Compositional Scoring Question

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Hells Bones, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Here is one for you Bass players out there.

    I have arranged Parry's "I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me" for band and choir and have used a couple of pedal C's on the BBb's.

    What is more common? An 8ve down symbol or just the note with ledgers?

    HB
     
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I would think that 8vb (ottava bassa) is more convenient.
     
  3. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    How low would it go before you start using them?
     
  4. Zeek

    Zeek Member

    I wouldnt be fussed, most players would pedal even if it wasnt written, but if its in octaves then just use ledgers, other wise its up to you
     
  5. Zeek

    Zeek Member

    Some pieces have pedal B's written on ledgers, but any note after that is quite pointless, cos you cant play it loud enough and hold ot long enough to get a good sustained noise
     
  6. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Cheers butt!

    Would most players pedal even if the composer writes "No pedals unless written" on the part?
     
  7. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I would suggest that it would depend on whether it is just a one-off note, or as part of a phrase. If it comes as part of a scale, for instance, leger lines would probably be better.
     
  8. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - that's a little more difficult to decide but the easier it is to read, the better. Most parts I would choose would be anything below low F/E (transposing pitch).
     
  9. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    I was glad.jpg

    That ok?


    P.S..... pedal that, suckers hehe :biggrin:
     
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Not very clear image :rolleyes:. Is the part only going down to a low G??
     
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  12. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member


    Octave "C"s at letter "A"

    (had to increase the magnification on the page to 125% to see it though)
     
  13. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Thanks Peter! In that scenario where the part is split into octaves at A, then there isn't really much option.
     
  14. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    There you touch on a major reason why the practice of pedalling where it's not written has come about. There are quite a few composers who appear to have missed the advent of the fourth valve entirely. It's pretty frustrating for a BB player to find themselves written in unison with the Eb basses all the time, particularly where it's obvious that the scoring would lend itself to the additional octave very nicely. Maybe we shouldn't, but kaiserbass jockeys do take it upon ourselves to judiciously drop the odd octave in where it'd suit.

    As a BB player myself, if you've written even one note in the whole piece which requires a fourth valve, then you clearly know what you want from the low register of your basses - so I would play precisely what you've written, and nothing else, because if you've not dropped a pedal then you clearly don't want one.

    I realise that's by no means a perfect rule to use all the time, as some composers (Philip Sparke being the perfect example) certainly do know very well how to exercise the low register of a BB - but choose not to use it when seeking a different sound. It does give a sort of rule to work to when in that grey area though.

    If you'd actually written "No pedals except where indicated" that's abundantly clear and any BB player should respect that. I seem to recall coventry variations has a direction for any adjudicator to deduct points if a band playing it pedals where it is not indicated in the score - so you'd not be the first to do that kind of thing. It may be you feel that inappropriate pedalling where not written would destroy the sound you're looking for, so by all means, put us basses in our place and tell us exactly how you want it done. It's your right as a composer!!

    As for how to make them easiest to read, for unison playing I generally find ledger lines down to a D (1+3+4) and then 8vb lines below that to be the easiest method to read.

    If the players are split and the parts are written in octaves, most players will generally read the top octave and mentally "drop" it anyway so adding an octave in ledger lines, or adding "+8vb" will be equally easy to read.

    Nice to see you excercising our low registers too!!
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  15. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Humans have an intuitive appreciation of any number quantity up to 5 - but not beyond; something specific to us - I believe studies have shown that certain types of monkeys have intuitive number-sense up to 6, while crows are okay up to 3 or 4. After 5, we have to break things up into groups - usually of 2s and 3s.

    Why am I mentioning this? Well, up to 5 leger lines can be read quickly and intuitively because of it [I say 'can be' - if you're not used to reading down there, it'll still be hard work remembering which note names attach to which leger line], but beyond slows us down.
    So there is a good reason not to write more than 5 - unless the part is obviously in octaves, in which case the octave above gives you a good idea of what the note will be.

    Having said that, notational style can dictate the use of '8vb' at rather less depth than this, in order to keep the notes from interfering with the line below. Personally, I usually write up to four leger lines out (i.e. down to pedal C), and use '8vb' for 5 leger lines downwards (i.e. from pedal B down). This seems to be rather similar to common practice.
     
  16. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Trust Moomindave to have a proper scientific reasoning behind his approach! :clap:

    I just went with whatever I found easiest to read....
     
  17. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I think this is probably also why our system has evolved to have 5 lines in a staff...
     
  18. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    Suggest you switch off auto-layout, too. Sibelius never did get that right.
     
  19. Hells Bones

    Hells Bones Active Member

    Yeah, I always use my own layouts but tend to do it when I come to printing the music off ;)
     

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