Moving parts around the band!?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Jezzabell, Sep 14, 2004.

  1. Jezzabell

    Jezzabell Member

    Do you think that it moving parts arond the band should be allowed? At the 3rd section finals it was quite easy see (and hear) that 2nd n 3rd cornet solos had been moved to the front row! I feel as if this is cheating as it is a "test piece" therefore moving the parts gets rid of the test!? What does everyone else thik about this!?
  2. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I whole-heartedly agree with you in principal.

    However, with blind adjudicating, some will cheat and get away with it. If some cheat, shouldn't all be allowed to cheat?
  3. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Frustrating as it may be, a lot of bands do this kinda thing in all sections... I wouldnt call it cheating as such though... (I've never heard of a rule to say this isn't aloud to happen...) dunno what I'd call it really... it's just moving parts round a bit I guess.... ;) but yea, I do understand where you are coming from....

    :-D Congrats in Harrogate anyway, despight the slight frustrations :)

  4. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    Personally I would take it as an affront if I was in the back row and a part was taken away from me to go onto the front row, unless it was something that I knew I wouldn't be able to play on the day.

    I think, however that sometimes the players in a band might not be confident enough or have the ability to play the part so in this instance it would be ok to move the part onto the front row. However, this is a short term solution, as the players will think that any time they have a tricky bit they won't have to play it and thus may not try to improve... so it might be a "quick fix" but in the long term I think it's a negative thing to do for a band if done on a regular basis.

    I think that those bands who don't move the parts should feel good that their players are of a standard that can cope, rather than considering this to be cheating. After all, a band is a team of players, so helping out sections of the team where necessary is good team work!
  5. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Agreed, but don't you think that if a compser writes a test piece with a solo in the 2nd tenor horn or 2nd baritone part, he/she is trying to test that player and expects it to be played by that you think the composer thinks...well I wrote it for that part, but if they can think of a way to pass it on to another part so that the adjudicators don't notice, that's all good?
  6. Jasonp

    Jasonp Member

    As long as the part is heard then it doesn't matter who plays it. The man in the box couldn't care less who plays what, he's just listening to a piece of music.
  7. ScreamingSop

    ScreamingSop Member

    Yeah i agree, the idea of contests is to test the band, true. But in order to acchieve the best sounds and atmosphere that the conducter requires then maybe its better to change the parts round. Remember its down to the conducters discrection, sometimes its obvious if parts are swopped and the conducter risks the adjudicators wrath by doing this.
    I know at uni we change parts around often, to create different sounds, we experiment with different players. their sound match different bits and these are changed around to make the pieces sound as best as it can.
  8. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    I see nothing wrong with doing this at all. If the composer (or indeed the selectors) thought it was important then they would write/select music where it could not happen because everyone was kept busy on their own parts.
    Who honestly plays the parts as they are written anyway? I know our MD changes tempos and dynamics, even notes sometimes, to get a better sound and balance. The test is a test of the band as a unit, not of the weakest individual.
  9. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    As I've said previously, I'm not in favour of parts being swapped. To my mind if a composer decides to write a difficult and testing part for a particular instrument it is likely that he was after a particular sound. If you took some of the arguments here to their logical conclusion, then the opening of "Rite of Spring" would probably turn up on an oboe, rather than a bassoon, and I'm sure there are many similar examples.

    To my mind, that is another argument for open adjudication, so that the adjudicators are in no doubt that the horn is playing the high phrase in "Dove Descending", rather than the flugel, and the second trombone is at least going for the top Eb's in "Between the Moon & Mexico".
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2004
  10. backrowbloke

    backrowbloke Member

    Wholly agree - this is why it is a band contest and not soloist contest.

    I see nothing wrong with moving parts or passages - for example, if front row has passages in lower register - move it to the back row where the players are naturally stronger in that register - and vice versa. As a 3rd cornet - I quite often get other backrow or solo cornet parts where this is the case.

    Would you complain if you saw a principal cornet who didnt play a solo passage, but passed it to someone else because they had different strengths, or wanted a rest for some reason?

    Should a conductor jeapordise a performance or terrify a player who has only been playing for a short while or a nervous player because they cant move parts around? -

    I've played in many diffferent types of musical groups - big band, orchestra, theatre pit orchestra - and in EVERY case parts got switched for various reasons

    Again it is testing a band we are talking about - not individuals.
  11. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    I'm certain here that moving back row (2nd/3rd) cornet parts onto the front row is wrong!. It is one thing to move within a section (top seat to 3rd man down) but quite another to move back row to front. How often do you see it being done the other way round?

    A test piece is to test the band, yes, but the band consists of separate parts, each assigned to a particular group of players. There isn't a composer alive who doesn't know that the weakest players in most bands are on the back row, often because they are the least experienced or 'youngest' players.

    It is quite a different thing to give a part to someone when the original instrument is missing.

    In my book doing this is cheating.
  12. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    In principle I don't see the problem at all. Parts can be swapped around to match the sound of particular players or technical ability if need be. This is often and back to frontrow situation. The bottom line is, if come the last few rehearsals, your backrow can't play it then it's about making the best of the team you have got. Saying that all players should be given a chance and it really saddens me when parts are taken off young players near the start of rehearsing a piece so they never have a chance to improve!
  13. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    One thing that everybody seems to be ignoring is Copyright law. At least as far as my (by no means expert) understanding of copyright law is concerned, to move parts around would, technically, constitute an "unauthorised arrangement" and, as such, is illegal ...

    Perhaps one of our resident experts would like to step in here and clarify?

