Publishing and Ideas

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Curiosity_Kills, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. Curiosity_Kills

    Curiosity_Kills Member

    Hi everyone,

    I'm hoping to use this thread as a sort of open brainstorm for a business idea I had some time back but lack the expertise to implement it. So, any comments, advice, ideas, offering of services, etc will be greatly received.

    Some time ago, A friend and I were going to enter into a business venture together as brass music publishers. Our plan was to promote new composers for brass and to try and integrate brass band instruments with orchestral brass and even other 'mainstream' classical instruments.

    This idea has come about from my own views on brass bands and my experience as a composer. As far as large brass ensembles go, the brass band is the most established but has found itself a niche and seems to be reluctant to voyage 'outside of the box'. I feel that aside from a few composers/pieces, the majority of test pieces (the most prevalent modern brass band music idiom) follow set patterns. I find too much contemporary top section music has fast passages which sound like early Stravinsky and slow passages in a late-romantic style.

    When I compose test-piece style material I sometimes irritate myself with a fictional list of rules (e.g. must include cornet solo, euph solo, lower section music has to be tonal) which I feel if I don't abide by there is no hope of my music ever being used.

    Anyway, the idea fell flat on it's face a while back when my friend pulled out of the project and I lack the ability to create a website. This has been very vexing for me as I have a thousand and one ideas to hopefully find a corner in the market and I have also begun to gather a list of interested composers.

    Well, I can't think of much more to add.

    Comments/Questions welcome
  2. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    The holy grail for amateurs like me is performances. If I write something that ticks the "standard" boxes, it's more likely to get performed. Simple as that, really.

    I'd love to have a go at writing something that includes harp and piano, augmented percussion section, orchestral brass, etc., but it's tough enough to get bands to play pieces by a "new" composer without further diminishing performance opportunities by creating a "one-off" orchestration.

    Any number of people could design a website - without knowing the details (you may well have already got this sorted) can I humbly suggest that the real knack in a project like this would be getting live performances organised and finding a "resale" market? After all, not many bands are going to buy pieces where they have to draft in an extra handful of orchestral players for every performance.

    ALLROUNDER New Member

    I'm in agreement with #2 above. It really is all about getting performances and gaining credibility. That's difficult enough to do with "standard" repertoire without increasing the complexity by augmenting the orchestration. Having said that, it's always refreshing to find something new - I think sales would be a little thin, though.

    Rob Collinson.
  4. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Brighouse, Yorkshire
    Whilst I admire your determination to push the boundaries of brass banding and experiment further afield, the instrumentation of a band is one of the things I think people would be least inclined to change. Particularly as contesting is such a big part of banding life, and the instrumentation for contests is usually so rigidly controlled (even dictating what type of valves each instrument must use) that I think the divergence from the usual 25+perc setup would be difficult to persuade the banding community at large to accept.

    In the world of books, authors often have to write 'pot boiler' novels to attract an audience, before they can diverge and indulge their passions elsewhere - hopefully towing a few of the faithful along with them. Popular music generally seems to follow a similar pattern. I've often heard it said that if you really want to get to know a band, listening to singles is the wrong way to do it as their so often dictated by the record companies peddling what is popular at any given time. It's the album tracks where the music the band really want to do lies. Why should brass music be any different?

    I dare say that if, for example, Philip Wilby decided to write a symphony for two brass bands, grand piano, chamber orchestra and choir, he could carry it off successfully because of the reputation he has built in the more day-to-day field of brass music. He's written enough successful mainstream brass music to make his name a household word, so a few changes and different ideas (The seating plan in vienna nights, for example) are much more easily indulged than if he had gone that way when first trying to make his name in banding.

    By all means, don't let any of what I've said stop you writing whatever you choose - you may come up with something fabulous, and I really hope you do, because I too beleive banding does need a wee kick up the backside every so often. I would add a note of caution though, which I think Anno Draconis touched on earlier. I wouldn't expect anything too outlandish to get played on a regular basis. (Havergal Brian's Gothic Symphony anyone?)
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