More players on stage?

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by David Mann, Jan 12, 2007.


Should the rules on numbers on stage for contests be relaxed?

  1. Yes

    25 vote(s)
  2. No

    31 vote(s)
  3. We'll be lucky to get a full band!

    8 vote(s)
  1. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Athies, Pas de Calais, France
    Should the rules on numbers of players on stage at contests be relaxed? For many bands, especially in the lower sections, a lot of the time is spent on concert work and socialising. So for most of the time its no problem to have 3 3rd cornets, 2 1st trombones, whatever. Then comes the AREA and some people have to step aside for a couple of months because of The Rules. (By the way, if anyone wants my seat for a fun packed Sunday in Burton-On-Trent in March, they're welcome!).
    Anyway, I have tried to think of what possible advantage would be gained by a band with extra players. Perhaps extra volume and stamina but at the expense of intonation and precision. Those who remember the ISB of the 60s / 70s with 33? brass players will recall the fantastic big middle sound, but would they have beaten Dyke at a contest?

    What do you think?
  2. Aardvark

    Aardvark Member


    I think that in a lot of cases extra players tends to be a disadvantage. As you say, there is a greater likelihood of intonation issues and loss of precision. Maybe the odd one or two extras could be allowed - say an extra front row or bass would be a helpful for a heavy piece. and certainly for pieces that are scored for more than the typical line-up (not that I could see a piece such as that being chosen for an area contest as it may prohibit bands from attending).
  3. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    I've played with bands in contests where we have had 5 basses, 3 baritones, 4 trombones or 11 cornets, but this was because there were empty seats within the band, and we were still within our limit of 25 brass players. I personally dont have any issues in bands taking to the stage with a few extra players, they do it at Brass in Concert, and at the Europeans, so why not at national, or locally graded contests?

    On the other hand though, there are issues with intonation and precision, mentioned by Aardvark, so I guess it would be up to the conductor to weigh up the pros and cons of extra players.
  4. simonbassbone

    simonbassbone Member

    The one addition I'd like to see is a fourth trombone. A lot of SA pieces use a trombone quartet ,which is a lovely sound, fuller than the trio available at the moment (and don't anyone dare suggesting that a flugal/horn/baritone can substitute for a trombone).
    Apart from that the only advatage would be not having to tell people they weren't wanted come contest day. The disadvantage would be even more players registered with the top few bands so less available for the rest of us.
  5. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    "My football team is lower in the league than your football team, we'd like to field 13 players to your 11 to make it fairer"


    The current 25 brass setup may not be ideal, but we are adhering to a standard...
  6. Bass Man

    Bass Man Active Member

    West Boldon
    If it's not broke why fix it?
  7. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Athies, Pas de Calais, France
  8. a_szafranek

    a_szafranek Member

    More players

    I tend to agree with Dave Mann on this...but my feeling is that the rule could apply only to lower sections bands (3rd + 4th). The reason I say that is because this is where a lot of younger players begin their playing career, and contesting experience for younger players, alongside more experienced players must be a real positive.

    If these young players are sacrificed at the contest for the more experienced players, then we'll never develop the next generation of bandsman.

    I know this is not always the case, and many bands struggle to get 27 players together on the day, but the rule would need to be very specific. For example, the band are allowed to play upto 32 players, but the age of those 'additional' players must be under 21 years old.

    Yeah, of course everyone would just list their youngest players as the 'additional' players regardless of whether they are first choice or not, but at least we would be guaranteeing that a proportion of players are under 21 (the players most likely to develop).
  9. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Not convinced that bands in the lower sections would utilise such a change in rules much. OK it would cut out some politics, but the quality of playing would definitely go down if bands started including their 3rd second baritone and 4th 3rd cornet etc in contests. Think a lot of bands would still choose to go on with just the normal amount of players.

    Also as has been alluded to above, it could lead to more players staying registered at higher level bands, thus diminishing the quality lower down.
  10. Veri

    Veri Member

    Hmm - pros and cons aren't there.

