What makes a good testpiece?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by toptutti, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    There are plenty of threads floating around criticising various choices of test pieces, some even praising the odd one. This led to an interesting argument over a pint after band:
    just what makes a good test piece and when entering an own choice contest what do you look for in a piece and just how do you decide on the best one for your band?
  2. MrsDoyle

    MrsDoyle Supporting Member

    Fun as well as challenging.
  3. Columbo

    Columbo Member

    I agree, it must be enjoyable. Its part of the criteria for an own choice piece IMO. Keeps the interest in the band room also.
  4. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    Ah, but what makes the piece fun? For me it depends where I'm sitting. On flugel, of course I want that big solo that's within my technical abilities which allows me to show off. Playing front row, I've only played principal once at contet and usually end up in the pack. Again I want a piece to make me shine and not give all the glory to the guy on the end. Backrow, something again which leaves me somewhat exposed and allows me to show that not all the talent's on the front row

    I know the hardest part of any 4th section testpiece is to get everyone playing together and in tune but if we could do this we wouldn't be in the 4th

    I find Spectrum fun as well as challenging but wouldn't like to take it to contest with any band I'm playing for at the moment. They'd be mutiny in the badroom!
  5. Kjata

    Kjata Member

    12 mins of fun challenging music. Got to have a melody in it somewhere!!!
  6. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    something with a good tune and a challenge for everyone
  7. SPMPP

    SPMPP New Member

    A piece that is not ridiculously difficult for the band to play but still challenges and achieves satisfaction when played. Fed up of hearing bands play test pieces that are far too difficult for them (often playing at half speed)! A piece that has its technical moments but also hair raising solos.
  8. Vegasbound

    Vegasbound Active Member

    What makes a good challenge for the band...quite often isn't good for the listener!
  9. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    That was the second question of the night, should a test piece be chosen to highlight the differences in the bands or for the general public to enjoy? There's not many who'll sit down and listen to the same piece a dozen times no matter how much they enjoy it
  10. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    What gives you the impression they go to set test piece contests?? :confused:
  11. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    If some people's idea of fun is sitting at a station and jotting down numbers of virtually identical trains.....
  12. MrsDoyle

    MrsDoyle Supporting Member

    They're not identical! Don't be mean about train spotting! :)
  13. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    At least down your way they're proper trains with real smoke :biggrin:
  14. MrsDoyle

    MrsDoyle Supporting Member

    ;-) admittedly...

    Because I'm scared of being told off, back on topic.......

    Are test pieces really meant to be exciting though?
  15. KMJ Recordings

    KMJ Recordings Supporting Member

    Then the people that are there know what they're going to get ;)

    This kind of contest is designed to rank bands, pretty much irrespective of the audience.
  16. BariPower

    BariPower Member

    Maybe a thread for design your own test piece!!
  17. MrsDoyle

    MrsDoyle Supporting Member

    nothing but umchucks or rinkydinks for the horns then!!
  18. Bass Trumpet

    Bass Trumpet Active Member

    This is an awkward question. Quite often, the piece which the MD knows suits the band and might even earn them some silverware isn't the one the band want to play. Unfortunately, the band players will often choose something that they like - a baritone player will want to play something with a good baritone part, for example. But this choice is usually not suited to the band as a whole. Most of the time, the MD ends up being the bad guy.

    I was looking through our library recently trying to choose a suitable piece for the next two own choice contests.

    My suggestions (based on how the band plays and sounds): Prague, Energy, Caliban, Blitz

    Suggestions from the band went something lie this: Paganini Variations, Paganini Variations, Paganini Variations and Journey into Freedom.

    Suffice to say, a compromise had to be reached, but next time I'm getting my own way!:mad:
  19. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    A test piece written by committee! :eek:
  20. toptutti

    toptutti Member

    I've always believed that the test piece should be chosen by the conductor. He may discuss it with the principal players before making his choice but at the end of the day it's not the committee that gets fired after a run of bad results. I would hope that part of the criteria for choosing a piece is how it will go down with the band. After all down in the 4th section a lot more effort is put in if we enjoy the part we play

    I do understand the band when it comes to Paganini Variations. Can't wait to play that one again but it could be a while :redface: