Most descriptive way MD's ask for musical style?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Mesmerist, Apr 25, 2017.

  1. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    I'll start with one I've heard. Not saying how recent so you can't assume it's from my band but this was to the soloist cornet player;

    "let it just float over like a turd on a stream".

    Come on people - beat that one!
  2. David Evans

    David Evans Active Member

    " the blossom floating down over the landscape of dreams..."

    Not many of the band understood that one either, but the back row were transfixed.
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  3. euphoria

    euphoria Member

    I heard of a conductor trying to explain the mood of the music to the tuba section, by using a couple of minutes to paint a picture of the snow melting from the branches of the pine trees on an alpine mountain side in the early springtime sunlight before he was interupted by one of the players asking "do you want it softer or louder?".
    I don't know if that it is more telling of overartistic conductors or bass players in general :)
    Jack E likes this.
  4. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    I know this is a comedy thread, but I question the value of some such descriptive attempts.
    It often feels like the conductor is just trying to show off, invariably is so tenuous that it adds little or no value and just takes up precious playing time.

    I guess I don't appreciate romance :)
  5. David Evans

    David Evans Active Member

    I'm all for it, an MD isn't there just to beat tempo but to interpret the music. Judges at all the higher grades, diplomas and beyond always emphasise the importance of communicating with the audience and producing a performance with a story. Just see how Philip Harper manages that with any test piece with Cory.

    If an MD wants to use descriptive language, fine, the more descriptive and imaginative the better. It's a concept rather than the actual words and it's not their fault if some players are just too dim to understand what they are trying to achieve.

    "Duvet lifter"
  6. GER

    GER Member

    'As quiet as a cat farting in a corner' Never forgot that one
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  7. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    Your final 3 words 'trying to achieve.' are the key to my point. Many conductors use the technique to great affect and I enjoy and value it in those cases. Not every conductor can carry it off though. Maybe our relevant experiences are in different levels of banding; yours at the upper end and mine at the lower. Self-awareness and knowing one's own limitations are key to being the best you can be.

    As for describing someone as being 'just too dim' because they have a different view, that's unnecessary and unkind.
    I expect my level of intelligence is less than yours, however this shouldn't make my opinion inferior and target for abuse. Maybe my words suggest that I'm dim. Yours prove that you are pompous and snide, which is a shame because I respected your post until that point.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
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  8. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    "No louder than a Duchess breaking wind.... " I was originally told that was the sound of a bottle of Champagne being opened properly but I do like to use it whenever possible.
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  9. MissBraz

    MissBraz Active Member

    Everyone is so easily offended on here :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
  10. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    I'm not offended at all. I just don't see the need for insults, especially as it spoilt David's otherwise good comments. :cool:
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2017
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  11. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    I rehearsed with a brass ensemble where the conductor helped us by reading us, in German, a German poem.
    As I'm not a German speaker the effect was rather lost on me...
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  12. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

    I could understand the benefit if e.g. the shape of the phrases in the poem helped understand the shape of the phrases in the music or if the texture of the words were a feature of the texture of the music.
    Or maybe it was the conductor having a moment of self-indulgence; something that's also fine if judged right. :)
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  13. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    If that were the case them the MD could speak to the Band in Latin, or in any other language or dialect that he or she chose, and then expect everyone to understand his or her directions. Surely it makes much more sense to speak in terms that convey meaning rather than confusion to their intended recipient; IMHO communication is about shared understanding and communicate properly is what the MD needs to and is expected to do - one that doesn't 'is about as much use as a chocolate tea pot'.
    4th Cornet likes this.
  14. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    Still laughing at this one! Did it work?
  15. Mesmerist

    Mesmerist Well-Known Member

    The back row would be transfixed; souls of poets and minds filled with the wisdom of Buddha sums up your average cornet player.
  16. GER

    GER Member

    Yes eventually, took the band about an hour to stop sniggering!!
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  17. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    Souls of poets? My back row are amused by bodily noises!
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  18. Slider1

    Slider1 Active Member

    Roy Newsome asked the Bass Section to sound like Dumplings in Oil.
  19. 4th Cornet

    4th Cornet Active Member

  20. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    Les Condon was renowned for his sense of humour and I recall him asking the cornet section of the S.A. South London Divisional Youth Band to leave the slightest of gaps between the notes in one section.......which he described as: "Just enough to get a fag paper in between"!
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