European Parading Orchestra

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by jim sutherland, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. jim sutherland

    jim sutherland New Member


    I wonder if anybody can advise me?

    My name is Jim Sutherland and I've just been awarded the Creative Scotland award to create a European parading orchestra.
    I am working in old pitch which is a quarter tone sharp to concert. I am including a Semana santa band from Spain, a bagpipe band from Scotland and a Bombard section form Brittany.

    I am looking for other bands who still work or are able to work at this old high pitch to include in this 'orchestra'

    Do you know of any?


    Jim sutherland

  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    I think you will struggle to find a brass band currently playing in "high" pitch, as instrument manufacture ceased in the 60s. All brass band instruments have been manufactured in low pitch since 1965ish. You may find some bands will have high pitch instruments knocking about in store-rooms; you may be able to put together a quartet or 10-piece but probably not a full band.
  3. Di

    Di Active Member

    Hi Jim and :hi to tMP. :)

    I've moved the thread into the rehearsal room, as it may read a wider audience here. :)

    All the best of luck to you. ;)
  4. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Is there any (sensible) reason for using high pitch?
  5. jim sutherland

    jim sutherland New Member

    sensible reason

    The reason i am using high pitch is because that is the pitch that is now used by competing pipe bands in Scotland. It is alsothe pitch used by the Semana Santa band I am working with in Spain.
    The Semana Santa band is made up of around forty cornettas ( a kind of single valved bugle),twendy fliscornos ( Flugle horns) and two bass Fliscornos. They also have a drum section as do the pipe band. The 'orchestra will also have a Bombard(like a shawm) section from Britany. I am very keen to find a large high pitch Bass section for my 'orchestra' and would love to hear of any other European groups using high pitch .
    This all probably sounds like a crazy idea but I have already written for and recorded the Semana Santa band(Tres Caidas) with the Drambue pipe band ( the combination was glorious). Now I have been presented with the Creative Scotland award to create and write for a high pitch European parading orchestra.

    Any help or suggestions will be very welcome.

    all the best

  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Maybe you should try Arnold Myers at Edinburgh University. He still runs a Victorian Brass Band and specialises in early instruments (low brass) which are high pitch.
  7. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Sorry to doubt your word but - are you sure?

    I've played along with pipes on a number of occasions (including at Murrayfield, pre-Internationals), and the pipes and brass massed bands were definitely in tune (ish ;) ), and not high pitch.

    My lips are sealed...:)

    So that's where my taxes are going...:eek: - good luck!
  8. jim sutherland

    jim sutherland New Member

    Competing pipe bands have risen in pitch over the years and do play now around old high pitch.

    You will probably find the army bands and those other pipe bands who playin mass bands with brass bands work in concert but they wouldnt be anle to play with the Semana Santa band.:)
  9. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    You live and you learn, eh? :redface:
  10. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - Jim, it would be interesting giving a description of this project. You have been involved for years at the highest level in folk circles covering many forms in festivals and recordings (... difficult knowing where to start with your illustrious career) and I'm sure many of the members here would be pleased to listen to you. Glad to have you aboard!
  11. jim sutherland

    jim sutherland New Member

    Brassneck asked me to post more details of my project so here goes. ---

    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The idea for a European parading orchestra came about from working with la Banda Tres Caidas (an Eighty piece Semana Santa band from Seville) and the pipers of the Drambue pipe band from Scotland on music for the film Festival. In order to create the colour and atmosphere of an international festival, I wrote music for the two bands to perform together and be incorporated into the sound track of the film. [/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Pipe bands in Scotland have risen in pitch over the years and now play at a quarter of a tone above concert which is similar to the pre 1920s “high pitch” A = 452.4 still preferred by traditional Semana Santa bands in Spain. It was a marriage made in heaven. [/FONT] ​
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The Idea[/FONT]​
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]What excited me about the project was not just the similarities in pitch but also the opportunity create a unique cultural mix of parading traditions. The resulting music seemed to me to go some way towards expressing a sense of being European and I became very excited about expanding this idea in the form of a European parading orchestra involving -[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]la Banda Tres Caidas from Spain. [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Consisting of cornettas (single valved bugles with an interesting gapped scale), Fliscornos (similar to a flugel horn) ,bass fliscornos ( a bass version of the flugel horn) medium tuned snare drums and bombos ( cross between tenor and bass drums)[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]A pipe band from Scotland ( I have very enthusiastic interest from Shotts and Dykehead pipe band - 27 times world champions) giving us bagpipes, high tuned snare drums, tenor drums and a bass drum.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]A bombard section from Brittany ( a kind of shawm, a reed instrument with a bell originating in the middle ages and the Renaissance ) . The Bretons, from a Celtic tradition, sometimes mix highland bagpipes with their own bombards to create a parading band known as a bagad.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]A yet to be identified band/section from one of the new EU countries from Eastern Europe.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]The combination of already identified sections will give me five melodic voices and five percussive voices plus an eastern European element yet to be identified. This will form a glorious palate of instruments and cultures to draw upon, creating new challenges and providing a unique opportunity to compose a truly original musical score that explores the creative possibilities that occur when different cultures collide.
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I am hoping that the work will be performed at large scale festivals and celebrations in Scotland around Europe over a two or three year period. I will be working with Neil Butler Director of UZ events [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif] [/FONT][FONT=Arial, sans-serif]to develop the project into a performance for touring.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]Neil is the Artistic Director of Big in Falkirk and Glasgow’s Merchant City Festival and the British organiser of the pan European Insitu commissioning network (a partnership of Festivals and Producers).[/FONT]​
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]We will be looking for opportunities for the performance to be toured in Scotland then around the UK and mainland Europe.
    [FONT=Arial, sans-serif]I can imagine a musical and visual conflagration that is at one moment delicate and vulnerable and at another employs the pyrotechnic cacophony of the Spanish Mascleta[/FONT]​
  12. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I've just thought of someone else (for contacts) who would drool over this undertaking ... John Kenny at the RSADM in Glasgow (... you'll probably know him already).

    post edit:- Adrian Drover bought a tuba a few years back. Maybe, just maybe?
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2006
  13. jim sutherland

    jim sutherland New Member

    Hi Brassneck

    Thats right i know John well thanks for the reminder!
    John played sacbutts and trombone in a gaelic film i scored recently and did a brilliant job too!


  14. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    John Wallace also has experience of working with period instruments, and may be another person to speak to.
  15. jim sutherland

    jim sutherland New Member

    Hi Peter

    I don't know john do you have a contact for him?


  16. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - official route here ...
  17. jim sutherland

    jim sutherland New Member

    Thanks brassneck
  18. jim sutherland

    jim sutherland New Member

    Easten European section

    Hi I'm also very keen to find a section for my Europen Parading Orchestra who come from Eastern Europe or the Balkans. I wonder if anybody here knows about bands in that part of the world? It doesnt have to be brass but it does have to be able to tune up to high pitch!
    Any ideas?
  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    - nae probs! I assume this will be recorded as well? Depending on your structure and visions, there might be some room for the primeval scream of John Kenny's Carnyx! :)
  20. jim sutherland

    jim sutherland New Member

    Yeah the Carnyx is a great thing. Ibelieve they have a couple in Poland as well>??>

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