Test piece percussion

Discussion in 'The Adjudicators' Comments' started by brut33, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. brut33

    brut33 Member

    This has maybe been discussed before, and maybe I'm displaying a bit of ignorance but I've not thought about this before: if you have an older test piece with minimal percussion, how would adjudicators react to a wee bit more added in for effect... An extra cymbal roll, or tam tam roll etc?
  2. Keith Stanley James Lever

    Keith Stanley James Lever Supporting Member

    If adding extra cymbal rolls, tam-tam rolls etc. would that not be a breach of copyright ??????
  3. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Why change a good thing. Less is more :rolleyes:

    We had a rehearsal last week in another bands bandroom where a lot of percussion is available. One of the bangy-thingers did a Tam-Tam splat rather than a cymbal crash, and not only was against copyright, but also human decency. The condcutor rightly pointed out that ad lib is the sole discretion of the composer and under no circumstances should the player needlessly add insturments that are not scored, and will not be available for the performance.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2009
  4. Keith Stanley James Lever

    Keith Stanley James Lever Supporting Member

    I seem to recall a certain Mr. Gregson pulling a band over the coals back in 1995 for enhancing his "Laudate Dominum" with extra cymbal parts on a C.D. recording.
  5. John Brooks

    John Brooks Well-Known Member

    While I might agree that it could be in poor taste, I find it hard to understand why it would be a breach of copywrite. Is that really true?

    I would be in favour of the publisher authorizing a capable individual to re-write percussion parts for certain music written when percussion was not required to be the standard it is today.
  6. Independent Silver Band

    Independent Silver Band Active Member

    Re-writing the part would be. Adding a roll on a different instrument would be a matter of interpretation. I have done work with symphonies where the conductors would make bigger changes than this. (Not the tam.)
  7. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Unless it's sanctioned and an officially rewritten part it should be seen as 'wrong'...you can't just add extra 3rd cornet notes without penalty (technically) so why should this be any different?
  8. jim

    jim Member

    Personley im a purist play as written, its one thing to move the parts around to suit players etc but if you do whats on the tin you carnt go far wrong, if the composer re writes the parts then fair enough but other than that leave is as they are, I can remember a band re writing the parts to Epic Symphony some years ago it just didnt work, your ears natrally listened to the part which wasnt written!
  9. weenie

    weenie Member

    The more you don't add, the less the chances are of cocking anything up is my motto!! (not that you would of course). I know that the majority of adjudicator's wouldn't be able to tell if you're sneekily doing something slightly different to what's on the part (if played confidently). But to add anything major ie: tam tam rolls etc, would be a little too risque for my liking. I once added a water gong part to Chivalry at the Masters, the adjudicator wrote 'Is that a water gong I hear'? Luckily we got away with it, but not all judges are that leanient.

    Stick to the part.
  10. QAD

    QAD Member

    "What a gong!" more like weenie.
    Adding stuff or not is only a risk if the other bands sucessfully play the music at the contest.
    I sat through the majority of the fourth section at the finals the other weekend (for my sins), and despite St. Breward missing out percussion parts (they had two rather than the requisite 3 for the piece), they still walked the contest because they were the only band that came anywhere near actually playing the music in the test piece - 2nd movement in particular.
    So I don't think it makes much difference unless you have Rebello in the box.
    Saying that I still wouldn't add anything personally.
  11. Kjata

    Kjata Member

    It really depends on the adjudicator, if the composer is the adjudicator then its a bit risky but if it is someone who wouldnt really mind then go for it. That said what do I know lol????
  12. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    If it someone who doesn't really mind, then they should not be in the box
  13. Kjata

    Kjata Member

    Relatively speaking that is, not doesn't care per ce!!
  14. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Why is that any different?

    Okay, it happens every year at the areas, and other contests too But it shouldn't.

    I'm sure Messers Sparke, Wilby, Gregson et al are perfectly capable of writing their own instrumentation themselves.

    I know as a composer myself, if I write a top C on an Eb bass, that's what I want. If a band covers it with an F on a euphonium, they should be penalised for that - although they very rarely are. (There is an argument that if an adjudicator cannot hear the difference, what on earth is he/she doing adjudicating a contest - but there we lead onto a whole other debate...)

    Percussion should be no different. ie: if written as clash cymbals, that's what should be used, not a suspended crash cymbal.

    I can appreciate some (particularly older) pieces don't really give our shed-builders chance to show off their dexterity. Neither do they give us BB players chance to show off our low registers, or flugel players to play anything that isn't doubled on the rep.

    That doesn't mean they should be changed to make them 'more suitable' for a contest though, and sticking in tam-tam rolls where a cymbal roll is written is a definite no-no for me!

    In my opinion it's more a matter of the selection panel more carefully debating whether such pieces are suitable for a contest at all, whilst retaining the piece in it's current format.

    If not, rather than "painting a moustache on the mona lisa" as someone put it in another thread - perhaps the selection of a more well-rounded piece in the first place would be preferable.
  15. Despot

    Despot Member

    In a contest situation, especially a set test piece, you're taking a bit of a chance.

    Yes it may musically justified, but contesting has nothing to do with music! :)
  16. Euphanasia

    Euphanasia Member

    "Percussion should be no different. ie: if written as clash cymbals, that's what should be used, not a suspended crash cymbal".

    Yes, but for those of us without a full percussion section, we do sometimes have to make substitutions or minor adjustments to preserve the musicality of the piece......Our single handed shed builder usually has his work cut out come the Areas.....
    NB - this is NOT the same as adding bits, more an attempt to put on an acceptable performance....

  17. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    This is pure ill-informed hearsay, but somebody told me that Brighouse's swapping of a household saucepan for the indicated percussion instrument at the Open was noted and penalised by the adjudicators. I haven't checked that with anyone from B&R, but I kind of hope it's true, to be honest. Musically, it wasn't the end of the world (it was actually quite effective), but I know in Pallhuber's shoes I'd have been properly cross.

    As regards older pieces, who knows what the composer might have written had they been given the shed-building leeway we have now? You might have ended up with an entirely different piece, because I don't know of any composer who would simply add a layer of percussion on the top after the piece was finished - the instruments available colour what you're writing. If you know that you can use a full range of percussion, you going to write a different piece than if you're limited to all-brass, with maybe SD/BD and Cym at a push. Simplistic example - if there are no timpani available, a lot of the reinforcement of important cadences has to be done by the basses. With timps in the mix, the basses can be freed up to play other things should the composer wish.

    The point is, they wrote for a certain instrumentation. In a contesting context, you should be playing what's on the score, not improvising. Although as Euphanasia^ points out, if you've got one sheddie but you're playing a piece at the area that requires 3, the editing/improvisation is pretty much enforced.

    If you're giving a concert performance of an old brown piece and do some judicious editing of the percussion part, that's a matter for your musical conscience. If the audience walk out, you've got it wrong ;)
  18. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Okay, I accept, where the change is enforced by a lack of personell (ie: the example you suggest) then some leeway should be granted. Perhaps if i'd qualified the whole statement with "Wherever possible" I might have been clearer.

    Likewise if a band has no soprano cornet, so the top man cues the sop solo in - I suppose that's fair enough.

    However if, for example, the one I suggested about a euph covering an Eb bass's top C came about and there were four basses on stage, surely that would merit a penalty? If it's not enforced by necessity it's tantamount to cheating.