What's the score with scoring?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Lena, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. Lena

    Lena New Member

    As a complete ignoramus when it come to adjudication, would someone be kind enough to explain the allocation of marks please?!? I gather that competition pieces are scored out of 100 or 200 points, are these points divided into sections for e.g tuning, interpretation etc? Please enlighten me!:confused:
  2. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Adjudication scores have always been a mystery to me. I cant beleive when listening to 16 or 17 bands that the marks all come out 1 point apart.
    Does the adjudicator really sit and mark each band as they play and give them a mark out of 200. If that were the case then I would expect bunching of scores with lots of bands on the same marks.
    What seems to happen is that the adjudicator ranks the bands by merit, sees how the best band played, gives then a mark out of 200 then takes one off for every place down the order. Why can't they just be honest and give 1st, 2nd,3rd .... to 17th and forget about the points.

    I know you occasionaly get a contest where the outright winner might win by 2 points and the occasional 2 point gap down the order but this is usually the exception rather than the rule.

    Its like boxing. A fighter can get knocked around the ring getting beaten black and blue for three minutes and not throw one decent punch - and still get 9 points to the winners 10. Why can't there just be 1 point per round to fight for.
  3. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    The British Open abandoned points a couple of years ago and only gives positions in order of merit.

    There are also one or two interesting anecdotes in Richard Evans' book where he writes of adjudicators acknowledging that winning margins had been "adjusted" to avoid the embarassment of one band being ten or more points ahead of the rest.
  4. Lena

    Lena New Member

    Hmmmm, ok - but if bands are placed in positions of merit, how is this appropriated? Is it the adjudicator's decision on what to issue 'merits' for? How do you achieve standardisation between contests? Are we saying that the adjudicator's decision is totally subjective? Sorry for all the questions :oops: - but i need to get a handle on this one!:)
  5. Rebel Tuba

    Rebel Tuba Member

    Obviously your are really unsure of the can of worms you are opening here.

    The fact that a band can enter many contests over a year and be placed 1st all year, then have a bad couple of area contests and be relegated is a very contentious point.

    The fact that this decision was usually the though of one lonely person in a box adds fuel to the fire. Even now with many contests employing 2 adjudicators the fact they are sat together still makes a mockery of that system (with a "good" cop", "bad" cop scenario - there will always be a stronger and weaker personality within the box).

    The world of adjudication is a very secret world with some adjudicators saying that everyone is in 1st place at the start with 200 points, with points deducted as the adjudicator sees fit, others making notes and referencing back to place bands for final positions.

    Who knows what the answer is, as a player you hate the ones that don't place you and the next time they adjudicate you and give you 1st they are gods. What a fickle lot we are!!!
  6. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    I gave up trying to understand results years ago, after a strange decision.! It was ay Pontins (Hemsby) one Easter. Two adjudicators (One of which had written the test piece). The comments sheet from the Writer said we were brilliant, correct tempos and volumes throughout, with good performances from every section. The other, said we were too fast in one movement and too slow and loud in another! We came almost last. How the guy that wrote the piece could be out voted by the other, puzzles me to this day.

    So the Moral of this, is to just turn up and play the best you can and then wait to see if your number is picked from the hat. ;)
  7. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    >>The British Open abandoned points a couple of years ago and only gives positions
    >>in order of merit.

    In the "olden days" only the on-stage placings and scores at the Open were anounced on the day.

    Other bands representatives had to queue up outside the controllers room and were taken in one at a time and whispered their own point-score - you weren't allowed to be told other bands scores so everyone used to wait around outside the room to compare scores with each other (and guess the scores of bands who didn't want to know their points or wouldn't tell anyone) to try to sort out the order, and in particular to work out the relegation spots, which weren't officially announced till some days later.

    I seem to remember that some years ago some research was carried out by playing recordings of several performances of a testpiece to different adjudicators (including one performance which was inserted twice) to see what degree of agreement the results showed. I think the general finding, unsurprisingly, was that you usually get one or two performances which obviously stand out at top or bottom of the ranking, and that in between pretty much anything can happen.

    As to the original question - for most contests there isn't really a set of points for individual areas (unlike for instance various competitive 'performance sports' - ice dance, diving, etc - where there can be set marks for technical merit, execution and overall performance etc., and indeed unlike the marks allocation for grade examinations). Adjudicators have their own methods as suggested for subtracting 'marks' for mistakes or adding bonusses for particularly outstanding playing etc but at the end of the day most contest results are highly subjective.

    There are a few places where this does not apply.

    Most contests are held with the adjudicators 'in cameo' so that only the music can count towards the marks. However some, notably 'march contests' and 'entertainment contests' also have turnout / deportment prizes, and in particular entertainment contests may have a more structured approach to scoring, with separate points for e.g. march, solo, deportment, program entertainment value and technical merit as well as for general performance.

