Is percussion optional?

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by euphalogy, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member

    I note with interest how a band can win without the kit percussion part being played, has it become optional thi year? Discuss.........
  2. John_D

    John_D Member

    If your kit player lets you down at the last minute ;)
  3. euphalogy

    euphalogy Member

    For whatever reason, and i am sure they were genuine, as all cases are, that wasnt the question as to why there wasnt one, moreover, it wasnt there so is it now optional?
    I have had to borrow on the day a few times over the years for whatever reason, and have indeed loaned players to other bands out similarly.
    Its a part on the score, should it be optional, that is the qustion.
  4. John_D

    John_D Member

    My own view is that if a part is written the composer intended it to be played so it should be played.
    In lower section bands, however, there is a lack of players. Being unable to borrow players at that level does cause problems (most contests do allow a couple of borrowed players, the area do not). This is being discussed in another thread on this forum.
    How do people view this compared with, say, only having one euphonium player when the score calls for 2 euphs to play different parts.
  5. I suppose sometimes its a calculated risk. For example, if you had a lack of a kit percussionist, and a drummer in a local 5-piece rock/pop band said he could do it, but can't read music, would you go with the drummer in the vain hope he could listen and learn his part (but maybe risk him/her coming in early/late/too loud, etc) where it would be immediately noticeable and therefore lose points and placings? Or just go in without - knowing that although you have no percussionistas, you can't really lose THAT many points for not playing?

    Interesting topic, thank you Euphology.

  6. perhaps for lower sections they could have a percussionist who acts as an accompanist who is on standby for all the bands?
  7. Just a kit percussionist? Or tuned percussionist as well? Maybe have a sop player on standby? And a bass trombone? Oh, and a euphonium, maybe a horn .....

    How many would be allowed to play per band?
  8. Rebecca Owen

    Rebecca Owen Member

    I remember playing in the areas many years ago when my band had to play with most of our '2nds' missing. The 2nd horn, 2nd bari and 2nd trom were all absent due to ill health. We still managed to come 6th.

    I do think that if a part is missing, then there should be some small amount of loss of points. Last years 4th sectiopn test piece started with a half bar timp solo - what would have happened if that was missing? Would bands have been penalised?
  9. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    That depends on what you do once you've only got one euph. There are basically two choices:

    1. Have the part played on another instrument/part (1st baritone probably most likely but certainly not the only possibility).

    2. Leave the part completely unplayed.

    Either way there will probably be consequences in the adjudication, but IMO it is worse to leave out a part entirely than to cover it on a different instrument. In other words, I think it's more of a problem to not play all the notes than to play them all but on not quite the right instruments.

    The same should apply to percussion parts, but all too often doesn't. It appears that percussion has become 'optional' for too many bands and adjudicators - but I would disagree with the OP in confining that to this year!
  10. sooze booze

    sooze booze Member

    OMG, that's opened up a HUGE can of worms!! If a test piece has been chosen with percussion parts I think they should be played. Unless there's a rule I'm unaware of, percussion is not just an optional extra. Think about what would happen if a band won with no bass section or no euphoniums! The adjudicator would need police protection. If I'd worked hard to get my part right and another band won with that part missing I'd be justifiably furious! Hours of rehearsal for nothing, not to mention the price of percussion equipment or the back breaking work of hefting it in and out of buses and bandrooms etc. Whatever reason this band chose not to borrow another band's kit drummer on the day is up to them but I doubt they'd have won with their solo horn or soprano missing. Percussion can greatly enhance a band's performance or completely ruin it, just like any of the other sections but so very often it seems that adjudicators don't listen to it and don't even mention it at all unless they think it was poor or too loud. Percussion should be judged along with every other part, it should not be possible to win if a band puts out an incomplete ensemble. There, rant over except to give my sympathies to all the other kit drummers who played so well and who might as well have spent the whole time in the pub for all the good their efforts did for them!
  11. John_D

    John_D Member

    Knowing which band the OP was thinking of, I do know that this is something that was mentioned in the remarks from the adjudicators so they weren't just ignoring the fact that there was no kit being played.
  12. Di B

    Di B Member

    The band goes with the best band it can.
    I expect bands to be penalised for missing entries (on any instrument!) but this is no more imprtant than playin in tune and together!

