Wrongful use of mutes!!

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by The Cornet King, Oct 18, 2003.

  1. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    Having just read on 4 bars rest their review of Black Dykes performance at RAH they say that 'they hear muted sounds'.

    Why oh why do MD's feel the need to have their players muted when it isn't asked for in the music :?: :?: Surely the whole purpose of using mutes IS NOT necessarily to make a section quieter but to change the sound and texture of a section :!:

    Every time we see a section of music marked pp is that to say we have to automatically reach for our mutes to play quiet???

    I'm sure many MD's are guilty of doing this but i really dont see it necessary, surely the class bands are the ones who can play the extrememly quiet sections open without losing the quality of sound and without having to use mutes.

    What do other people feel about this issue??
  2. James McFadyen

    James McFadyen New Member

    I must say this is the first time I have heard of MD's using mutes when they're not asked for in the score, and your right, the sole reason for the mutes is to change the sound colour.
  3. Railybobs

    Railybobs Member

    The main problem i see is the use of the wrong mutes.

    But being a percussionist I'll just crawl back under my rock.
  4. floral_dance

    floral_dance Member

    I agree with you cornet king and was disappointed when I read 4bars rest write up on black dyke. If they can't play quiet what chance do the rest of us have. :?
  5. Aidan

    Aidan Active Member

    hehe agreed floral...
    pointing in works just as well without changing the timbre
  6. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    It certainly isn't a new thing. i seem to remember at the RAH last year for Masquerade a few of the Euphonium solos were split with the top notes muted!! Some of the Sop players used the same trick as well for the ppp section that was meant to depict the moon rising. :) Needless to say the adjudicators spotted them a mile off.

    I just think it is a shame that MD's do this. It certainly can detract from a good contest prformance.
  7. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    I think mutes are just another tool in the band, but don't like to see top bands using them,

    I went to Brighouse's open rehearsal on Thursday and fo a quiet opening to mov. 3?4? they've got rep playing with a cup mute with a duster draped over?

    This seems to happening more and more
    Are we therefore saying that this is accepted practice, i always thought in a test piece you tried to play whats written on your part!
  8. The Cornet King

    The Cornet King Active Member

    I agree 100% Garry, surely a contest is for bands to play what is written.
    I once played in a contest where one of my fellow bandsman (cornet player) put a flat cap over the bell to try to sound like a flugel!!!!
    Just read on 4 bars rest Ransome put dusters over the bells of the cornets to open the piece. Apparently sounded pretty rough.

    Shouldn't be happening. I rest my case. :roll:
  9. leisa

    leisa Active Member

    do they think they cant tell?? it sounds different!!!!
  10. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Makes a good case for 'open adjudication'. Then the bands that won't or maybe can't play quietly, will then have the points deducted for blatant cheating!!
  11. tewkeshorn

    tewkeshorn Account Suspended

    This is like the part/note swapping business that seems to go on, especially for test pieces.

    e.g. Why make your Euph suffer a long top c when you could just let the horn play a comfortable g, as adjudicators aren't sitting behind your shoulders they can't really see who is playing what as they only get a score and in theory all the right notes are being played, and you really would have to earn your stripes to be able to spot all the note swaps when you can't see the band players or their music (and could be argued that it is disqualifiable or penalised as the band isn't playing what they have presented to the adjudicator unless they have bandsmanship to write on the score what theyre changing).

    Sorry, rant over. I think part swapping is fine in concerts or on recordings to reduce the blips and possible splits that the paying public wouldn't want to hear, but in contest it isn't really showing a true reflection of the how good the band is compared to xyz other bands.
    (I'll be standing on the firing range.... :? )
  12. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    personally, i agree with the pointing in tactic, works better than muting in my opinion.

    but as for part swapping, surely the point of performance is to make music? personally, as long as a band doesn't buy in someone like mark wilkinson for a contest, and it is a true reflection of the bands ability that appears on stage, then i don't mind part swapping, so long as it isn't done right from the start, and players have been given a chance, then i can't see a problem personally. If the 3rd cornet can't play a solo, they will just get worried and will be more likely to mess it up on stage, let the solo cornet play it, or second, or rep, and the pressure is off, and the overall performance will be better. or this could be done vice versa of course ;)
  13. tewkeshorn

    tewkeshorn Account Suspended

    Fair point, but I wasn't really thinking of swapping between sections, more instruments like a top c on euph would be much easier for a horn to play a g or a horns top c could be changed to an f on flugel/cornet etc etc.

    But then again it can easily be explained away as artistic interpretation :)
  14. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    of course,

    but just been thinking about it, surely technically they would all be new arrangements in themselves?
  15. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Surely the whole point of a set piece is so all bands are playing exactly the same thing? As soon as they start mucking about with swapped notes and mutes, which seems to happen at every major contest these days, isn't that a form of cheating?
  16. floral_dance

    floral_dance Member

    it certainly could be interpreted that way. If parts are swapped around etc does it really reflect the ability of the band as a whole or just demonstrate that only some of the band are capable of playing the test piece. I for one would not be happy if my part was taken away from me.
  17. neiltwist

    neiltwist Active Member

    well, I'm undecided on this particular point, but is it cheating, or is it initiative?
  18. Moy

    Moy Active Member

    Talking about mutes.
    I wish I could get mutes that fitted my horn properly.
    Well p***** o** with them either falling out or making me as flat as a pancake. Think our band will need to buy more as we tend to use the trombone mutes so can't really alter the corks at all.
    Sorry but had to get that moan for the day.
  19. midwalesman

    midwalesman Member

    In an ideal world!

    I have read the comments on this matter and I have to say that I agree with the majority of them. Yeah the use of mutes should be for colour alone and not as a compensating device to play quieter. HOWEVER, over the last couple of years certain bands have been using mutes in contests and they have been getting away with it, even winning contests consistently. Now given that people/bands want to win at contests, and they see other bands using mutes to curb the sounds then the obvious thing to do is to learn from these other bands and use the technique yourself. I am puzzled that the tonality of a cornet is radically changed by using mutes (even bucket mutes!) yet it is not picked up on the contest stage and marks are not deducted for style. A band adding a rall or accel in a piece is slated for adding these so where is the consistency from the adjudicators? If adjudicators marked bands down on these then we would see a decline in the bands playing with them! I can also see the view point of those who say that the use of mutes does not matter as long as the music is created, it is after all why we are there (or is it ?)

    As for part swapping, I can also see why bands do this. Again to those watching it may seem like cheating but individual players have strengths and weaknesses and if the player next to you is stronger at a certain aspect that is involved in the context of a solo it is only common sense to swap the parts. However, when the solo is written for one type of instrument then I think it should stay on that instrument, i.e a Euph cadenza going up to a top c held on for 20 seconds at pp should be on Euph and not horn. I do have a problem however with front row players playing back row parts. I suppose depending on the context of which bands we are talking about I believe that back row parts should remain on the back row. The bands who feel the need to alter these parts to front row perhaps show a lack of trust in their back row players ability.

    Anyway, enough. Going to bed!
  20. horn1

    horn1 Member

    I have to say that I disagree with part swapping being classed as cheating. At a contest the point is to play to the best of the bands ability. That is the band as a whole not just individuals. I personally think it's just been sadistic trying to make everyone play all of their part irrespective of whether they can play it or not. Yes everyone should work hard and do their best to improve but sometimes that just isn't possible.