Test Piece Grading

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by DublinBass, Mar 10, 2005.

  1. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I saw this test piece grading on the SCABA website http://www.awooler.demon.co.uk/SCABA Graded Test Pieces 27.09.pdf

    Rather interesting. It seems like a good resource to find potential test pieces for own choice contests.

    One oddity, Comedy is rated as Championship Section (as is London Overture the 1st section piece last year at Pontins), Variations for BB and Tam O' Shanter are both listed as 1st Section and Divertimento is 3rd section :rolleyes:
  2. Craigsav83

    Craigsav83 Active Member

    That makes interesting reading...

    Notice that Vizcaya is also regarded a 1st section piece, as is previous second section pieces of Kaleidoscope and Celestial Prospect.

    They are obviously trying to up the standard in the lower sections!
  3. Nigel Hall

    Nigel Hall Supporting Member

    I may be wrong (usually am!!) but I think the sections listed are based on SCABA's grading - their 3rd section is made up of a mixture of 3rd, 4th and ungraded bands.
  4. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    There are a few choices there that seem somewhat out of place.

    Variations on Laudate Dominum, Gregson, as a 3rd section piece. I'd like to see some of the bands competing in this section in SCABA contests produce a winning performance playing that.

    2nd section Jubilee Overture Sparke. Whilst I like this overture, I wouldn't generally consider it to be a test piece, although I did hear a band play it at Brighton in the 1st serction one year. No names to protect the innocent.

    1st section A Celtic Suite, Culloden Moor, Main Street, and Vizcaya, along with Triumphant Rhapsody, The Frogs and Les Preludes.

    Championship section. Scherezade. Whilst I can see certain difficulties in the quasi cadenza, the remainder is a rather pleasant blow.

    I notice that on Anglo Music's site that Jubilee Overture, A Celtic Suite and Kaleidoscope, have all been given a rating of 4/6 moderately difficult, which I assume would put them at good 3rd / 2nd section level nationally.

    Any other thoughts.
  5. Daniel Sheard

    Daniel Sheard Member

    Indeed. Main Street was 3rd section Areas piece a few years ago.

  6. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    This list was re-issued to SCABA bands around 6 months ago and I think its a great resource. It would be interesting to know if any other associations provide this sort of thing? Imho SCABA is probably the best association in terms of what it does for its membership and the quality of their local contests.

    20-ish years the band I was in then was disqualified for playing a piece listed as "4th section" in the 3rd section - a bit harsh!! Nowadays the list is just intended as a guide, not hard and fast rules and there's bound to be a few 'rogue' gradings in there. Bear in mind who compiled it though - I'd like to think Denis Wilby has a pretty good idea of what he's talking about! The list also reflects the fact that a significant portion of SCABA bands are graded a section higher than their national rank.
  7. meandmycornet

    meandmycornet Active Member

    I don't understand it :( there appears to be no 4th section is goes from 3rd to youth! and also divertimento is listed in both the 3rd and youth sections!
  8. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    This list was produced by and for SCABA - Nigel was right ( :clap: ;) ) the 3rd section is a mix of 3rd/4th and ungraded and they have no 4th section. Youth section is defined by age range not a 5th level of standard, so there's bound to be some overlap in the pieces.
  9. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    It seems fairly accurate, but having "Les Preludes" alongside "Kaleidoscope" just seems a little daft. They are very different difficulty-wise. Indeed, the former would make an excellent regional top-section test piece, while last year some people argued that "Kaleidoscope" was too easy for the second section.

    But it's generally a good guide and with a little bit of applied common sense is perfectly useful.
  10. Nigel Hall

    Nigel Hall Supporting Member

    I think you'll find that this is the "old" arrangement from Les Preludes (Drake Rimmer?) rather than the Bram Gay version. I remember winning many contests as a player about 20 years ago with this piece with a 3rd section band.
  11. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    William, not Drake.

    The SCABA list is a bit of a muddle really (or at least it was when I was down there) because it was initially compiled from what bands actually played over a period of time, and as bands played different pieces they were added to the list. So if a 3rd section band chose to play Resurgam, for instance, Resurgam became a third section piece...*

    That explains why Jubilee Overture (great piece but not for contests, if only because no full score is available) is listed.

    I'm not sure that I approve of catagorising pieces according to level of difficulty in any case since we're always encouraged by adjudicators to 'choose a testpiece which displays the strengths of your own band', and as we've seen with this year's regional pieces, works can cross sections and be used outside of the level they are best suited (sometimes successfully...).

    For me, the existence of an approved' list seems to suggest that there are other pieces are which are 'dissapproved', and I'd rather not have limits put upon my choice of test piece.

    Otherwise, the SCABA contests are altogether excellent!


    * but good to see that Mr Wilby has reinstated it to the First Section.
  12. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    In Belgium (and also in Holland), there is an offical grading list of test pieces for wind and fanfare bands. When a band participates in an own choice contest (like most of our contests), you have to play a piece that's graded in your section.
    When you want to play a piece that's not on the list (like for example a newly commisioned piece, or a new arrangement), you have to get it graded by the national "grading commission". I think that system seems to works fine...

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