    Finally there comes the somewhat more controversial practice of 'deductions'. This may vary from a vague comment such as that in Bramwell Tovey's score for the Open that "Basses should be penalised for playing 8ve Basso" through to more specific penalties such as the time penalties applied at many solo and entertainment contests. Some contests stipulate that, e.g. a band should be penalised 3 points for every minute over the allotted 25 minute spot that they play - though how this fits in with the previously suggested "sort out the rankings first and then allocate marks" approach is anyone's guess.
  8. backrowbloke

    backrowbloke Member

    Simply because music is not a science - there is no hard and fast 'right' or 'wrong'. The second adjudicator simply had a different opinion as to how the music should be interpreted.

    It is the same with all music, not just brass bands. When two people listen to a musical performance, they will interpret the music differently. Neither of them is right, neither of them is wrong...they are just different.

    Would you say that a performance that raised the hairs on your neck but was strewn with slight errors was better / worse than one that was note perfect, but un-inspiring?

    This is why many of us do not like contesting & prefer to perform :)
  9. Rapier

    Rapier Supporting Member

    Which reinforces my views. Contests are like buying a Lottery ticket, but with only a few tickets in the draw. :)
  10. ronnie_the_lizard

    ronnie_the_lizard Active Member

    Just found an adjudicators report here which I thought fitted in very well with this thread.

    Piece: Music of the Spheres, Sparke
    Adjudicator: Sparke !

    Comments: .........You have it 100% right .........I doubt it can be played better

    Points: 98/100 ! :confused: :rolleyes:
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Remember that the bands in the Belgian champiuonship had to play more than one piece. (The first piece seemed to let them down a little!)

    post-edit:- :oops: ... (must try to wake up first!). Apologies! The comments are only for MofTS. Maybe Mr. Sparke doesn't expect any band to play it perfectly! I gather that when he used the term 'definitive', he was referring to the conductor's interpretation.
  12. dickyg

    dickyg Member

    The adjudicator's job is to decide which band sounds like the best band on the day. I think that one thing that is different at the majority of contests between the audience, performers (us!) and the adjudicator is that they can't see. They have to rely on their ears so all sorts of wierd things must come into play like acoustics of the hall, position of the box, distractions from within the hall etc. Also, I've always felt that with one adjudicator judging a contest - if they are writing something, are they actually able to listen carefully as well?
    Would this explain that sometimes you get remarks that seem to miss huge chunks of your playing that either contain great stuff or monumental errors?

    one final point from what has turned into a bit of a rant!!

    These days, all GCSE and A level music performance exams have strict criteria for judging performances and allocating points/grades to ensure fairness, even Ofsted has to show exactly what it is judging you on.

    Why don't brass band adjudicators? (or do they?)

    I'm trying to think how I would explain to a parent at a school that I would not/could not explain how I was going to mark their work, thay should take an important exam without knowing what the examiner was looking for or how the marking was worked out and they shouldn't really be asking me anyway!!!
  13. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I don't see a contradiction here. 100% right could refer to interpretative things like the tempi, dynamics, etc, whereas there could have been two points deducted for many things that are not a part of the interpretive part of the performance. For example, a bit of bad intonation, a split note, etc.

    To me, the real issue in adjudication is that there are two competing standards - technical perfection (playing everything "right", as noted) and musical interpretation (the "artistic" part). A performance which is absolutely perfect technically will not, in most cases, be the winning performance, because the soul of music is in the artistry, not in the technical details.

    The problem with a numerical mark, or any kind of "deduction" system is that it is very difficult to quantify artistry. And you have to deal with the problem of whether a deduction is absolute or can be overcome by excellence in another area of a performance. For example, the principal cornet splits a note at the beginning of the test piece - deduction. But later in the piece the same player does an absolutely beautiful job on a very difficult solo passage - better than any other soloist in the contest. Does the great performance negate the deduction, or is the score permanently damaged because of the earlier mistake?

  14. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Having spoken to a well respected player who has dabbled in Adjudicating, he gave me an answer that seemed to be the standard for all adjudicators. Each performance, would for instance start off with a score of champ section 185. Each band can get a better mark or a worse mark, and of course the exact mark. They wouldn't be able to do it like a grade exam, because, one band might play a faultless rendition, which should offer full marks, whilst another band may do the same, and interpret the music in a better way, gaining 102%.
  15. horn__blower

    horn__blower Member

    Interesting thread, and on a subject that has had me puzzled for a while too.

    the quote about being 100% right, then getting 98/100 reminded me of an essay a mate did once at uni - the comments were great, nearly perfect etc etc etc. but she only got 71%. wierd!!

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