What do the players REALLY look for in a testpiece???

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by The Cornet King, Oct 15, 2003.

  1. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Ok no doubt this has been done before but i wasn't here to see it!!! :)

    What do all the bandspeople here want to find in a test piece the most? Lots has been mentioned from an audience perspective but i havent heard much from the 'men (and women) in the middle'

    Would you rather have a really hard piece that requires lots of practice and that proves a real challenge??? Perhaps a piece that has lots of tunefulness but isnt quite as hard??
    Do people like solo, exposed passages or purely 'band' pieces?

    Past few years has seen a lot of controversy over test pieces so would be interested to know everybody's thoughts from all sections.

    Do different section of players look for different things in a test piece???

    Look forward to all of your views and thoughts.

    Front Row, Cottingham Band.
  2. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    I think it's all about getting things balanced. It should be a piece that's technical, but without losing musicality just to get that 15/8 bar in there somewhere. And there should be solos for the bands soloists, but not so much that the other players in the band can pop off for a fag half way through.
  3. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    Not too fussed on wether there's a solo or not, but I definately like having a nice meaty bass part to get my teeth into. Theres nothing worse than having two weeks rehearsal on a piece were your mainly counting bars rest listening to all the corner men tackle deviant solos. Sometimes pieces I like listening to and playing are not the same... e.g. Whitsun Wakes, like listening to it, but hate having to do it for the reason above... lots of rests and not much to do!
  4. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Agree totally. No point a test piece turning into a quintet just to please the 'end chairs'.

    Front Row, Cottingham Band
  5. cornydevil

    cornydevil Member

    What do you look for in a test piece

    I agree with lynchie, a good balance of technical content and nice tunes to play. If you come away from rehearsal whistling the tune it makes the prospect of weeks of rehearsals more appealing.

    P.S A good rep part also helps ( no guessing which part i play)
  6. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    2nd man down?
  7. cornydevil

    cornydevil Member

    What do you look for in a test piece

    Bb Bass actually!!!
  8. Mike Saville

    Mike Saville Member

    I've resigned my self to the fact that I will never play an interesting/challenging part in a test piece as the bass trombone part ranks even below 2nd Horn and 3rd Cornet in importance in test pieces. The upshot of this is that composers quite often assume a duff player on this part (or if we're lucky, let us double with the basses! :D ).
  9. lynchie

    lynchie Active Member

    There's got to be a good bass trombone part in a test piece somewhere! And if there isn't there should be! Surely as one of the few instruments which bands only have one of it should be featured every so often?
  10. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    I unfortunately seem to agree with you Mike. From my past experience of playing in the lower sections, there seems to be a great lack of work for Basses and especially the Bass trombone.
    Could this be a reason for the (seemingly) large decline of Bass Trombone Players. Our band is currently looking for a bass trombone and cant find one anywhere(or other trombones for that matter).
    However back to the subject, it would be nice to see a predominant part for the bass section(incl bass trom)

    So all you composers out there. The challenge has been laid! :)

    Front Row, Cottingham Band
  11. johnflugel

    johnflugel Active Member

    Variations on an Enigma has a good bass trom part, well...for about two bars anyway!

    I disagree that a test work should ALWAYS just be about tunes and solos. It's good to mix it up every now and again - I know it wasn't a popular choice with the masses but 'Prague' was an excellent choice in my view. Some people were intent on blasting it off the page but after hearing B&R win the Yorkshire area with it convinced me about it worthiness as a test work. With that work you had to think about the ideas, story, images and effects that the composer was after, rather than just getting it technically right and the soloists sounding pretty.

    Having said all that, one of my favourites test works is 'Journey into Freedom' along with Contest Music which is the 'daddy' as far as I am concerned!

    Rothwell Temps

    CJ - got that nasty lick in 'Journey' sorted yet?!
  12. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Something that gives EVERYONE something to do. There is nothing worse than counting 100 bars rest and then the conductor repeating that section again and again! I do like the techinical stuff (as long as it isn't it my part hehe) but I also think it is essential that a test piece has a good theme or melody.
  13. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    I knew their was something i had to do!! It shall be done :)
    Right im off to practice...!

    Front Row, Cottingham Band
  14. tewkeshorn

    tewkeshorn Account Suspended

    I've noticed a bit of a trend to test pieces with different parts/movements/acts/variations which I think is a good way to try and please as many people as possible (you'll never please everyone :) )

    Just going on the past few test pieces I've played there seems to be usually a full-band section with a nice catchy melody, a technical section with all your odd time/key signatures in, and a soloists section for us pop idol wannabes to show off. 8)

    I don't mind solos, but as much as non-soloists probably get bored of sitting through practices waiting for the tutti sections, I don't particularly want to spend week in week out playing on my lonesome (wouldnt be much point of a band then!), it's all a question of balance and as I'm sure our resident tmp composers will say it's about trying to appeal to as many listeners/players as possible. :p
  15. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Couldn't have put it better myself! :D
    Front Row, Cottingham Band
  16. Cornishwomble

    Cornishwomble Active Member

    Yeah but we still love you!! :tup
  17. horn1

    horn1 Member

    I do like a solo! Not something that bores the pants off everyone else but a bit of something to get my teeth into! I don't like it when the horns have to support everyone else all the way through!!
  18. Jo Elson

    Jo Elson Member

    A testpiece in my opinion has to include everything; solos, quiet parts, loud parts, trios etc to show that the band is capable of doing them all musically and technically. It needs to be challenging, however i do agree that it shouldn't be solos all through making a feature of individuals because everyone is just as important even if they don't get solos because they are what hold the band together and can have technically harder parts, they just aren't made a feature of.
  19. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    Notes mostley!!!! :lol: :lol:
    sorry couldnt resist!
  20. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    lol. Next time try to resist harder or i shall get Sooty to cast on you a magic spell! :D
    However come to think of it, Harrisons Dream didn't contain standard notes!!! :D

    Front Row, Cottingham Band.

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