Hello from the Scottish Borders

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Alan Fernie, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member

    I'm new to this computer malarkey, and although it's baffling now and then, one of the more remakable things on it is this forum. What a splendid idea! It's most enlightening to find my music being discussed from time to time, and I appreciate all the comments made about my stuff,even the negative ones!
    Can I take this opporchancity to say a bit about "Anglian Dances"? - not on how to play it, as I'm in the box a couple of times, and I'm only the composer anyway! - more on what it's all about. As I've said before, no-one was more surprised than me when it was chosen - too easy in my opinion. It was written 7 years ago, for a youth band contest in Norwich, and had only 4 movements. The opening fanfare has been added for the Areas, and the slow movement has been extended (the "Year of the Dragon" bit - it's deliberate!). The whole suite was then tarted up for contest use.
    If you look at the programme notes in the score, you'll see that it's not specifically about East Anglia; I've only been in Norwich twice; once in the dark, and once locked up in a box! I suppose it should have been called "English Dances", but that's been done before!.... That explains the appearance of the"Keel Row" in the finale. I wanted to give the Flugel and Trombone something nippy to play towards the end, and it just seemed to fit the bill. And yes, "God Save the Queen" does rear it's head knowingly at the end of the opening movement. Even the band I grew up with in the Soviet coalfields of Midlothian played this at the conclusion of village fetes and galas. Trust me, I'm no fan of the tune (I believe verse 2 mentions slaughtering us Scots!).
    What isn't deliberate is the appearance of "Harry Enfield and Chums" in the finale! I quietly congratulated myself in thinking up this daft wee tune, only to catch a repeat of the forementioned programme, and thinking "b*******"! I then hoped no-one would notice, but hadn't reckoned on the talents of the members of this forum!! Well done to those who spotted it, and my only defence is that I'll neither be the first or the last composer to fall into this trap!!
    I'm glad it seems to be going down reasonably well. A highly repsected adjudicator told me this week that it "filled a gap in the repertoire" and encouraged me to do more. So the good (or bad) news is "watch this space"! I hope eveyone enjoys playing or conducting it - just play the right notes, in tune, at the right time and you'll be fine!
    One final thing; I'm not "filthy rich". There is no money in composing and arranging for bands, and it's why we have to teach, conduct, or emigrate to Oman or New Zealand. Publishing however... that's where the real money is!!
  2. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Welcome to tMP Alan - good to see you on here.

    I don't know, where else but on tMP can ordinary people like me hobnob with such "big-name" brass band people? :clap:
  3. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    Hello Alan, welcome to theMouthPiece (or "tMP" as we call it around here).
    It's great to have another "great name" joining our forums and we are looking forward to hearing your composer-insights ;)

    If you have any questions or remarks about the site, you can always contact a member of the tMP team of admistrators and moderators!


  4. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Crikey Alan - welcome to tMP and to the big bad world of computers. Are the handwritten scores now a thing of the past too?

    TMP is a great place to talk and learn about bands and the people in them - and to slag off adjudicators, obviously.

  5. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member

    Thankfully,no David - I'm nowhere near clever enough for that. Still using pencil and paper!
  6. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Hi Alan and welcome! :biggrin: Like Jan has mentioned, you may contact any of the team (that is people with the avatar like mine) if you have any problems. We have a discussion section specifically for the areas which can be found here (which you might find interesting :tup). I hope you enjoy the site and i'm sure you will make a great contribution.
  7. Colin Hardy

    Colin Hardy New Member

    Nice write up Alan, and written in such a way as to keep the bandspeople on side and also with some good witt./
    I look forward to being in the box with you on the11th March
    Colin Hardy
  8. Di

    Di Active Member

    Hi there Alan and welcome to tMP. We'll soon turn you into a computer-aholic don't you worry. ;)

    And Colin, welcome to you also. :)

    TIMBONE Active Member

    Hi Alan.

