductor and each band.
  6. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Definitely down to the conductor imho: I once watched one of my former bandmasters conducting, and it seemed completely haywire, whereas playing under him was never ever a problem. As has been said, each group seems to find its own way round it, and newcomers have to learn to adapt - and we usually do so pretty qickly, fortunately ;)
  7. halsasaurus

    halsasaurus Member

    It beats me (joke) why you would want to overcomplicate things with a fancy delayed wag
  8. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    it caught me out with the band I am with now. when I First played with them I almost came in before any one else because I was used to starting right on the down Beat and this band starts a little behind. took some getting used too I can tel l you, It has happened to others to and I have a little smile when it does Lol
  9. JesTperfect!

    JesTperfect! Member

    I was exactly the same when I moved up to our championship section band. When I commented on it to a friend from the same band, she said 'everyone who comes to Camborne joins being able to play with the soon gets beaten out of them'!!
    She's right-I can still follow the conductor because my youth band does, but sometimes it drives me mad in the senior band.
    It's so unhelpful if you've got a tricky passage that you're sight reading. If I'm in this situation I try to divide the beats up in my head and look to the conductor for guidance. If the rest of the band is playing behind the beat, it's no use at all trying to play the beats on the beat!!

    Mini-rant over!!
  10. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    To me it is easy if the beat is at the bottom of the conductors arm movement, Andre Previn (and others) have the beat at the top which is ok once you get used to it. Why introduce guesswork into it? And how else can it work when a conductor is giving an audible beat by hitting the stand?

    Conductors should insist that the beat is at the bottom, like you do Shaun!
  11. 2nd man down

    2nd man down Moderator Staff Member

    We'd just like to slowly beat our conductor. :biggrin:
  12. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    I practise playing in time by setting my metronome to a crotchet beat.
    But then I imagine the tick is actually happening on the off-beat, on the "and" between the beats. There is no tick on the beat, only a tick off the beat. With a bit of practise you can listen to the steady ticking and at will change what you hear to an on-beat tick or an off-beat tick. It's like those optical illusions where you can see a pair of faces talking to each other or a candlestick...

    The point of this is that mentally you have to construct a beat even if you can't hear one. Works best if everyone in the band is doing it.

    I'm still struggling with trying to play tuples against the off-beat tick - threes are OK, but fives are tricky. And I can't do sevens at the best of times.
  13. JesTperfect!

    JesTperfect! Member

    Have you played a piece called 'fives and threes'? that will sort you out!!
  14. Al

    Al Member

    This is a simplistic view but what happens when the conductor for example slows the music on the down beat? Most of the band will be in automatic down beat mode and play ahead.

    Whereas if the band is trained to play after the actual down beat has happened, they will be more in time when they 'anticipate' the actual playing beat.

    Both methods have their pros and cons.

    It's always a bit of a hassle when you go from one conductor to another.
  15. BoBo

    BoBo Member

    May be someone could do a survey of which bands are more together on entries, those "on" the beat or those "behind"?
  16. dread0

    dread0 New Member

    I know of a musical director who beats in a large circular motion ... take your pick where the pulse in a bar is with that one!

    I don't remember always doing well on the stage with that bloke in charge.

    BTW, when he does this it usually means that he is totally lost and is looking for the band to help him out!

  17. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Ah the dreaded "Waypoint" method of conducting. 'When the baton passes this point, (indicates vague area in the ethers) that's the beat.' ;)

    Okay, I'm being a bit sarcastic there, but I don't beleive that this method is likely to work properly as there's no clear visual indication of when the beat goes down, or even where it is and players just end up following each other.

    Plus, with the odd borrowed player a necessary evil for most bands in this day and age, it's very important for guest players to be able to follow the beat straightaway.

    I personally find it difficult to follow a conductor whos downbeat is an upbeat - but that's probably just because I've little experience of it and would adapt with time.

    I always prefer to play on the beat if possible. It makes it so much easier for everyone to work out where the beat is and stay together. Rather than having 28 interpretations of when to play, you then only have one - so starting together on the button becomes easier too.
  18. fireborn

    fireborn Member

    This is something that really winds me up! I tend to believe that a band will follow (if they watch the conductor at all ;-) ) the conductors strongest beat. Unfortunately, many conductors tend to have a strong bounce off of their down beat which in effect makes the up beat more obvious so the band settle on that. It can be a nightmare for new players. Hence, I believe the blame is with the conductor. I studied conducting with a well known and very successful conductor, and this bounce was one of the first things that had to be eradicated from my technique.
  19. JohnnyEuph

    JohnnyEuph Member

    Anyone encountered 'wax on, wax off'?
  20. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Can't say I know that one.

    I do know one chap who often 'turns the taps off' at the end of a piece though. (Hi IJK!)