2009 British Open

Dago

Member
IMHO, I believe most normal banders, if not all, acknowledge that there is a problem with the current system.

In contests where relegation is the outcome, I think it is even more imperative that the adjudicators get the bottom few bands placed accurately as well as the top placed bands. And I'm not just talking about subjective musical taste... I mean those bands that make catastrophic errors like coming in wrong, wildly out of tune etc.

Many is the time I've heard bands who have played badly (as I'm sure we all have heard), yet have managed to be placed higher than those bands with less mistakes? This is one bit of contesting I just do not understand...
It never fails to amaze me the number of people who believe that the adjudicator only cares about the top six placings and doesn't give a thought to the others. The adjudicators I have met have been passionate about their art, caring just as much about the winners as the bands placed at the lower end of the scale. I am sure that adjudicators are well aware of the implications of putting a band last and don't take this as lightly as some suggest.

You talk about wrong entries, intonation etc.., of course all these elements are in the mix, but it really is the overall picture created - the 'performance'. In many instances a performance which creates atmosphere and stirs the emotions is far, far better than a clinical rendition that merely reproduces the notes on the page, even if not note perfect in every way.

You say there is a problem with the current system but suggest no remedy (like numerous others). Why not go to your next association meeting and discuss what system you feel would be an adequate replacement?
 

Darth_Tuba

Active Member
I quite liked the idea that one adjudicator listens for the top 6 and another for the bottom 6. As promotion and relegation are very important in brass banding it would make sense to give as much attention to the bottom bands as the top.
Would this work though? Have a look at the Masters results for 1998 when there were three judges in different boxes. Ransomes got a 1st and a 20th out of 21 bands. Can you relegate the winners? :) Unlikely to happen... but it can!
 

Super Ph

Member
I think it could work better if the system was a bit cleverer than "add the scores together".

Bands achieving at least one good result should be guaranteed a mid table at least, and this could improve the contest for listeners if the worst bands were motivated to put in an interesting performance that caught the ear of one judge (rather than playing a safe performance and hoping for obscurity)

Likewise the band that gets 1st, 1st, nowhere should still probably win (unless another band achieves 1st, 2nd, 2nd).
 
You talk about wrong entries, intonation etc.., of course all these elements are in the mix, but it really is the overall picture created - the 'performance'. In many instances a performance which creates atmosphere and stirs the emotions is far, far better than a clinical rendition that merely reproduces the notes on the page, even if not note perfect in every way.
This is a difficult one, as what you say makes perfect sense but I also think it is part of the problem - in my opinion there is just too much emphasis given to how the adjudicator thinks a piece should be played. A band can give a technically brilliant performance that wows the audience, but if their interpretation leaves the adjudicator cold then it will inevitably come nowhere. A recent example of this is Leyland's performance at the Area (although I have to admit to relying on hearsay for this, as I was in the bar pretty much straight after coming off stage).

I like the idea of splitting the points 50/50 - half 'technical merit' judged (and justified) against pre-defined criteria, and half 'artistic impression', which could be entirely at the discretion of the adjudicator(s). In fact I like the idea so much I suggested it in one of the Area threads back in March, here, and Thirteen Ball has echoed similar ideas in another of the recent Open threads.

I think it would be a viable solution to making the adjudication process more transparent and measurable, which is what many people are asking for.
 
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brasscrest

Active Member
I'm not sure 50/50 is the correct split - perhaps two-thirds artistic and one-third technical would be better? One judge "dedicated" to listening for technical imperfections and the other two focusing on the artistic aspects of the performance.
 

The Wherryman

Active Member
Having had to look into the disabilities act myself recently I believe IF one of the adjudicators does wear a hearing aid which allows him to have normal hearing and therefore able to do the job as good as anyone else...
Much has been said in this thread about adjudicators' musical backgrounds and abilities. While those attributes are important, any adjudicator forms his/her opinion from what he/she hears.

It is a fact that, as one ages, the range of tones that can be heard diminishes. I recently had to undergo hearing tests and learned that I could hear sounds in certain pitches but not in others, but I am by no means deaf.

Is there any test that adjudicators undergo, to ensure that they can hear a full range of pitches? Perhaps the "ageism" points have some relevance in this respect.
 

brasscrest

Active Member
A point against hearing aids is that most of the advanced hearing aids available today boost certain frequencies preferentially or incorporate other "noise-reduction" technology. So what's heard through the hearing aid might not accurately reflect the performance. It would be analogous to listening to a recorded performance played back via an equalizer.

I've never researched the UK disabilities law, but in the US physical limitations on jobs are permissible provided that it can be proved that it would affect an essential part of the job performance - vision standards for pilots, for example. I would think that a hearing standard for a music adjudicator would be permissible under that standard.
 

