NW Areas Result - What happened? #Regs2016

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
I wasn't there; I was several thousand miles away with a big pond in between. Also, I'm very definitely not an adjudicator! That said, I've read through 4BarsRest comments and this thread and a couple of points jump out. It appears that Wingates changed the seating format and that this significantly impacted their sound and apparently 4BR didn't much care for it. But, without the visual aspect, it appears that the adjudicators simply liked what they heard! Music is very subjective and it's the same whenever music is played in a "testing" environment, whether that be at a local community music festival or in a championship section contest. It's simply impossible to remove the subjective aspect from contesting. Finally, here we have a result that doesn't have the "usual suspects" coming one, two and three and still the adjudicators get trampled on! And I suggest, like it or not, that is banding from a contesting perspective. Nobody can suggest a good alternative because there simply isn't one!
 

Tom-King

Well-Known Member
In amongst the rest of what locals in my part of the world call "squit" there is one potentially valid point

Any other form of arbiter is subjected to quality control. Football referees, tennis umpires, judges - they are all monitored on an ad-Hoc basis to ensure that they are coming up with the correct decisions. Any repeated errors are dealt with through training or removal from approved lists.

Who, however adjudicates our adjudicators? An easy method would be to have a 3rd person sitting in the tent - so they get the same perspective - who can then ask the judges to justify why they've gone with a result if its potentially contentious.

Adjudicators would still have the ability to do their job, and providing they could justify it then the checker will "go with it". However it may possibly stamp out supposed favouritism.

The downsides are costs - who bears that? And also numbers. For example in a couple of weeks time there are 4 area contests going on simultaneously. Who will judge the judges?
How independent will they truly be?

I don't mean this to be confrontational but I'm not actually sure your examples are relevant - football referee's, tennis umpires and judges (I presume you mean this in a legal context?) all have quite strict rules/laws and frameworks by which to judge.
Our adjudicators judge on a much more subjective level, given that they're almost making their own rules as they go along (what they're especially looking out for, how tight to tempo they wish bands to be, how much they prioritise intonation, tightness, etc) - if there are disagreements with your examples on the basis of their interpretations of rules, it's because we actually have access to the rules they're supposed to be judging to.... in the case of adjudications, we don't have this... so we could be judging their judgements by entirely different sets of criteria - then wondering why we're coming to different results - THAT's banding for you, lots of different opinions from different perspectives.
 

Euphman2

Active Member
Never in my life have I replied to one of these but I must say, to whomever you are - how can you be so sure of the results and 'corruption' (if you are a member of Wingates band) as you didn't hear either Leyland or Fairies.

It is a sad world at times when people take pleasure in trying to create bother from behind their computers.

Well played to everybody at the regionals yesterday and best of luck to all who have their contests in the coming weeks.

Adam Taylor (trombone, Wingates Band, dancing in the changing room for both Leyland and Fairies performances pre and post our contribution).
So - WhiteWitch presumably from your comment, you're an adjudicator for one of the other top section areas or an MD in the top section? And you were sitting in direct line with the adjudicators?

If not then how do you know Foden's error count was higher? I appreciate that people often buy study scores to follow at contests, but adjudicators and MDs have put in months of study.

Obviously if you do fall in to the stated group and you've been studying the score for months then fair enough

As for the media, more often or not 4BR and others get their predictions totally wrong. Especially in the lower sections. That's probably because they are sitting in a different area of the hall and hear things differently - and haven't been studying the score for months either
If Whitewitch is who I think she is, your assumptions as to her status as an adjudicator or conductor are erroneous.
As for the rest of my opinion, I saw/heard horrendous (IMHO) results at Pontins when Wingate's were robbed on Paganini Variations, have felt robbed by adjudications since first contesting in 1970, benn astounded by results that went our way when unexpected and about every emotion between those parameters.
Sadly I have always accepted it as part of banding but refuse to give up trying. Kevin Wadsworth's and Alan Hope's comments at the 4th section results yesterday should be maxims for all bandsman
 
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Slider1

Active Member
Well no that's possibly the most simplistic interpretation of my post that you could have chosen to go with. Things are a lot more subtle. And I suspect that you probably have to intelligence to recognise that but wanted to make my post look as ridiculous as possible so you posted a ridiculous reply. Everyone seems to be very well connected and decisions have been made in the past (not just contesting I'm talking about in the wider banding infrastructure) by people with a personal interest in the situation or who are bosom buddies with those who the decisions affect and surprise surprise they have been made in a corrupt way.
Was there a Bar at this Venue?
 

Euphonium Lite

Active Member
If Whitewitch is who I think she is, your assumptions as to her status as an adjudicator or conductor are erroneous.