  14. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    (Sits on fence)

    Whether it's right or wrong, it goes on all the time. I've been involved in bands where it's happened, I admit. (It certainly DIDN'T happen at Harrogate, though! Fulham's 2nd and 3rd cornets did all their own stuff!)

    The only issue I would take with this is that it could be perceived as demoralising to the back row players if they're basically not given a chance to prove whether they can play any perceived difficult passages over the rehearsal schedule up to a contest. AND it gives often overworked front row players extra to deal with!

    If a part is missing (due to lack of numbers in a band, for instance) then I don't have a problem.
  15. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I don't know UK copyright law specifically, but I don't think that "moving" parts from one player to another using the same type of instrument would change the arrangement.

    Under US copyright law, the arrangement is determined by the relationship between the written notes, not the instruments assigned to play them. I suspect that this is also true in most other countries. For example, if I make an arrangement of a tune that is in the public domain, my arrangement is protected by copyright (even though the original tune is not). If someone could claim that they had created a "new arrrangement" with exactly the same notes, but with a slight difference in the way the parts were distributed, or perhaps in a different key, my copyright on the original arrangement would be useless.
  16. Tuba Miriam

    Tuba Miriam Member

    As far as legality is concerned perhaps it would depend upon whether the part is deemed to have been swapped or the player. For example, giving a third cornet part to the front row could be seen as re-writing the passage as a solo cornet part, and therefore an "unauthorised arrangement"; however, you could argue that the solo cornet player has been re-assigned as a third cornet player for that passage, meaning the difference is in the designation of players within the band rather than the parts!

    Although it's a little difficult to make that case if a baritone part is given to a tenor horn player, for example ... then again they're both saxhorns ... oh dear ... :-?
  17. Dave Payn

    Dave Payn Active Member

    Technically, if it means writing out a separate bit of manuscript to cover the offending passage, yes. But again, I wonder how many bands have got pieces of music old and new, not even necessarily used for contest purposes, with a bit of manuscript Sellotaped over some bars rest for said player/s to 'fill in' either possible missing parts of parts deemed perhaps too difficult for other players....

    Yes, it would be illegal BUT (although I am certainly not condoning the act by saying this) it would be tricky to police. Nevertheless, I think with the greater awareness now in brass bands, certainly, with forums like tMP and its Copyright FAQ and multitude of publisher contributors, bands would be wise to be cautious in future about writing 'cover' parts without seeking prior permission from the copyright owner.

    Some publishers (with concert works at least) include a 'world' band set with extra parts available for bass clef trombones, F horns, bass clef tubas and euphoniums etc. etc. Perhaps if all publishers went down this road (yes, it'd make the band sets more expensive but think of the money bands could potentially save if you WERE caught writing out transposed parts without permission....) a lot of the issues pertaining to potential copyright infringement in these scenarios might be eradicated. After all, when compared particularly to wind band sets, brass band music is rather low priced....

    But to go back fully on topic, the copyright issue could be got round by a band simply ordering, for instance, an extra set of parts (from an normal sized band set) for 2nd and 3rd cornets (can be done.... and it wouldn't involve much extra expense) for the front row to play off. Once that's done we get back to the issue of whether it's 'fair' or 'in the rules' of contesting.
  18. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    With the original question I have to say that placing parts on another instrument is not only rife but often necessary.

    Was I and my band cheating when I played a bass trombone part on a tenor horn, or a second trombone part on a tenor horn, without having the music written or sellotaped into my part, because there were only two trombone players. Admittedly neither passages were solo's.

    In the same contest a solo horn player inserted a mute and proceeded to play the trombone solo!

    I think the factor to be taken in to consideration for this discussion is whether, moving a part to a totally different instrument and changing the sound of the instrument for that sole puropse is the bigger issue.

    I shall not name the band in question, but they are from the north west and at the Albert Hall in a piece by Bourgeois the rep player had a duster over the bell to try and imitate a flugel horn. Having played in the bottom half of the bottom half of the 4th section, I have naturally seen this tactic used. In the instance of my old 4th section band is was a necessity, in a championship section band, if the player can't play the part get a new player!

    Ergo it is acceptable to move parts around, even the top yorkshire bands do it. But to gain an unfair advantage by being deceitful is another matter completely!!!!!
  19. JR

    JR Member

    Don't get me going on this one! - I made a lengthy presentation on this subject to members of the Adjudicator's Association (ABBA) at our AGM in January 2003. The upshot was that I found absolutely no support for my views against blatant part swapping (particularly at the top contests). Their views were either (a) It cannot be policed (b) I'ts been going on since Brighouse were a temperance band (c) so what
    Since that meeting I've given up the ghost, however the problem will not go away...

    john roberts
  20. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    But surely you must acknowledge that without this flouting of the rules:?: bands would not be able to go on with less than the full complement of players, as placing additional notes into another part is not au fait with your perception of how banding and contesting in particular should be run.

    My band went on with 26 players on Sunday evening in the second section finals and that included three percussion. Should we be penalised because we haven't got a plethora of players in the south. No we shouldn't, therefore, is it not acceptable to ensure that all parts are in place or do we all say WTF? we can't get a good result because we are short of personnel.

    If your discussion with the adjudicators was solely to ensure that, if all players were present, and the part had removed from a player in a top section band because they couldn't play it all well and good. If however you are referring to this a generalisation to all bands. Try being on the executive committee of a lower section band anywhere in the country and see how difficult it is to get players and retain their services. Part swapping is a way of life and a means to ensure that lower section banding continues to thrive. Without it the movement would end up like the contest that used to take place at Reading. Championship bands only.

    Rant over

    Thomas Elsom
    Chairman Becontree Brass Band

    The comments above are my own and in no way should be taken as a comment from the band executive committee
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2004

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