Mesmerist

Well-Known Member
Perhaps it could be adjudicated in two parts - the first round as normal - adjudicator(s) in the box marking as he/she feels fit and all performances on the day being recorded then gone through, perhaps in a different order and maybe several times and allocated marks by the same or a different adjudicator. Only problem with this would be the results would not be given on the day. Not much different to the associated board exams. At least all bands could enjoy the bar afterwards still with the anticipation of a good result. What do you think? Would this be a more fair system?
 

brasscrest

Active Member
Interesting idea. But what happens if something goes wrong with the recording? For example, the equipment fails to record one or more of the bands? Or a microphone or other component fails part-way through a performance, altering the quality of the recording?
 

KMJ Recordings

Supporting Member
Interesting idea. But what happens if something goes wrong with the recording? For example, the equipment fails to record one or more of the bands? Or a microphone or other component fails part-way through a performance, altering the quality of the recording?
Or, heaven forbid, someone changes the balance ;)
 

Dave1

Member
Why do we contest at all - to pit ourselves against others to see who is best. BECAUSE WE WANT TO
How do we determine who is best - we have a judge or judges
Do we always agree with them - NO
Does anyone always agree with them - NO
Will we ever agree with them - only when we win !?!

You see, we want the best, most eminent and respected judges at our contest BUT we still disagree with them some of the time.
We want new young adjudicators but we will have a go that they don't have the experience, especially at area contests where promotions and relegations come into play (and for my money we have had some of these in the past few years)
Well known players who retire from playing do not just happen to make good adjudicators BUT they could if they are allowed to start off at the bottom and learn the trade.

We could use video and then analyse each performance and then come up with a result BUT we would moan beacuse we want our results NOW. There have been enough posts on the amount of time it takes to get results under the present system.
The point is that we will never be happy, just like in sports unless we are all winning and we all like what is being said about us.

Contesting is something that was created by bands for bands and as many have said before, you don't need to do it. There are many very happy and "successful" non-contesting bands out there who play for all of the right reasons but human nature causes us to want pit ourselves against others and when that happens there will be winners and losers.

We're off to Harrogate next weekend and I would dearly love to win - will I, don't know. Will I be absolutely gutted if we come last - yes. And will i blame someone else for that - most probably :)
 

The Wherryman

Active Member
We're off to Harrogate next weekend and I would dearly love to win - will I, don't know. Will I be absolutely gutted if we come last - yes. And will i blame someone else for that - most probably :)
Aaah, but if Carlsberg made brass bands....;)
 
I quite liked the idea that one adjudicator listens for the top 6 and another for the bottom 6. As promotion and relegation are very important in brass banding it would make sense to give as much attention to the bottom bands as the top.
Utter madness.
 

MoominDave

Well-Known Member
If the middle placings mattered, then you would do it differently.

I think the idea would need a lot of refinement to make it work, but I don't think that it's fundamentally unsound. Commenting "Utter madness" without leaving any reasoning isn't very helpful...
 

brassneck

Active Member
If the middle placings mattered, then you would do it differently.

I think the idea would need a lot of refinement to make it work, but I don't think that it's fundamentally unsound. Commenting "Utter madness" without leaving any reasoning isn't very helpful...
There was a format that I found ages ago covering most aspects of performance criteria which can also be scaled. I've still to see a more comprehensive and musically based set of parameters ...

http://www.cmeabaysection.org/adjudicationcriteria.pdf
 
If the middle placings mattered, then you would do it differently.

I think the idea would need a lot of refinement to make it work, but I don't think that it's fundamentally unsound. Commenting "Utter madness" without leaving any reasoning isn't very helpful...
IF the middle placings mattered...? They all matter, relegation issue or not.

Why can't we trust three judges to come up with an consensus, and accept that from time to time, some might disagree with them.

Yes, ask the question about those who are picked to judge, review new blood, embrace new ideas, but if you think any system can elimante subjectivity and find the perfect result, then you won't find it....because there is no perfect result!
 

brassneck

Active Member
Simon Preshom said:
... but if you think any system can elimante subjectivity and find the perfect result, then you won't find it....because there is no perfect result!
That's the nature of art ... subjectivity! But ... most can agree that there are technical aspects of musical performance that can be assessed clearly. The difficulty is balancing the level of musicianship (including reading by MD) shown against these basic principals.
 

Dave1

Member
That's the nature of art ... subjectivity! But ... most can agree that there are technical aspects of musical performance that can be assessed clearly. The difficulty is balancing the level of musicianship (including reading by MD) shown against these basic principals.
And therein lies the root of this whole debate which CANNOT be solved because one man or more will "like" something better than another. Unless ever musical instruction on a score is to be followed exactly you cannot take away the interpretation aspect and someone will always like it that bit slower or faster etc. I guess that's what's called music eh??
 
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