To be fair, I don’t think she’s an adjudicator either. Sarcasm very difficult to do on here. :)


I don't mean this to be confrontational but I'm not actually sure your examples are relevant - football referee's, tennis umpires and judges (I presume you mean this in a legal context?) all have quite strict rules/laws and frameworks by which to judge.

They are. But having been a (not very good) football referee, I can also tell you that there is a lot of subjective stuff that you’re judged on as well – positioning, speed of reaction, effectiveness of working with other officials (linesmen), and even whether something should have been a yellow or red card. Stuff that you can’t write into a rule book and isn’t necessarily black and white. And I know you’re not being confrontational :)


Our adjudicators judge on a much more subjective level, given that they're almost making their own rules as they go along (what they're especially looking out for, how tight to tempo they wish bands to be, how much they prioritise intonation, tightness, etc) - if there are disagreements with your examples on the basis of their interpretations of rules, it's because we actually have access to the rules they're supposed to be judging to.... in the case of adjudications, we don't have this... so we could be judging their judgements by entirely different sets of criteria - then wondering why we're coming to different results - THAT's banding for you, lots of different opinions from different perspectives.

To a certain extent. Most of the criteria can be found on the AoBBA website and it’s quite prescriptive – tuning, balance, tempo’s are all fairly “OK” or “Not OK”. There is a lot of subjective stuff though, and I appreciate that it is down to opinion – especially where “basics” are usually a given (although quite a few “top section” bands struggle with these sometimes!)

The way I view it, perhaps at area contests and one or two key contests is that a separate (non-binding) adjudication can run alongside. This would never be published but purely used for adjudicator monitoring. Where there is a big discrepancy, then the contest adjudicators can be asked why they ordered the bands as x – if they can justify the result then again fine, but where perhaps they have made a mistake then the judges in question can perhaps undergo more training or monitoring. Similar systems could be used to train and monitor new adjudicators going forward.

The result will never be overturned – because the contest adjudicators word is final – but perhaps it will encourage them to ensure that theyre 100% happy with the result. At the end of the day, area contests are important because qualification, promotion and relegation is at stake – whilst I am not suggesting that anyone is “crooked” perhaps we need a countercheck running to make sure that any problems such as the Wrexham episode don’t ever happen again.
 
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Euphman2

Active Member
To be fair, I don’t think she’s an adjudicator either. Sarcasm very difficult to do on here.




They are. But having been a (not very good) football referee, I can also tell you that there is a lot of subjective stuff that you’re judged on as well – positioning, speed of reaction, effectiveness of working with other officials (linesmen), and even whether something should have been a yellow or red card. Stuff that you can’t write into a rule book and isn’t necessarily black and white. And I know you’re not being confrontational J




To a certain extent. Most of the criteria can be found on the AoBBA website and it’s quite prescriptive – tuning, balance, tempo’s are all fairly “OK” or “Not OK”. There is a lot of subjective stuff though, and I appreciate that it is down to opinion – especially where “basics” are usually a given (although quite a few “top section” bands struggle with these sometimes!)

The way I view it, perhaps at area contests and one or two key contests is that a separate (non-binding) adjudication can run alongside. This would never be published but purely used for adjudicator monitoring. Where there is a big discrepancy, then the contest adjudicators can be asked why they ordered the bands as x – if they can justify the result then again fine, but where perhaps they have made a mistake then the judges in question can perhaps undergo more training or monitoring. Similar systems could be used to train and monitor new adjudicators going forward.

The result will never be overturned – because the contest adjudicators word is final – but perhaps it will encourage them to ensure that theyre 100% happy with the result. At the end of the day, area contests are important because qualification, promotion and relegation is at stake – whilst I am not suggesting that anyone is “crooked” perhaps we need a countercheck running to make sure that any problems such as the Wrexham episode don’t ever happen again.
The adjudicators make their decisions and so have to be 100% certain. This suggestion may cause problems as you may need adjudicators to monitor the adjudication monitors!!!!!
 

Seffblatter

New Member
The system is not void of quality control as it stands. Contest organisers see rogue results, and, if they want to reduce controversy, don't book the adjudicators that produce them. Geoffrey Brand's long and distinguished adjudicatorial career hit an abrupt buffer after the 3-judge discrepancy of the 1998 Masters. Goff Richards didn't take quite such a dent after he placed Dyke 13th at the Yorkshire Area in 2003, but the most high profile stuff thinned out from there on.
These two masters are no longer adjudicating (or, in the latter case, on this astral plane), so citing their two high profile surprises as examples does not feel too harsh. One could pick out currently practising adjudicators that generate audience puzzlement with their results more often than the average, but in the interests of friendliness and tact I'll refrain - it wouldn't add anything to the debate to do so anyhow.

