To pedal or not to pedal?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by matt_BBb_bass, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. matt_BBb_bass

    matt_BBb_bass Member

    Just read this article on 4br writen by Alan Morrison about pedaling! link:

    What do u think? I think pedaling in a hymn or something sounds really good even if the bass players is not overly good at pedaling! But like he said pedaling in the wrong places specially in test pieces doesn't so much good!

  2. Zeek

    Zeek Member

    I think pedelling works well in the right place, but personally i dont like pedelling all the time when its not needed.

    In the case of hymn tunes, i or we only use pedels at the end of them, but when in the case of test pieces, i or we use them if we have the same sustained octave as the EEb's to add a bit more colour or depth to the sound.

    I think you have to decide yourself on how you use them and where, but it you over use them and in places its just not needed then you could ruin a piece or just sound like a derdge.
  3. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    As far as test pieces go. If it ain't on the part don't do it.
  4. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    Spot on John!

    I enjoy a good pedal as does my playing partner. However we try not to overuse the effect.

    When rehearsing a new piece we will try out pedals where we think they maybe effective and if the pedal is not effective or adding anything to the piece, we play whats written. You will feel and hear if its right!
  5. Al

    Al Member

    The writer could have saved himself a lot of time as the article doesn't really tell us anything at all. Just leave the final sentence:

    "I would suggest it is right and very effective in its place, but in other places could be very, very wrong!"

  6. Agreed!

    Hymn tunes are a different matter though. However I always think that EEb bass peddles sound richer than BBb ones and sometimes (obviously depending on the player) a peddling BBb bass doesnt add to the depth of sound and the notes produce are just growls not real notes. only my opinion though!!
  7. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Oh I think you are way off the mark there my friend. Or have you deliberately put it the wrong way round to be provocative?

    By the way I thought it a well thought out and constructive article by AM.
  8. Chunky

    Chunky Active Member

    We have to be fair Mr B, look at the user name Tenorhorndavid. He would be too pure to understand the dark arts we bass players practise.

    When played properly the pedal on the BBb is far superior to that on an Eb!
  9. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Absolutely Chunky, I'm sure he must have been joking!

    There has been the odd BBb player that I could "out peddle" (I'm a mean mountain biker) but when theres a decent "big boy" about, leave it to him.

    PS have you noticed how dire some tenor horn players sound in the lower register? :D :wink:
  10. toby hobson

    toby hobson Member

    Its seems to me that peddling has become the latest whipping boy of the rapidly ascending nuvo brass band inteligencia!!! Quite obviously two or three of the finest groups brass banding has EVER heard had tonnes of octave playing. Peddling has become the latest thing for people to try to convince us of how musically superior they are. A good peddle when done correctly is one of the finest sounds in brass banding. Two or three "greats" that i have had honour of sitting next to would frequently peddle but only to add depth..not stick out.Its funny how you dont here bass players trying to tell front row cornet players when to leave stuff out, when to tuck in, when too split parts up or telling Soprano players when to go up a fifth or when to leave lower stuff out or when to sit on the top or cut through!!! I think peddling should be left to the people who actually have to find away to do it which as someone who is trying to learn the art and is rapidly finding out...IS NOT EASY!!!!
  11. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Before going too deeply into the finer points of the argument, I think it would be nice if people understood the difference between "peddle" and "pedal", and between "peddling" and "pedalling" ...

    Sorry to be pedantic, but do we really need itinerant salespersons in our bass sections ... ?


    That depends on who is doing the pedalling!
  13. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    The rule I work to is that if the composer has included an "Octave below ad lib" marking, or any note that cannot be played without a fourth valve, then they obviously know what they're doing with a bass section's low register, and what they've written should be left alone. (Philip Sparke's writing is often like this.)

    If they haven't written anything you can't play without a fourth valve (or in some cases, they've just note-for-note copied the Eb part in the same octave) then I consider it my perogative to take the odd liberty as to what octave I play in. (This is especially true of older-school pieces, overtures etc from the period prior to the advent of the fourth valve.)

    It's my opinion that the only time Eb Basses should be used for pedal register work is where the composer has specifically written them there - in order to create a harder, more threatening sound than would be produced from a BBb bass. When used correctly, this can be musically similar to how Stravinsky purposely wrote basoons in their extreme high register to create a strident, harsh sound in the Rite of Spring. If this is not the composer's direct intention, then all pedal work should be undertaken on BBb basses, for their much warmer, broader sound.

    As Mr Morrison rightly suggests, simply smashing another octave or two in all the time is as musically insensitive as putting vib on every note. Timing is everything. The odd note dropped the octave can really make a performance - or can destroy it completely if poorly timed, or placed out of context.

    Listening to Judges of the Secret Court at the Albert Hall two years ago, I'm pretty sure that Cory's pedalled pretty much everything. In places it sounded splendid and really brought out the huge sound they can achieve. However in other places, it sounded frankly pretty strange - because musically it was the wrong place to have a pedal note. Grimethorpe I think only pedalled about three notes in the whole piece - Each one perfectly in context, and adding immeasurably to the particuar musical moment.

    On the subject of context, I believe Bram Tovey once said something like "For the bands who played only the octave written on the basses, the picture was of little trixie skipping upstairs to the nursery. For those bands who added the octave, the picture was more of her overweight and flatulent uncle following her..." which I think sums it up rather nicely. Right place and time, very good skill to have. Wrong place or wrong time, bad move - however well executed said pedal may be.
  14. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    been there done that specialy where there are 3 valve BBb's around. can't pedal to well on 3 valves.
  15. Zeek

    Zeek Member

    If you have EEb's pedelling then what is the point of BB's, but whoever said they can out pedel BB's may think that in the terms of nots you are playing but remember you are a 5th higher so you might think your playing lower but your not really!


    BRAVO! any fool can sound decent on an EEbass, anyone with only half a lung can play one,the BBbass is the daddy and always will be,no EE bass can outblow a good double B.
  17. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    This must surely be the approach, sounds like commonsense to me. I tend to be the BB player who plays at the octave written when the other pedals, but some players seem to regard notes on the stave as deeply offensive.
  18. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I was thinking in concert pitch, I can definatly put pedal the 3 valve BBb's that are around me, I wouldnt want to try and out pedal a Good BBb player on a 4 valve BBb, I heard YBS in Brisbane in 05 and there are no players like that near me, I wish there was, so til there is pedals are up to me.
  19. lowsaints

    lowsaints Member

    Pedaling a BB Flat is one of life's great pleasures! However, as AM pointed out in his article, you can have too much of a good thing.

    Pedaling has to be approched from a musical perspective rather than let's see if I can just slap it all down an octave.

    In terms of a test piece, pedalling when not written is a weapon to be used sparingly. A lot of test pieces, especially newer ones, write for BB Flat bass in the nether regions as and when the composer feels that this is an effect he or she wishes to use.

    Too much of anything can kill you and that applies to too much pedaling in any piece. Don't get too carried away and above all make sure it's tasteful and in context.
  20. I stand corrected ;)

    as someone who knows very little about bass playing i think i'll just keep quiet now then!!

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