Playing to the drum...

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by FlugelD, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Over the many (30-odd!) years that I've been playing, I've done a lot of marching with bands.

    On many (most?) of these occasions, there has been a bass drum who has indicated when the band should start/stop.

    Universally, double tap means stop (when you reach the next repeat/double bar/whatever)....

    BUT - How do you start? What is the official way for bass drum to cue a start?

    For years, I thought it was two sets of three crotchets (Bang bang bang rest bang bang bang rest PLAY) - but then I was told it's the pipe band intro, brass bands are different - Eh?

    So what's the correct way? 5 crotchets? '20th Century Fox'? 'Cos recently, every drummer's been different.... HELP!
  2. michellegarbutt

    michellegarbutt Supporting Member

    well we normally get a double tap to wake us up then 2 sets of 3 crotchets

    The thing I've found strange when I've come for the Whit Friday marches etc is standing still to play an intro. Up here as soon as we've had the 2 sets of 3 we step off straight away playing
  3. Dave 2nd2nd Cornet

    Dave 2nd2nd Cornet Active Member

    BUT - How do you start? What is the official way for bass drum to cue a start?

    For years, I thought it was two sets of three crotchets (Bang bang bang rest bang bang bang rest PLAY) - but then I was told it's the pipe band intro, brass bands are different - Eh?

    So what's the correct way? 5 crotchets? '20th Century Fox'? 'Cos recently, every drummer's been different.... HELP![/quote]

    Is there an offical way ? If all players marching understand the 'knock on' for their band, does it really matter how many BangBangBangRests you get?
  4. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Certainly a lot of bands do go for two threes but we always used to use a 5-beat roll. We also halt to the bass drum, and there again it's important everybody knows how many paces to take before the final stop! When marching playing hymn tunes, we always have four beats in between the verses, and hold the final note of the second verse for five beats.

    As is said above, it doesn't really matter which system you use, as long as everybody knows what's happening - especially any guest players ;)
  5. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Not even sure that's true. My understanding has always been that the band stops playing exactly on the 7th beat after the 1st double tap, irrespective of whether or not there is a musically logical place to stop at the time ...

    I believe many of these customs must originate in military bands. As I understand it, different regiments (or guards/line/mounted bands) use different procedures anyway (7-pace roll, 5-pace roll, two threes, etc.) I'm sure someone with a military background can step in and give better information here - but overall, I don't think there is one absolutely right way.
  6. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    That is absolutely correct - to put it in terms already used, it goes Bang Bang, bang bang, band bnang stop. No second beat of the bar. So, if yopu write a march with a note on the second beat of the bar at the end, it will never be played by a British army band whilst marching.

    5 place rolls in the Guards, 2 threes for the bulk of the infantry.

    Also, the double taps on the bass drum would be in conjunction with what the Drum Major is doing with his mace. Watch a reruin of yesterdays trooping the colour to get a better idea! I'm sure there were a couple of tMpers sweating it out there who can give a blow by blow account at least of how the Brigade of Guards do it!
  7. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Not always the case Andy :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:
  8. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Yes, perhaps better re-phrased as "It will never be played as a full band tutti by a British army band whilst marching ..."
  9. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member


    I have also just noticed my typo from earlier post - I din't really mean reruin!
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2006
  10. FlugelD

    FlugelD Member

    Thanks for the feedback, folks.

    We don't do many marching jobs, and due to shiftwork and p/t jobs usually have a large proportion of guests helping out - occasionally including bass drum, and hence the confusion.

    And yes, it doesn't really matter what the cue is, as long as everyone knows - but sometimes people don't listen :rolleyes:
  11. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    One of the biggest challenges is that for many marching gigs, we have to get in deps on the day so all the planning in the bandroom for knowing what to do goes out of the window!
    One year, prior to the local carnival, I took Uckfield Concert Brass out onto the local playing fields and spent a very amusing couple of hours trying to get them to work to the commands from the bass drum. If you ever need a good laugh, this is a fine way to get one!
  12. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    I don't recall it being very amusing.;) I also don't recall Uckfield carnival being very amusing either, with lighted torches being laid down in the road :eek: and keep left signs in the middle of the road.
  13. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    A couple of years ago we had a new conductor who came to the band and insisted that 5 taps was the "correct" way to start the band, not 2 set of 3. All fine in theory, but most of the band paniced, got confused and created a messy start. Accepted his way may have been "correct" in his eyes, but it is far easier to stick to what we know.
  14. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    We (Middleton) also practiced the knock-on and knock-off before Whit Friday on our local cricket pitch. That was fine and fair enough - until we tried to be clever and practice countermarching. It was like Fred Karno's doolally band :oops:

    One band wit suggested we might win the entertainment prize rather than deportment.
  15. Crazysop

    Crazysop Member

    Speak for yourself:rolleyes:
    We were missing our usual highly skilled drummer to be fair...........:cool:
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  16. andywooler

    andywooler Supporting Member

    The lit torches were there to help you see the keep left signs!

    At least we never made you particpate in Lews Bonfire parade - then you might have something to compain about!;)
    Did we at least give you a bass strap ?
  17. satchmo shaz

    satchmo shaz Active Member

    old thread I know but we have someone who can use a mace, just wondered where you get em from and how much and has anyone got a cheap spare one

    cheers Shaz x
  18. brownrob

    brownrob Member

    Well I think there are proper ones and they arent cheap

    A band I know bought one in the last year and spent a few hundred on one! But it may not have been as much as that, I remember being surprised at the price!
  19. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  20. bandrh

    bandrh Member

    hi Shaz
    Having been involved with youth marching bands for over 25 years there are several places to get them, Ebay is a good bet or try looking on either TYMBA and BYBA sites where you can request items.
    As for new ones Greville hodgson musical instruments in Birmingham is the best source. Most bands will use the Premier ones. The more expensive military style cane types are nice but expensive, especially if you drop it.
    There are other shops like Newcastle and Nottingham drum centre.
    There also may be a local scout, BB or other uniform organisations who might have equipment not being used.
    Hope this helps


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