You are arguing for a more rigorous system, one where an explicit review is made of decisions. I think you'd need to at a minimum record each performance of each reviewed contest for later perusal. Certainly one could achieve greater regularity of results by a consistently manned committee appraising them afterwards, and feeding back to judges where and how their judgements were felt to be reasonable. Being a brass band adjudicator is already a stressful, underappreciated, and underpaid job, though - how much critical feedback will judges take before they decide that 'the love of it' is reduced to a point beyond the threshold of enjoyment?

But I think there is quite a fundamental problem with the idea of formalising a busy and potentially expensive review panel - diminishing returns. You might not like "That's banding" as a retort to a result that you find strange, but it is a very to-the-point way of noting that the basic subjectivity of what's being done makes an objective decision in the final analysis not possible.
So you take some already overloaded people and task them with reanalysing a contest's worth of musical data each time someone complains (which, given how band contesting tends to be, would likely be every time a contest section was run). They go through it all again, and declare either basic happiness (in which case the grumbling won't stop) or basic unhappiness (in which case they can feed back to the judge in question, and they can together consider how the judge's methodology might or might not be reasonable). At the end, what have you gained? A very minor increment in overall consistency in the art of band contest adjudication.

But do we even want this? And if we do, are we wise to? What's the ideal? A machine that counts splits and hears bad tuning and ensemble precision? Banding's pursuit of technical perfection is very often undertaken at the expense of musical interestingness, and formalising contesting further only feeds that beast. While I understand totally where you are coming from - if we are going to contest, let us do it as sensibly as we can - I do not think that caring harder about contesting is something that is going to make banding at this point in time more worthwhile.

Thanks for your lengthy and well thought out response, this is the type of discussion that I welcome! Rather than people just thinking I'm causing bother and saying 'That's banding' with a twinkle in their eye.

I know that there are definitely issues with implementing the kind of plan that I suggested - but I think that things should definitely be more rigorous. It's not all black and white and that's the point - this IS banding.. all grey areas.
 

Euphman2

Active Member
The adjudicators make their decisions and so have to be 100% certain. This suggestion may cause problems as you may need adjudicators to monitor the adjudication monitors!!!!!
Further to the above, may I venture that a conductor' interpretation may be subjective but an adjudicator should be objective
 

Tom-King

Well-Known Member
Further to the above, may I venture that a conductor' interpretation may be subjective but an adjudicator should be objective

No, you may not :p

An adjudicator should not be biased on the basis of who is playing (if they know)... In this sense they are objective.

Where their adjudications are concerned, it's not possible for them to be objective judgements, surely?

Surely the only way for them to be objective is for performances to be objectively comparable which they cannot be - there's too much interpretation going on to be able to isolate that variable and take an objective view.

At what point does under/over tempo or insufficient/over-exaggerated dynamic contrasts cease to be interpretation and become fundamentally incorrect (ie: how safe can you play it with dynamics and tempi before you start to lose marks)?

Any surely...
If there were such a thing as an objectively correct interpretation then the best conductors would be compelled to produce this (and if adjudicators are capable of knowing it, certainly plenty of conductors would be too) in order to get the best marks and thus the best placings... and the performances would be much more similar in interpretation than they really turn out to be.
 

Mesmerist

Well-Known Member
I propose a change for you. Each band comes on. Line up each player and lets have a penalty note shoot out. Every single one has to sightread and nail a couple of bars, say with a tricky rhythm and random high notes, on their own, one by one. Points docked for errors from any player. Scores totaled at the end. It would be openly easy to judge. Would it be musical or interesting? No.
I've been on both ends of dodgy results and it didn't feel good winning when we didn't feel we deserved to anymore than losing when we felt we'd done well. I cannot really come up with a solution to the age old complaint. For what it is worth I know of two notable adjudicators who have both said they do usually know who is playing (one said he has never yet been in a box he couldn't see out of) but it does not make any difference as they pride themselves on integrity and genuinely want the most musical performance (in their opinion) to win.
 

Ianroberts

Well-Known Member
Just curious about how many posts have been deleted to protect the famous (oops I meant innocent) ? I've had some absolutely 5 hite placings in contests over the years that many people have disagreed with, yet we have always said "What does he know anyway" and got on with it.

It seems now that dodgy adjudications are only important and need to be discussed in the open when its a " Championship section Band" that feels aggrieved !

Get a grip, get a life and get on with it !

And yes I am out of retirement for this years area hitting things !
 

Euphman2

Active Member
The thing is that your opinion doesn't actually matter. The adjudicators came up with a different result. Thats just banding for you.
If you are so bothered, what are you going to do about it?
Whitewitch's opinion is as valid as anyone else's. However it is banding and for most of us, it is only a hobby!!
 

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