Parts passing

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by hellraiser, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. hellraiser

    hellraiser Member

    I'm not a fan of parts passing, please hear me out on this one.

    I tend to think that the arrangers have arranged the parts so that balance can be obtained and that in the majority of cases if there isn't balance it's because some players are not blowing enough/some players playing too loud rather than the parts themselves being badly arranged.

    Parts-passing in my opinion should only occur as a last resort. When a player has tried for weeks to play a part but can't pull it off then I think it's fine for the part to be passed to someone who can. Otherwise, I feel it destroys the self-confidence and motivation of e.g. backrow cornet players if some of their more tricky parts always get passed to front row without them having a proper go at it. Additionally, you will then have front row players playing without much rest which is not a good idea anyway.

    I would be interested to know your opinions on this issue. Also, what do you make of part passing from one instrument to another- I tend to think this is not a good idea in the majority of cases and surely a good judge would be able to hear this 'cheating' going on!

    Part passing is one reason I think open adjudication would be welcomed, as conductors then might be less keen to pass parts if they felt the adjudicator's eyes was on the band!
  2. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    I don't have a problem with moving parts between players or even between instruments (although I agree that is normally obvious). Saying this I think all players should be given a proper go at any section but, if they can't do it in the final few rehearsals, then it should be moved around to get the best performance the band can pull off - teamwork is the key.
  3. hellraiser

    hellraiser Member

  4. persins

    persins Member

    In princile I disagree with part passing for the very reasons mentioned above but there are occasions where something has to be done to get the best performance. This should only be as a last resort but done in enough time so that the receiving player can actually make a good stab at getting it right too.

    I think that swapping instruments is highly dangerous unless done very carefully. The only possible exception is perhaps solo cornet to sop but it seldom goes unnoticed as generally the two have distinctive sounds. And rightly so! That is not to say that some players can't make one sound like the other, as there was a great deal of confusion at the West of England Regionals earlier this year if I remember correctly.

    Fundamentally, you should always be trying to get the best performance with the players you have and if that means moving some parts then so be it, but really, if you are only relying on a few good players to play everything when it gets a little tough, it is not a true representation of how good your band is and may hamper the development of some of the other players not in the limelight.
  5. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    I'm not a great fan of part swapping, but unfortunatly, there are occasions when it must be done. By all means give the players involved a good chance to get to know the part, but agreed that if its still not there in the last few rehearsals, its gotta be moved.

    Swapping instruments is a dangerous thing. As has been mentioned, sound is the obvious problem there, although I have seen swaps between horns and cornets, and between troms, baris and euphs. Again not a great fan, but if needs must, its gotta be done. An example is if the band hasnt got say, a 2nd bari player, then parts can be shared between similar instruments.
  6. anGel oF mUsiC

    anGel oF mUsiC New Member

    i think that if it is absolutely necessary to move parts between instruments it should be done extremely carefully.
    i have been on both ends of this at various bands over time, and i agree that players should be given every opportunity to get it right, coz even though i was struggling with it i got it right in the end, but it had already been covered by a solo cornet weeks before hand, and at the time it really dented my self confidence. But on the other hand, sometimes it is necessary to do this at the last minute when they have been given ample opportunity and they still struggle.

    sometimes all they need is someone to sit down and help them, which doesnt always happen. but then again it is also the responsibility of the player to request assistance when they know they cannot do something.
  7. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Yes I see your point on this one and it;s just about getting the balance right, although I don't think this is an issue where the majoring part swapping goes on. In my experience this tends to be in the lower sections on parts like back row to front row. Often the players which are given the parts are far more experienced (in comparison) and wouldn't generally struggle playing it off 1 rehearsal. In that case it can be better to jsut leave it right to the last minute thus giving the less experienced player as much opportunity as possible. If it geniunely is a difficult passage that your more experienced players may really have to work at then a good MD would know the players well enough (and have the tact and skills) to choose the right time to draw the line and move the part over. :biggrin:
  8. Chris Sanders

    Chris Sanders Active Member

    I personally love it...

    I played Solo Horn on Rienzi, my part was boring, but the conductor gave me 7 parts from other instruments.

    Made the piece a lot more challenging and interesting for me, also my stamina was incredible over the weeks leading up to the area, and I even found my sound grew.
  9. LeDragon

    LeDragon Active Member

    I have no problem with part swapping in a contest situation at all if it enhances the bands performance. But I don't believe that it should be done without first giving players a fair chance to get to grips with their part to the piece.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2005
  10. yonhee

    yonhee Active Member

    Its fine as long as its my part being given to somone else and not the other way around.
  11. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    I played a baritone part on a horn at the areas (Variations..) I quite liked it, and the sound wasn't really that different (I tried to sound like a baritone!)
  12. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    What, you mean lots of vib, gurgling noise and lots of splits/missed accidentals?

    I thought you always played like that :p

    *runs away and hides as the vengeful bunny barrister charges up to wigan with a lawsuit - what else would he wear? - *
  13. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Back on topic...

    Passing the parts round should be a final desperate measure if your regular member is taken ill or whatever immediately (week or so) before the contest. Otherwise, and especially in the higher section bands, it should not be necessary - or, except in the circumstances mentioned above - allowed.

    For the sake of the band and the self-esteem of the players, it is a no-no.

    I'm sure we've had this discussion before BTW.
  14. anGel oF mUsiC

    anGel oF mUsiC New Member

    sometimes though for the lower grade bands especially you find it necessary to have to do it in the end, coz certain people just aren't up to it
  15. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    I was somewhat surprised to see one of the Champ bands at the 2004 L&SC areas playing the BBb bass cadenza in Tristan Encounter on an EEb - so its not just restricted to "lower section" bands.

    Clearly the adjudicator couldn't hear the difference as I think they were "placed".

    Not really in the "spirit" of things, though - and certainly not at that level!

    (something to be said for an "open" adjudicator contributing to the overall assessment....)

    (who played said cadenza on a BBb - as it should have been!)
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Doesn't necessarily follow that they didn't hear it, as there are no specific guidelines on this issue: some seem to frown on it more than others.
  17. LeDragon

    LeDragon Active Member

    Surely the aim of a band at a contest should be to get the score to sound how it is written, not to look how it is written?

    If an adjudicator can't pick up any part juggling by using his ears then so be it I say - the band has obviously disguised the part changes well enough for that adjudicators ears.
  18. JR

    JR Member

    Don't be surprised! it goes on in Yorkshire at the very top level as well (anyone remember Dyke on Whitsun Wakes?)
    - and in Belgium - witness Willebroek's recent "International Masters" Cloudcatcher back row parts turning up as if by magic on the top and second man!
    The last time I brought this up at the ABBA AGM (2003) I had absolutely no support whatsoever for any rule changes - if things carry on as they are I will ask for another debate

    john r
  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I believe it happened with Philip Wilby's Masquerade as well in 1993! Not so much parts being swapped but sections re-scored by the conductor as he thought 'it was really meant to be written this way'.
  20. sevenhelz

    sevenhelz Active Member

    absolutely agree with this.

    st helens youth does a bit of part sharing, even across instruments - sometimes it just makes sense for a euph to cover what's low for them, but high for a bass (for instance). and btw, we have open adjudication in several major contests - i prefer closed, though not because we share parts.

    i think if youve given someone a chance to play something but it is a bit beyond them at a certain time, it is worth considering passing parts - you don't necessarily have to hand over much of it. even just having osmeone cover a breath can make the whole thing much easier, and that can give the band just that much more confidence onstage.
    :p good topic


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