    If the band came first without percussion, they must have been deserved winners.
  13. sooze booze

    sooze booze Member

    Think you're missing the point here. If a band went on with no euphs or trombones or horns etc., ie a section of the band missing, therefore a part not covered, they would not have won. Why is it different for percussion? :confused:
  14. Di B

    Di B Member

    Actually, bands with partial sections can do well.

    Have qualified for finals with just two on front row! Know bands going on stage with no sop or bass trom too. What's the difference?
    I am not sure if a band has ever gone on without a full section - but if there were no euphs but a good tight ensemble chances are they wouldn't be last (admittedly, maybe not first though!).

    Depends in the piece - something like Hollywood percussion is essential. Old pieces where historically, percussion wasn't included sound ok without.

    Would love to know if a band has gone on stage without a section though and yow they fared?!
  15. Mello

    Mello Active Member

    I remember as a founder member of ABBA, there was a discussion on this very subject.
    A guideline was suggested that to encourage percussionists , particularly in such as the 4th section , it may be best not to be harsh at the lack of percussion. The reasoning was that a) they may not have one !
    shouild the band then not be allowed to compete ? B) a band may have tempted a very young payer to join and is still a complete learner.....should he be punished as if an experienced solo cnt player ( he may never play again )would > or should he be dropped...etc..etc..
    Basically it was left to the common sense of the adjudicator and contest officials concerned to decide what course to take. A very , very difficult subject, as bands with a superb 2 man percussion section would possibly have an advantage over a learner trying to cope on his own.
    How would you mark them ????
  16. tromwinst

    tromwinst Member

    I am all for supporting any instrument and any player. Not sure about the 'advantage' comment tho. That's like saying its not fair that the band before had an amazing cornet player, much better than ours so that's not fair.

    Of course they should have an advantage that's what competitions are all about. Like a previous post said, what would be the point of any 4th section perc team bothering to turn up if their efforts were not taken in to account within the adjudication, on the grounds that that band had an advantage because either their perc team was more experienced or that they had perc at all?
  17. yoda

    yoda Member

    I doubt the result would have been down to just one thing. There would be many factors involved in making the decision..... Tuning, intonation, togetherness, adherence to the score, general band sound, MD's interpretation, adjudicators preconceived ideas about the piece, etc etc etc.

    I believe both bands performances have been posted to youtube, so people could (if they wish) seek them out and listen and compare.

    For what its worth, the winning band gave a fine account of themselves and were declared winners. Very well done and good luck to them. I'm sure they will represent their area very proudly and very well at the national finals.

  18. brassgirl23

    brassgirl23 New Member

    here in the Southwest a band had no Sop player in 4th section and glock played the soprano part, not that they won but when other bands with a full band come lower in results.......???????
  19. MissBraz

    MissBraz Active Member

    I have read most of the posts on this thread with interest.
    Purely because yesterday at the Area i was having this exact conversation with my dad! The thing is last year not this year i would just like to add, their band lost points on account of the percussion being too loud. However there was 5 or 6 bands in the section who didnt have percussionists (or only 1) and none or some of the parts was being put in. Did they lose points? Was it mentioned. I don't know but it is frustrating.

    I understand that it is increasingly difficult to find players in the lower sections, but surely thats the place too start? Whether it be percussion or brass.
  20. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    I remember at the CISWO contest a band asking before the contest whether they'd lose points due to not having a percussion player to play a specific part (xylophone) and were told no. Said band then walked the contest only for the judge to announce, from stage, that the band who should have won had points deducted because they didn't have a xylophone player. They finished 2nd.

    It really seems to be down to the person in the box to decide if percussion is important or not. Although I'd always thought the guidelines were for percussion not to be marked in lower section contests, as some bands wont have any percussion. As seen on another thread a while ago a lot of people think percussion is important...just not as much as the brass players!

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