Posted by Leland on June 24, 1999 at 15:30:03:
In Reply to: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Contra with two valves posted by Jon B. on June 23, 1999 at 18:04:39:
Actually, I'm not a band director -- I've just been in school too long...
I have heard some unbelievable stuff from high schools. Even so, that's also the most likely depository for kids who decide that they'd rather be sleeping. College groups, especially the "lower" bands (we have none here; we're too small), will have a few players whose motivation seems to be getting chicks -- I'd swear that's the reason one of our tubists plays! :-)
I'll stand by my "blattiness" statement. To the untrained ear, it's really quite a schock to hear that kind of sound. Trombones played in the same manner seem outlandishly aggressive if they're not surrounded by a similarly playing group. French horns, though... it's SO difficult to get our hornists to play with the necessary size because, from their seat, it sounds so much brighter and edgier than it does out front.
I'm not deriding the FFFF-type tone that Pokorny was displaying. At the required times, on specific notes and with a certain musical intent ("bomb your mom's dog" - style aggression), I use it, and in a section, I'll have them use it too. Music isn't only about being pretty and mellow all the time; some of the musical stories involve some really barbaric acts! We're talking psychotic killers, murders, suicides, pillaging, firebombing, dismemberment,.. anything Stephen King can write and more.
Contrary to academic belief, drum corps isn't about how loud you can play for eleven minutes straight. True, the general playing volume is bumped up a notch, but that's to accomodate the outdoor acoustics and the much louder percussion. The amount of time spent playing around mezzo-forte is much greater than the times when they're blowing with both guns blazing anyway (which itself only happens maybe four times in a show). Much more rehearsal time is spent on shaping, balancing, and articulations -- we even wrote down specific scat-type syllables to be thinking of in a Manhattan Transfer chart we played. Rob McConnell, during the '82 DCI broadcast, commented that the Blue Devils played his "T.O." better than his band ever did.