Fair Do's

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by brassneck, Sep 7, 2004.


What Should Be Done About Adjudication?

Poll closed Sep 21, 2004.
  1. Areas/Set Tests (a) Present setup is okay

    3 vote(s)
  2. (b) Conductors of bands involved in Areas should not judge another area in same section

    4 vote(s)
  3. (c) Pool of selected judges to attend conference to agree on what factors merit points

    14 vote(s)
  4. Open Contests (a) Present setup is okay

    2 vote(s)
  5. (b) Competing bands should pre-submit scores to judge(s) for analysis

    8 vote(s)
  6. Technical Merit (a) No breakdown of technical performance is needed

    2 vote(s)
  7. (b) A rating scale for technical aspects should be included as a % of total points

    9 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Well, the time of the Open and National Finals are with us again,... the bars and corridors will be full of bandspeople and supporters arguing the merits of one performance against another against what the judges decide at the end of the day! A lot of hard work goes into any contest especially if travelling and booking of accomodation is involved and I always get back to to the question if bands get a good deal out of all this effort and preparation for a performance of usually less than 20 minutes on stage? Can the adjudication system be improved to allow a fair and positive critique for all bands participating? My poll is directed for set-tests (especially area qualifiers) and open contests (programme or test). I would be very interested in viewing the results....and hopefully contest organisers might take a peek as well!
  2. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I really like the idea of adjudicators having moderation meetings. Teachers who mark GCSE and A levels have to go to moderation meetings so that we know what the board expects and so that we can all sing out of the same edition of the same hymn book. I don't see why adjudicators should be any different.
  3. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Wait for my 'soapbox' to appear in the very near future on 4br. (See the recently updated comments page) That has a suggestion based on one of the options in the poll!

  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Mike, I don't want to see a situation where bands know in advance what criteria is needed to please judges. The originality of that interpretation by conductor and band would be lost as a result. My concern is bands can win get results for wildly different reasons because of subjective tastes. The empirically based standards set by the adjudication board will mean that they will have to sing from the same songsheet. One argument against this might be that on the day of the first area, competitors from other areas may modify their ideas after listening to bands and retrieving results. But would adjudicators have to give away (post contest) their foundations of thought regarding standards and expectations? Tricky, but I'm sure they can generalise about performances without helping bands still to qualify in later qualifiers. Also, if the work is new, the composer should be involved with the adjudicators in that conference to outline what he/she demands from the score. That small area of creativity and the unexpected genius of interpretation by conductor or soloists that may have been overlooked by panel and composer could also be considered. Not often have I found major composers that are truly dogmatic about what they have created on manuscript. Sometimes, a slight change of tempo or subtle use of rubato can have a dramatic influence on the end result. If what is on paper is to be rigidly adhered to, fair do's, but the panel must stick to whatever guidelines they have set.
    One point about the technical awards. The Kerkrade system uses 10 parameters, split into 2 categories of sound and musical performance from which the judges mark up to a maximum of 10 for each (including half points) on sliding scales which is included in the final set of scores. I wonder if the categories that can be chosen can be added to the bottom of the adjudication sheet as rating scales. In the present system, the judge can still write notes about the performance as usual, but at the end can simply add his ratings for aspects like tuning, balance, articulation etc. What percentage of marks? Maybe 20%? Not for me to decide.
  5. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Ah! I wasn't in favour of letting bands know what the deliberations were! That would obviously give bands whose area contest was at a later date an unfair advantage. If there were enough adjudicators that all area contests could be held on the same day at the same time that wouldn't be a problem.

    Even in moderated situations, because music is so subjective, there is still room for interpretation. Perhaps a weighted system might give some flexibility?

    I'm not sure generalising in comments would make adjudicators any more popular than they are now :) There would probably be a sharp increase in the sale of wax dolls!

    I think the problem we have at the moment is a lack of consistency across the different areas. All adjudicators are looking for different things and the current system doesn't really allow for a more objective way of doing things.
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Hmmmm! I see 4barsrest have put their thoughts onsite regarding fair and transparent adjudication, suggesting that the 3 judges should announce the criteria with which they are going to separate performances BEFORE and AFTER the Open. Certainly, I agree that AFTER the contest, such details should be made available to the banders and public whether through representation onstage or even more preferably, on a printed sheet (... heheheh, that's if they had got together prior to the event and agreed on the criteria they have set to award points), but BEFORE??? Generally, bands have a final rehearsal session before going onstage to compete and conductors do change their mind how they want their band's final performance to sound (especially after maybe getting the chance to listen to a few performances. I have been in this situation before in a late draw and it was successful!). Getting hints from adjudicators like this would only throw the preparation maybe into chaos if ideas don't match from rehearsal room to reality. I didn't want to mention the choice of 3 tests for the Open before because whether St. Magnus, Montage and Contest Music can be seen as being equal to each other in terms of technical or musical difficulty has been covered elsewhere on threads to some degree and the final Open result should be interesting for both bands and audience.
    Have noticed that in Brass Band World, Roy Roe has indicated (in a very general way) what factors he is looking for in a winning performance at the Autumn Folkestone contest.... expressive musicality, detail (esp. tuning), creation of soundscapes, rhythmic precision... and the control of percussion teams (...balance). At least he is being honest and open in his approach.
  7. Trog's

    Trog's Member

    In my humble opinion, I have always thought that it would be fair for all the areas to have the same adjudicators!

    I feel that the same guy (or preferably guys) could judge the same section through out the country, and then go on to judge finals in the same section. This way there is a big constant, the bands that qualify know what that particular adjudicator likes or doesn't, this would surely give closer contests.

    The obvious disadvantage would be only having one area per weekend, the advantage of this, I could imagine, is other areas that would normally compete on the same day would be able to attend a different area to watch, therefore bigger crowds for the venues. (Must be a good thing)
  8. weejockcws

    weejockcws New Member

  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I take your point in most respects, weejockcws, but it would at least alert bands in advance if the adjudicators planned, for example, to be pernickety over metronome markings, as has occasionally happened recently and thus discounted what were otherwise first class interpretations..
  10. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Come on 4br..... where's my 'soapbox'? :) Quite a few things that have been mentioned here are in my 'rant'! :)
  11. jpbray

    jpbray Member

    I was at the National Youth contest in Manchester this year and it was commented that the ajudicator can only mark against the content of the score.

    Gregson by all accounts got quite upset if his music was played in any other style, than the way he had written it.

    What is needed, as always is consitency, and ways need to be looked at to achieve this.
  12. wewizrobbed

    wewizrobbed Member

    Just wondering if it is your opinion that they were first class interpretations, or did the adjudicator actually state that if it hadn't been for the chosen tempo, the band would have fared better?
  13. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I was thinking in particular of the couple of instances at the Cambridge Masters, where one adjudicator took a somewhat different view than his colleagues, with a cooresponding effect on the overall result.

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