Master list of test pieces

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by hvb_shizzle, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. hvb_shizzle

    hvb_shizzle Member

    Just wondering how test pieces and the sections they are allocated too are decided and if there is a master list of test pieces??
  2. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

    Not sure wether its an "official" definitive listing or not , but I believe Denis Wilby compiled a list of testpieces with suggested section levels some years back - it used to be on the L&SC home page but I've just had a look and not seen it - you could try mailing them . I know it's cropped up in a couple of threads on here over the years so have a search and see what you can find.
  3. Red Elvis

    Red Elvis Active Member

  4. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Denis's list is suggestions for member bands rather than official gradings. Its a great starting point but do bear in mind he made it for scaba bands, many of which play in a higher section locally than nationally, so some of the pieces 'gradings' will reflect that.

    Another good resource is National archives (via IBEW etc) which show regional & finals pieces for all the secitons.
  5. hvb_shizzle

    hvb_shizzle Member

  6. Janet Watkins

    Janet Watkins Member

    There is another option here
  7. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Personally I would be wary of these lists as the scaba one is what bands have played. Look for Jubilee Overture by P Sparke and see that A) it is listed as a test piece, and B) which section it is in. Sure Mr Sparke would advise that this is not a test piece, but the band in question played anything rather than turn up

    With the brass band results link, there are certain pieces appear in multiple sections. Good luck to any second section bands, other than those that have just gained promotion getting anywhere near on The Plantagents, which is also listed as 1st and Champ.

    The best one I have seen out of all those proffered is Accidental's mention of IBEW. At least with these you can see that they have been chosen by a panel rather than an over zealous conductor.

    I would also like ot point out that in 1950 "Lewis Merthyr Workmen's Institute" conducted by DD Jones won the National third section title on Indian Summer - E Ball. This was the test piece, for 1999, that brought out almost every fourth section and non contesting band in the country :confused: L&SC had 33 bands on that day in the 4th section :eek:
  8. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Not strictly true - there's several pieces on that list that have never been heard at scaba contests, and others I know have been played in the last few years that are missing from the list.
    Denis compiled the list as a guideline for scaba bands. The gradings aren't set in stone and its obviously not perfect because of the different gradings and some fairly obvious anomalies, but it IS a very good place to start imho.
  9. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    It's an interesting and informative list, containing plenty of ideas for future repertoire! I wonder if a more informative version could rate pieces in terms of difficulty (from 0 to 20, say) or a range of values of band skill for which it might prove appropriate. You could lay out average section standards against the ratings something like:
    0 - easy for 4th section
    2 - average 4th section challenge
    6 - average 3rd section challenge
    10 - average 2nd section challenge
    14 - average 1st section challenge
    18 - average Champ section challenge
    20 - mad

    To pick examples, Malcolm Arnold's 'Fantasy for Brass Band' might be designated with a range 15-18, dependent on your individual band strengths. 'Resurgam' might be designated with a range 10-15, while 'Indian Summer' would maybe be 0-2.

    Worthwhile idea? You could occasionally coin values below 0 or above 20 as appropriate.
  10. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Interesting, Dave. A couple of years back I proposed difficulty tarrifs for test-pieces, in roughly the same way that skating, gymnastics etc have difficulty tarrifs for compulsory and voluntary elements of a routine.

    I realise it's not quite the same as what you;re saying (my proposal included weighting each piece with a 'multiplier' to affect the band's score - which would of course rely on objective criteria and a points-based system so is largely unworkable) but an overall rating scale for a test piece's difficulty would have to be the starting point, so we're at least in the same chapter, if not the same page....
  11. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Was amused to see my rather curt response in that thread... I stand by it though - there's no entirely consistent way to pin a single number on the difficulty of a piece, due to the variability of individual strengths within bands of 'the same' standard. Hence the labelling of pieces with a range of values rather than a single one - the idea would be to suggest pieces to bands that might be suitable for them - searching at the correct level for a band would throw out no pieces that would be suitable, but would suggest a fair number that would be less suitable.
  12. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Whilst that's true (With a fresh pair of eyes on my initial proposal is somewhat ill-concieved) and - as I alluded to above - there's no way it could be made to work without objective criteria and points allocated thereon, the concept of a 'master list' as the OP referred to would be more than halfway to achieving the basis of what I was proposing.

    I suppose I'd better dig out the previous 'what is a test-piece' thread as well, because that's a whole other kettle of fish....
  13. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Oh, that's easy - a test piece is a piece of music used as a test. Next!
  14. Does anyone want to make a stab at how many test-pieces there are in circulation?
  15. John_D

    John_D Member

    is that pieces that have been used as set test pieces, or does that include pieces that have been used in 'own choice' contests.
  16. Im interested to see how many have been composed for brass bands since 1913 and are 'in print'. Maybe a tad too ambitious to put a figure on but hopefully someone can shed light on if it's in the hundreds/thousands/10s of thousands etc.
  17. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member

    I have about 877 test pieces on, so far.

  18. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    I must say I do find it interesting how some test pieces are deemed to easy but amazingly they were classed as hard enough during our Golden period of he late 60s/70s. As a matter of interest, what section would Ballet for Band be classed as now? i listened to it last night and after listening to a wonderful performance of it ended up saying to myself....why the hell didn't I get the chance to play that? In fact the list of amazing works that I am only just discovering because i inherited someones music collection is frightening. I played at the top level from the early 90s until around 2009 and I do dribs and drabs when bands are desperate now, I have never got the chance to play at a contest:

    Ballet for band
    Journey into Freedom
    Life Divine
    Essence of time
    Land of the Long white cloud
    Salute to youth
    variations on a ninth
    symphony of marches
    tournament for brass
    Rhapsody for brass
    triumphant rhapsody

    The list goes on. Now I'm not a band nerd, my car stereo is more likely to have some Bob Dylan or The Who on, Ive not listened to much band repertoire, I kinda felt at the time I did enough of that, I'm only just coming to it now and i must say really enjoying it. But Ive started to feel that as a player, i was let down. My Education was held back because those pieces were considered either old hat or not hard enough...ha ha ha (I bet there would be many euph players that would look forward to Ballet for band, it sounds nails...) If I had one suggestion for the powers that be it would be stop inflicting "challenging" works on bands and get back to the really good stuff, how bad is it that as a player during the period mentioned i played in contest around: 7/8 Wilbys, 3 McCabes, around 3 Ellerbys, no Vinters and 1 Ball....... I even only got to do around 3 Grahams and he is current (and fantastic BTW) I think many players of my generation missed out because the people who picked the pieces went down the wrong route. As the Audience figures started to show!!!!
  19. groovy

    groovy Active Member

    Entertainments and Salute to Youth have both been used at the areas in the last 5 years, and Triumphant Rhapsody was 1st section nationals piece a couple of years ago....I've played the couple of the others as own choice in the last few years too, so I don't think they are as disregarded as you suggest. :)
  20. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    why not join a 1st section band?

    we have had plenty of 'Classics' and quite a few from your list in recent years

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