Does playing loud wreck brass bands?

Do we play too loud?


  • Total voters
    72

Dave Payn

Active Member
I think that even some of our top bands still play too loud from time to time and quality of sound and intonation do suffer, even with the best bands, on these occasions. Then what happens is that some lower section bands try to emulate this and end up coming up a cropper. I think it's also true that whilst the top bands are clearly BETTER at playing p and pp, most of the accidents in a contest performance particularly, will occur at these points in a piece. Problem being I feel that whilst a cornet can sound LIKE a trumpet, it cannot, simply due to its design, sound the SAME as a trumpet, but a few cornet players seem to think it can! This means that those intstruments with upward pointing bells play louder to accomodate and sometimes the results are quite brazen.

Just my take! ;-)
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
Dave Payn said:
Problem being I feel that whilst a cornet can sound LIKE a trumpet, it cannot, simply due to its design, sound the SAME as a trumpet,

For which we are all truly thankful :roll:
 

Giohorn

New Member
I think that any band that cannot sustain its sound or balance is in danger of becoming "wrecked".

There are bands that suffer from balance and have some very strong players and some not so strong. This will create an unbalanced sound, when these bands play a full FF, the stronger players will be over the top, so its not down to pure decibels but to balance of each player and each section of the band.

Any bands can play loud, but played correctly will sound brilliant and at the right moment as the music calls for enhance any performance.

To answer your question, my answer is yes.....only if not balanced and controlled by the conductor!! :roll:
 

johnflugel

Active Member
Giohorn said:
, my answer is yes.....only if not balanced and controlled by the conductor!! :roll:

Good point, but the conductor can only ask and work towards this...ultimately it is the players responsibility to do it.
 

mikelyons

Supporting Member
johnflugel said:
Good point, but the conductor can only ask and work towards this...ultimately it is the players responsibility to do it.

But if you are going to ignore your conductor... :shock:
 

Aidan

Active Member
PeterBale said:
Equally, the best bands are able to produce a very big sound whilst keeping it under control, and sometimes the problems come when lesser mortals try to emulate them, but end up over-blowing instead.
yup.. what he said :)

so...
Does playing loud wreck brass bands?
no...
loud uncontrolled playing does though
 

lynchie

Active Member
Giohorn said:
the stronger players will be over the top, so its not down to pure decibels but to balance of each player and each section of the band.

Just to be pedantic... the stronger players will probably have the sense to balance with those around them... the more bloody minded, loud players will be over the top...
 

Dave Payn

Active Member
lynchie said:
Giohorn said:
the stronger players will be over the top, so its not down to pure decibels but to balance of each player and each section of the band.

Just to be pedantic... the stronger players will probably have the sense to balance with those around them... the more *beep* minded, loud players will be over the top...

Absolutely, or at least will have the ability to balance... ;-)
 

DublinBass

Supporting Member
To sum up the points I agree with from the other posts...

As long as the group and individuals played controlled, in-tune and well balanced they should play as loud (or as soft) as they can and the music calls for. I think it is easy to agree that playing controlled, in tune and well-balanced are some of the biggest challenges groups have trying to reach the fffs and the ppps. Dynamic contrast makes music exciting, not just playing loud.
 

Vickitorious

Active Member
As long as the sound is controlled and not raucus and over blown then bands can play amazing when they're loud. It's when it gets unbalanced that it starts to get dodgey.
 

Maestro

Active Member
I was always taught that when dynamics are at their most ie ff+ or pp-, then they should mean play as loud/soft as you can, NOT as loud/soft as you can't.
Play meaning exactly that and not 'blarting'
 

bassboy

New Member
DO BRASS BAND PLAY TOO LOUD

I think hearing a band playing with a loud quality sound is superb but all too often lower section and some championship section bands try to play too loud and the quality of the sound dissapears and that is not good. Band have to play within their limits and if that means playing a little quieter to get a quality sound then so be it.
 
Yes, i think some of us do play too loud, to a certain extent. However, if we all never played above an mp how good would that sound?? lol there's a difference between 'over blowing' and 'playing loud'. If you listen to any half decent top band then you'll hear the sound is pure and balanced, the troms are not blastin they're guts out, neither are the cornets. When an FF is reached, either in the start, middle or end of a peace you'll always find most players are all at the same volume... a real blend of brass is heard.. almost like an organ. Anyone heard the end chord of peter graham's 'summon the dragon' from call of the cossacks by the black dyke band? Well you'll hear that they are all blending in with each other, abslutely no over blowing by anyone... Its like an Organ. The sop blows a tiny bit harder to come through but the overall balance is sublime. THATS how a band SHOULD sound when playing an FF :wink: AND, if your band is made up by some players that cant blow loud and make a nice sound at the same time... then either tell them to stop or come down to the volume that sounds the best for them :!: :) good advice for any band
 

drummerboy

Member
2ndcornetvertuoso said:
lol there's a difference between 'over blowing' and 'playing loud'.

As has been said :p

2ndcornetvertuoso said:
If you listen to any half decent top band then you'll hear the sound is pure and balanced, the troms are not blastin they're guts out, neither are the cornets. When an FF is reached, either in the start, middle or end of a piece you'll always find most players are all at the same volume...

Shouldn't all the players be at the same volume? That's how it's balanced

2ndcornetvertuoso said:
Anyone heard the end chord of peter graham's 'summon the dragon' from call of the cossacks by the black dyke band? Well you'll hear that they are all blending in with each other, abslutely no over blowing by anyone... Its like an Organ.

Hhmmm, it's not bad, but for volume and balance try the end of the March from the Pines of Rome, the BBS recording.

2ndcornetvertuoso said:
AND, if your band is made up by some players that cant blow loud and make a nice sound at the same time... then either tell them to stop or come down to the volume that sounds the best for them :!: :) good advice for any band

Or show/tell them how to not overblow. :p
 

blue euph

Member
If the band (or any ensemble for that matter) build the dynamic with a balanced pyramid, that would solve some of the problems. With the pyramid, the tubas are on the bottom and lead the dynamics, the euphs, trombones, baritones, tenor horns, flugel, 3rd cornet in the middle and upper cornets and soprano on the top.

Ultimately, the conductor needs to stress the balance and make sure the louds don't get too loud and strident sounding. The musicians will have to listen for balance, be team players and listen to the conductor. One of the things that separate a good large ensemble from the average is the ability for them to play all dynmanic levels and keeping the balance in check.

When I was in the brass band of minot, monday rehersals were harsh on me as my section leader couldn't make it for rehersals. The cornet section (particularly the 1st and 2nds) seem to puropsely try to take advantage of the situation and try to bury me despite the conductor telling them to back off a bit.
 
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