    For years people said to me, "Tim, you should get some software to write your music on computer", (I didn't even have a computer at the time). I did eventually get a PC, and bought some music writing software. It wasn't "Sibelius", it was a "Finale" programme called "Print Music", which was recommended to me as being more than adequate for brass band writing, and not being the full blown Finale, (which is kind of parallel to Sibelius), so far simpler to run. This was in 2002, not that long ago, and I think I am a 'tad' older than your goodself, so all things are possible! :D It may not be as fast as full blown Finale or Sibelius, but it is a darn site quicker than pen and paper, it also means I don't have to keep using the piano to check my work, as I can simply play it back. A final note, (pardon the pun), you say you are nowhere near clever enough! I think someone clever enough to turn out the music that you do will not have any problem.
  10. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member


    I know that the various software packages for writing music are all more or less an improvement on writing by hand. Of course they are! With me,it's just purely down to personal choice. I did have access to Sibelius when I taught at a high school, and I was able to work it fairly well, especially for small ensemble stuff. But I never liked it, and still don't. I know it's all very convenient for producing neat,tidy parts and all the other fine things it can do. I just prefer to write by hand. I find it so much easier and less cumbersome. But I do understand why 99% of writers don't!
    By the way, thanks for namechecking me in your fine article in the "Bandsman"- lot of common sense there, and I did refer it to my arranging students at Accrington and Rossendale College.
  11. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I'd also like to welcome you to this forum, Alan.

    As the conductor of our junior band is a student at Accrington & Rossendale, a lot of your excellent music finds its way into our repertoire. I'm always impressed with how polished it is.

    I hope you'll enjoy being on here. There's certainly a lot of interesting topics going on at the moment.
  12. AlanD

    AlanD Member

    Hi Alan,

    Nice to see you signed up to the forum! Hope all is well!

    Good luck with all your bands at the scottish no doubt they will all do very well!

    15 days....

    Alan Douglas
  13. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    And it means that in years to come we might find some original Alan Fernie manuscripts being auctioned at Christies or Bonhams. :)
  14. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member

    Thanks John; I'll remember this as we rehearse 4 bars before A in "voyage" on Tuesday.
  15. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    WOW! Alan Fernie!!!
    Hi Alan and welcome to tmp
  16. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member

    Thanks for the kind welcomes, but I'm a little alarmed at being a "big" and "great" name! I think we're all stars in this great movement of ours!
  17. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Yep, but not all of us have arranged "Do They Know It's Christmas" for Brass Band Aid.... How did you set about the arrangement, Alan?
  18. Alan Fernie

    Alan Fernie Member


    A delicate balance between a number of factors!
    1) To give the amazing line up of players something vaguely interesting to play, and to avoid any lurking "cheese"!
    2) To try and keep the original ethos of the song's original message - I thought giving it a kind of "African" feel (I stole... oops, sorry," borrowed" a riff from a track on a brilliant album by the "Brazz Brothers" and the all female African percussion group "Women Unite" called "Live in Cape Town") and try to write something that Midge Ure and Grumpy old Sir Bob might be OK with.
    3) Attempt to imitate the idea, in both the original versions of all these stars getting a few moments of the tune each, in which they could express themselves.
    4) I watched a documentary on TV on the recording of both versions, and was particularly taken with the slightly new direction that the remarkable "duo" of Radiohead and Paul McCartney took the song. I thought that, in a very small way, I could do something else to it; that led to a slightly more "modal" harmonisation of the chorus, which neatly avoided the "Doctor Who" bit!!
    I put a lot of thought and energy into it - it took me nearly a month, and drove me mad. But I think the result is OK! It certainly an experience I'm so glad I was part of, in a small way! I hope we raise thousands and thousands!
  19. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Great to see you enjoying yourself here Alan and joining in with the conversations. Who knows... you may find yourself on the spot eh!!!
  20. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Hello and welcome from me, Alan. As my sig implies, I'm now the conductor of Arran Brass and thoroughly enjoying it. I believe you've had some association/s with them in the past but apologies if mistaken. We have a lot of your excellent arrangements in our library, one of which we're working on at the moment is the cornet solo Carrickfergus.

    If you're thinking of visiting, please feel free to come along!


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