Double Bass Bow

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by yooflou, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. yooflou

    yooflou Member

    Maybe this is the wrong place for this comment, but for the 1st Section test piece the information about it tells we need to use a double bass bow on the tam tam. I have had an albeit quick look on the internet for one and they seem to be around £30+. Why oh why is that we need to spend this sort of money on a piece of kit that lets be honest will only ever be used for this piece.
    I am sure someone out there will tell me there is another piece that requires this particular piece of kit (apart form using it for what it was intended of course!!!!) but I doubt it is a common popular piece!
    OK we may be able to source an old one from someone somewhere and maybe we could sell it on ebay afterwards (though I doubt it as after repeated scrapings across the edge of a tam tam I am sure would ruin it's proper playing capability). Also do we need to buy some resin for it too??
    Sorry if I sound a bit negative, and I am certainly not against experimentation in music especially percussion, being an ex-player (it's OK no symapthy required) but to have it in a test piece where lots of bands who don't have spare funds for this type of thing have no choice seems strange.
  2. grausue

    grausue Member


    I've got a bow, but I don't want it used for this! Bet there is something else that we can make sound like a bow........................
  3. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Bass bows can be had for around £30 (student model) as you say, & rosin is about £3. So about the same as you might spend on, say, a euphonium mute or a mouthpiece for an Eb bass. Gotta say: Big deal!

    You would also need one for the vibraphone part in Of Men and Mountains, which is certainly within the capacity of good 1st section bands. Bowed vibraphone isn't that unusual, tbh, especially in newer top section pieces, so any 1st section band with promotion aspirations would need one at some point anyway.
  4. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure why everyone is complaining?

    Surely, since it is part of the percussion score, then on the day it will be provided, along with the specified tam-tam?

    Of course, it would be nice for bands to have the benefit of rehearsing with all the appropriate kit before the day, but then how many bands own a 28" tam-tam anyway?

    At the end of the day, with a little lateral thinking I would think that most bands will be able to figure out a way of begging/stealing/borrowing a Bass Bow if they really need to.

    [PS: if used correctly and carefully, I do not see any reason why a Bass Bow should be damaged by stroking a tam-tam ... ? ]
  5. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    I very much doubt that it would be provided actually. Area contests do not provide beaters for any percussion equipment as far as I'm aware, especially tubular bells (heard some great variations with a drumstick... *thwack*).

    More contemporary composers (as in age not school) are writing for a lot of bowed percussion, particularly tam tam, cymbal, vibes and a great effect on a marimba. Although I can understand that an 'unneccessary' expense it may be, you can always hit annoying solo horns over the head with it too (sorry Kev!).
  6. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    I'm sure you're right; I would see a Bass Bow as being a little more specialised than a simple beater, although as you say the same could be said of tubular bell hammers. There was some irony intended in my comment, although until we get a proper "tongue-in-cheek" smiley icon there's no way for anyone to know that ...
  7. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

  8. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Humour missed... sorry Gareth!
  9. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    At least it is only a bow that is asked for, be thankful it isn't a couple of canons with blank shot required. We all know which piece where that is a requirement. Thankfully no one has yet written a brass band arrangement of it and included the canons. (well not in my limited knowledge, and if there is one, someone will tell us):D
  10. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Is that Mendelssohn's "War March of the Priests" :?::shock::)
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  12. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    I was thinking more of the eighteen twelve overture actually. A bit more famous for the canons.
  13. DMBabe

    DMBabe Supporting Member

    You want specialised equipment, seems next areas 2nd section piece has a mental amount of percussion in it (our lot had a notepad making a shopping list out on the coach back from the finals)...... but like i said to them there's always Ebay!!;)
  14. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry - you missed the irony:

    "canon": member of priestly order

    "cannon": weapon making loud bang in "1812 Overture"

  15. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    i don't see what the problem is...

    all i see is that bands still have this closed minded approach to percussion.

    percussion is a more and more integral part of brass bands, and whether you like it or not, those who shall be playing said piece are going to have to shell out for a bass bow. there are more pieces out there than you realise that need a bass bow. i don't think one would be too hard to get hold of, why not ask a local school if they have one you could borrow for a small fee? or the local music service, or a local amateur orchestra? if you're too tight with the pennies to buy one.

    as for the size of the tam tam provided on stage... in my opinion, a tam tam is needed in a lot more pieces than a bass bow and every band should have one, regardless of the size you can still practise on it.

    it still amazes me how bands will happily spend money on the brass instruments and claim there isn't enough money for any percussion equipment. oh and that when things get broken, they say the stuff isn't being looked after properly, which doesn't surprise me when brass players tend to just lob the stuff here there and everywhere without due care and attention to how it could affect the instrument. just because we hit them, doesn't mean they can't break.
  16. Al

    Al Member

    Remember that these £0.99 Ebay bargains often have an outrageous postage cost, which can catch you out if you don't read the whole advert.. This doesn't seem too bad though.

    There is far too much percussion these days. In my day it was a bass drum, side drum - and a cymbal if you were a posh band. These days our band insist on:

    both timps,
    a full kit,
    and all manner of bongos and paraphernalia
    . . . . just for the weekly summer concert in front of an audience of 30 if we're lucky.

    If anyone complains or doesn't help cart the stuff the percussionists/drummers go into a sulk, and of course we can't do without them because there would be no beat to follow (our band follows the conductor)
  17. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Percussionists are as much a part of the band as all the brass players, and if they need new kit for a particular score then its no different than brass needing stuff like mutes. Bands are full of resourceful people - if you're unwilling or unable to buy something new there's plenty of places you can beg, borrow or steal from. :wink:
  18. UncleStreaky

    UncleStreaky Member


    I know a couple of Canons that would be up for it!
  19. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I do think shelling out for one piece equipment that'll get thrown in a cupboard and never used again is not going to be popular with band treasurers - and with same justification when a lot of bands are struggling for funds as companies are tightening their belts and dropping sponsorship, the rising cost of petrol and player shortages raising depping fees etc. etc.

    Percussion is often a sore point with me. When used correctly and with Skill, it can add immeasurably to the performance of any piece. When used badly, it can easily obliterate a band sound and ruin it. The composer has obviously been very clear about the sound he wanted to generate, so must have considered it very carefully.

    The key is balance - a skill percussionists need awareness of just as much as brass players.

    (Note I do not use the term 'Drummers' which I generally reserve as an insult for those few people who spoil percussion by making the part up, ignoring the conductor's tempo and hitting everything as hard as possible. ;) )

    I should imagine the effect of a bow on a tam-tam would be very subtle - so bands had better make sure their playing is equally subtle or the treasurer will want their money back!

    PS: One for pedant's corner - The plural of canon is canons. The plural of cannon is cannon. :hammer:
  20. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    Both? What happened to the other one or two? Really, how much hassle is it to roll out a few drums to make sure the music is played right? Do you take issue with half your tuba section demanding big heavy BBb basses, when they could probably make do pedalling on an EEb?

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