Poll: Thorny Percussion Question

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Will the Sec, Apr 3, 2004.


Should bands be penalised if they play at contests without percussion?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  1. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Partita again.

    How many bands played without percussion?

    How many were penalised for mistakes made by their percussion players thereby giving the bands playing without percussion an advantage?

    Were the efforts of percussion players who worked their socks off a waste of time?

    Should a band who played without percussion get an invite to the nationals should one of the qualifiers withdraw?

    Only two options. Yes, or No.
  2. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    Yes, why not? :) That way you'll encourage more bands to properly sort out their percussion section.

    Edit: Reference to 'lower section bands' removed! (RT)
  3. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    If a band who had no percussion won a section, that would be completly mad!!!!
  4. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Yes I do think the band should be slightly penalised for not having percussion just like if any part is missing. But I do think it is unfair for adjudicators to concentrate on this fact in the remarks. I remember reading the remarks at a pontins of a 4th section band who on the whole put on a very good performance (I think they came 6th) and every other line was 'timp part missing at bar xxx'. Yes knock them a few marks and make a comment -they only had 1 percussionist and all the percussion parts didn't go in but no need to dwell on that and let it distract from the rest of the performance...
  5. tsawyer

    tsawyer Member

    How do they know how many percussionists there are if they're in a box? There might be two percussionists working their socks of and getting most of it in, or four rubbish ones who miss stuff out...
  6. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    I said "Yes". I think that, much as we brass players hate to admit it, we need the percussion to make the overall band sound (unless a particular piece has no percussion parts...). If a brass part was missing I would expect to be penalised for that too. If adjudicators were instructed to ignore the percussion, wouldn't that belittle the percussion players?

  7. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    not the adjudicator knowing how many percussionists....but the adjudicating knowing that all the percussion parts weren't going in. Although on this occassion there were times where more than one percussionist was needed at one point eg. timps and glock etc so using his head I should imagine he could calculate only the 1 percussionist was there!
  8. Okiedokie of Oz

    Okiedokie of Oz Active Member

    Why do you treat percussionists any differently to any other musician?? Percussionists poay the same band fees, attend the same rehearsals, wear the same uniform, and now you want to check the penalty rules for them???

    What if it were trombones?? Would you be offended if everyone got marked down for raggy trombones, while a band with no trombones won???

    It's not the percussionists' fault the music for them is so-and-so!!!
  9. Andy_Euph

    Andy_Euph Active Member

    I remember a few years ago at the CISWO Blackpool contest, the band my dad and brother were playing for at the time were miles better than any other band on the day but the judge took two points off them and they came second by a point, the reason he gave for this... there was no xylophone player.

    Here is the bad part, at the draw my dad had explained that the band didn't have a xylophone player (they still had two amazing percussion players but neither could play tuned percussion) and as such would the band be penalised for this... the answer he was given was NO :evil:

    However I think this reason was due to the tespiece which was Hollywood, which has quite a bit of percussion.

    Personally I think that it should depend on the testpiece, if you are playing something like Hollywood or Cherchebi (full of vibes and stuff) then lack of percussion needs to be penalised but if the band as a whole plays well then it should not be a main reason to lose a contest.
  10. Morgans Bach

    Morgans Bach Member

    Yes! Percussion are vital texture-creating instruments, like any other in the brass band, and if the composer has specifically written percussion parts, then I believe they should definately be played. I wonder what Tristan Encounters would sound like without percussion?! :wink:
  11. Despot

    Despot Member

    Percussion is a section within a band, not an add-on! Bands should be penalised no more or less for mistakes by made by a, or missing, a percussionst than say a brass player.

    The only exception I'd make is when less common percussion is required.
  12. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    I don't. But the contest rules seems to think they are expendable by not penalising (when they are absent) yet will mark a band down for poor percussion playing. Not sure what you mean by the three exclamation marks or the sentence before it.


  13. drummerboy

    drummerboy Member

    If a test piece needs less common percussion (say a marimba), then I'd say its up to the contest organisers to supply it.
    On the whole if all the percussion notes go in, then does it matter how any people put them in? (Being realistic of course!)
  14. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Not practical, really. How many bands would have players capable of playing (say) a part on a Marimba if they've not practiced it? Especially as the percussion question only seems to apply at the lower end of the spectrum.

    Absolutely not. Variations of Laudate Dominum is a good example of this. I've seen it done with three percussion players, often with two, but by far the best percussion performance in VoLD I ever heard was sitting in front of a solitary percussionist. With some organisation, involving having timps snare and bongos(?) strategically positioned, all but three hits were in. SB was a legend! (But hated playing percussion and took up the Euph instead.)

    What does matter, in my opinion, is when the absence of percussion means a better position in a contest than a performance including errors by a percussion section.
  15. fartycat

    fartycat Member

    Practice it on a xylo then, not that much difference. That's what we have to do...
  16. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    I've voted "yes" as I feel the adjudicator should treat any missing percussion lines in the same way as he should any other missing parts. As has been said, in this instance it is not so much a question of the number of players on stage, but the amount of the music they are able to fit in.
  17. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Fair dos. We haven't got a xylophone either though... so no marimbas or xylophones in the third section test pieces in 2006, please...

  18. nickcornock

    nickcornock Member

    The problem I find is that Percussionists are like rocking horse Sh*t to find particularly in the higher sections.If you are lucky to find 4 like we needed for Coventry Variations a few weeks ago you are also lucky if they can play the vast array of perc instruments the piece requires. You find a lot of kit players for instance that cant read tuned percussion and vice versa.We are a dying breed and if a band goes out without being able to cover the parts then why should they be penalised? at least they made the effort to turn up and keep the band movement going.
  19. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The difficulty with that sort of argument is how far do you take it?

    If you take it to its logical conclusion - a bit extreme, I know - you could turn up with a quartet of players and, so long as they each play their parts alright, you couldn't be penalised :shock:

    Either the percusson is to be seen as an integral part of the band, and its absence should be viewed in the same way as, say, a missing bass trombone, or it doesn't matter, in which case why make the effort at all :?:

    The answer, surely, is for bands to develop the sort of on-going concert and contest programmes that will encourage good percussionists to become permanent band members, knowing that they are not going to spend too much time just kicking their heels doing nothing.
  20. Dan

    Dan Member

    Blimey, thinking about 2006 already? :shock:

    You might not be in the 3rd section in 2006 - who knows you could be in the 1st by then!! :D