    I once got "dropped" onto 3rd percussion, being the worst of 3 euphonium players (by quite a lot!), which I did understand, but I didn't really enjoy myself for those 2 months as much as usual, apart from being able to eat in rehearsals and wear lots of lip gloss as a sole concession! Having said that though, we always used to work on other stuff at the same time, so I'd always take my euph. and sit and rehearse for concerts for some of the practice.

    It would have been nice to play in that contest (Resurgam!) but I guess ultimately it would affect the sound, and then the chances of winning, so I don't see many MDs going for it!
  11. Lawrencediana

    Lawrencediana Member

    The problem is that if we relaxed the rules then the bands who have the status and the money will take more player leaving less for those of us below, the result being better staffed good bands and fewer bands beneath.
  12. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    problem can occur in higher level bands too. My own band is 2nd section. We have a youth band and we have a few players coming through into the senior band. At the moment they're doing concerts only so they can gain experience but shortly we're going have to make a decision to register some or all of them. Then comes the tricky part they're all starting out in lower positions ie 3rd cornet etc. If we're short on the front bench do we play these youngsters on the back row giving us extra 3rd cornets or do we drop one of them to hire or borrow a front row player. Often the higher up the sections you go the more you need that full front row but is it fair to drop the youngsters who have worked their socks off and who regularly attend practices. Its not their fault the band has a few too many players on the lower positions? There is then the possibility they'll go elsewhere to a lower section band possibly struggling for players where the standard doesn't have to be quite so high and there's far more chance that they'll be able to play at contests.

    It's a tricky situation but if you didn't have some rule on numbers you would get certain top bands signing the youngsters we've brought through with the promise 'you can come and play on stage with a championship band'. When you're young it's hard to resist some of the promises that are offered to you.

    I think the current ruling is about right. 25 players plus percussion on stage. You're allowed to have up to 40 registered. I'm fine with that
  13. GJacko

    GJacko Member

    Firstly, check out the number of bands competing. Here in the midlands there are substantially less bands than there were ten years ago. There are less players to go round and every band, including us, struggles to put out a full line-up.

    That said, I would have no objection to adding additional players to 'boost' the sound. Typically, additional second bari, second trombone are favourite and you can always use another back row cornet.

    But beware the lower sections. This works great in a good band. ISB is a great example. I've tried it in our third section band. The phrase ' limit your liabilities resounds in my mind. In fact, I would drop as many players that you don't need.....if it's ethical?
  14. horn-girlie

    horn-girlie Member

    Well the rules of 25brass players seems to be working, so I can't imagine them changing things right now. But i always feel sorry for the few players who have to get dropped/ moved to percussion just before a contest
  15. DaveR

    DaveR Active Member

    Reading, UK
    I think you'll find that's a promotion.... :tongue: :rolleyes:
  16. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    Hmm 2 sops could be usefull, then again perhaps not
  17. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member


    How do you get two soprano players to play in tune?

    Shoot one.

  18. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    Some bands are at huge disadvantage already.... with only a small number of players in comparison to the full band.... why should they have to be put at a further disadvantage? Maybe we'd have to start a handicap thing like in golf? :tongue:
  19. David Mann

    David Mann Member

    Athies, Pas de Calais, France
    Don't get me started on golf! I put a comment on 4BR once about golf vs brass band, something like if golf was run like brass bands, you could pay £1 / week and be provided with a set of clubs, clothing and the services of the professional twice a week. When you came to enter a competition, the winner wouldn't be the player with the fewest strokes on handicap, but the player who in the judges opinion had best come to grips with the underlying motivation of the course designer!:clap:
  20. matthetimp

    matthetimp Member

    South Wales
    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bands struggle enough finding 25 brass players. They should also lower the amount of 'signed players' from 40 - 33. Why have 40 players on your books? 4 spare is plenty! (25 brass and 4 perc)
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