View Full Version : Test Piece?
Ok, so my band are trying to pick a new test piece for our next contest (Ebbw Vale, 8th May). We have gone through a whole bunch of stuff, but what I would like to know is......What constitutes a test piece? Is it length or does it have to have movements? Sorry if this has been covered before, please post a link if it has!
IMO you should be looking for music that the band can play well, and that gives opportunity for your soloists to shine as well as demonstrating good ensemble playing. It doesn't matter whether it is one continual piece or split into movements, and the duration isn't vital, although you don't tend to find many pieces chosen that are less than about ten minutes in length. Equally, it doesn't have to be music originally written for use in competitions, as has been shown recently in the use of several items from the Salvation Army repertoire.
St Agnes are playing an arrangement of, "Rule Britannia," (can't remember who by at the moment!) at the CBBA contest at the end of this month. I thought it was quite an, "un-test-piece-like," choice at first, but hopefully it'll work for them!
I can remember once though at the CBBA contest, the opening remarks of the adjudication being, "this is not a suitable test piece..." Unfortunately I can't remember what we played, but it was our debut in the third section in 1999...needless to say we went straight back down!
Don't do what my band did once many years ago and enter an "Own selection" contest and played "Mancini Magic". Thew adjudicator wasn't that impressed!!!
I agree with Peter choose something that shows off the band and your soloists/strengths as well as a piece that the band will enjoy working on. some contests fall just after the areas so it's tempting to play the area piece especially if you 've done well. Trouble is the band may be bored working on it again and different adjudicator etc...
Good luck and enjoy what you play.
Always try and entertain the adjudicater - it may not be an entertaining contest, but if you pick something he enjoys listening to (rather than something stupidly technical with no music in it) then hes more likely to remember you at the end :)
IMO that means choose things which are nice to listen to, yet still suitably difficult to play (and for some reason these tend to be older testpieces, arent always though).
A good way of thinking, is to look at area/pontins/any-other-set-contest pieces from past years - in your sections and (if you feel confident) - the one above, and choose one you LIKE (because if you all like it, then the chance the adjudicater will is greater also surely?). The reason I say look at past set pieces, is that they give you a suitable idea of the standard which is reasonable to expect in that section.
SCABA publish a list of suggested test pieces, graded by section. Bear in mind that since SCABA don't run a 4th section, most bands are listed about a full section higher in SCABA gradings than nationally. Also bear in mind that the list is only very approximate - most SCABA 3rd section bands (generally 4th section or ungraded nationally) would struggle with Laudate Dominum, for example.
Listed here (http://www.scaba.co.uk/)
I think test pieces have to include soloists, and be in the form fast-slow-fast, but I think as long as both tempos are covered you're ok with anything. Shine as the light is pushing it, but seems to be successful.
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