Eyes or Ears - what are we actually listening with?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Tubawolves, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. Tubawolves

    Tubawolves Member

    This thread may or may not be of interest but:

    I am intrigued by our ability or indeed inability to hear what is actually being played. I am particularly thinking when we hear a named band or a band with an excellent reputation is there a tendency to eulogise and wax lyrical often missing loose playing/intonation issues etc? Do we fail to give some other lesser ranked bands credit just because they lack a history of success?
    Is this an issue and where do we see it?:

    1/ Within the Brass Band playing public
    2/ None Playing Brass Band Audiences
    3/ Adjudicators (Particularly Open Adjudication)
    4/ Reporters

    Do our eyes fool our ears?
  2. Bass Bone

    Bass Bone New Member

    Interesting question.
    Certainly from my point of view I much prefer to hear and see a live performance. It adds so much more to the experience. You only need to look at an audience where some of the people have their view obscured in some way, perhaps by the person(s) in front, or a supporting pillar etc., and you can see the frustration.

    I firmly believe that being able to see a band playing on stage can, subconsciously at least, affect one's overall impression of the performance which is why I favour closed adjudication for major contests. For example two bands may be playing well but would we not be affected one way or another if the band appeared sloppy or professional, nervous or relaxed, well presented or careless in their overall demeanor.

    That said, whilst minor lapses by a top band may pass relatively unnoticed loose playing etc will not. Mentioning no names I attended two concerts in successive year from a major brass band. The first year the band played brilliantly. The second year they were not so good. The difference, some of their corner men were missing and they had some deps in their place. The second year I took my wife along on the basis of the original concert, she's not a great lover of brass bands but would come into category 2. I said nothing to her about my impression of the performance but she was pretty scathing about some of the playing. She's not a musician but knows her music and can spot a duff note or sloppy playing a mile off.

    I also recall going to concerts, not brass bands, enjoying a performance and on the strength of that buying a CD. Listening to the CD later I wondered if either it was not very well done or if I'd been over impressed at the live performance.
  3. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    Our eyes can fool our ears - I went to a large contest a couple of years ago and spent a couple of hours in the hall just thinking about this. The bands I expected to do well took to the stage looking determined and focused and (mostly) professional. The bands I thought would be hoping to come anywhere but last appeared to be nervous, uncontrolled in their movements and generally looked less professional. Of course, this affected my level of sympathy for the performance. A well presented performance (visually) with a few slips can still be effective. A sloppy visual performance does nothing to off-set poor playing.

    One of the reasons I am for open adjudication is because of how important visuals are (even just body language). I don't understand why we fight to remove this important part of a performance from our judgment of it. Perhaps if bands knew it was important on the contest stage they would do a better job of it the rest of the year also :)

    A big chance this thread will descend in to a discussion about open vs closed adjudication...
  4. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

  5. Tubawolves

    Tubawolves Member

    :D Trust you Ian, but a very pleasant distraction from the main topic. I approve and quite frankly don't care what it sounds like:biggrin:

  6. Ianroberts

    Ianroberts Well-Known Member

  7. iffytboner

    iffytboner Member

    Here's proof.....As much as I agree with most of what you said, it's got to be closed for me.

    Too much of a chance that Mr Adjudicator was in the pub last week with winning band Z's 2nd Baritone player. Whilst Mr Adjudicator probably has !00% integrity that's not how it will be perceived if band A's 3rd cornet player was in the same pub with band X's bass trom player on the same night. It could even go the other way with bands that are known to Mr Adjudicator being marked down for fear of perception

  8. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member

    Craig, I'm not sure this is a problem. The top bands are the top bands because they're the best we have. There are bands that used to be considered amongst the best (Imps, Hammonds for example) that get no sympathy or kudos (or points) because of who they are (or were).
    In fact, most bandsmen are harder on the top bands than the others, almost waiting for a mistake in their performances.

    I believe what CAN make a difference to the audience reaction is the conductor, or star soloist, in a performance. You and I have had conversations of how Bram, Kingy, Howard and some others can whip the audience up into a frenzy providing the playing is at a level that doesn't detract.

    The soloist thing can also detract. Fred is one of the best in the world and will play a solo probably better than anyone else at a particular event. How might he be judged if he split his last top 'z' against a lesser known player that didn't. 99% of his playing will be streets ahead but the split is the thing people will talk about in the bar and the reason some may judge him a worse player.

    When people know you're considered the best there is a massive expectation and, if it isn't met, a huge potential for unfair comparison "...ooh, did you hear Foden's basses, they'll get nowhere today!.....". On the other hand, a great performance by a lesser band (let's use your band just for arguments sake) might have people saying ".... they might be in the frame..."

    You'll always get the rent-a-crowd supporters in the old band tie, or WAGS that scream regardless of the playing standard but most, if not all, are harder on the named bands than the others.

    Just my opinion.
  9. Phil Green

    Phil Green Supporting Member

    BTW - my comments aren't aimed at Flowers or about them being a lesser band - but they're not one of the named bands that I think Craig refers to in his post.