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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Jess Haney » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:09 pm

TheGoyWonder wrote:Brass band has much bigger problems:
1. Finding competent percussionists. Usually they still need to be spoonfed every single thing. And even then, will routinely overplay and overpower the band, or set a high "noise floor" of unmuffled miscellaneous arrhythmic ringing that ruins all nuance.
2. Lameduck sound of tenor horn vs french horn, and to a lesser extent cornet vs trumpet.
3. monodynamics: in concert band, at least instruments come in and out and dynamics can be fairly automatic. But brass band is kitchen-sink most of the time. and the arrangements don't help, often saying "ff" forever...which might even be okay if the music had obvious peaks but it tends to be either stubbornly rigid or rambling in form, not flowing.
4. Goofy euro arrangements...better or worse, they just aren't in the language of American wind playing. weird foreign feel.
5. Composers...there's not really an answer to Reed, McBeth, Tichelli, Hazo ect.



I feel that your perspective on banding is with a single perspective or misguided. I could say the same for some of the community orchestras I have played in but just like orchestras, brass bands vary by level of musicality and the execution of playing by the players. There are great arrangements and composers in every genre. Great brass bands are on par with any professional music organization around the world. It sounds like your experience was not positive.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby ken k » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:17 pm

Leland wrote:Might it matter more that all the section's instruments are pointing the same direction?

This came to mind as I watched this year's AFTEE performance at the Army workshop. I'm guessing that the upper euph parts were towards my right (audience right, stage left, that is) which meant that they were pointing to the back of the stage. Their perceived dynamics, then, were half as loud as what was coming out of the euphs who were pointing towards the audience.

This might not apply to the back row of a brass band, though, since nobody is pointed towards the audience. Hmm.

I noticed the same thing.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby ken k » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:27 pm

Candidly,
I received quite a few p.m.'s (a couple of years ago) when there was a discussion of attempting to form a pro-level brass band vs. a pro-level brass choir, with (at least, in the USA) the "brass choir" choice being the overwhelming recommendation. Professional players (who carve out time to do the same thing for fun as they normally do for remuneration) really aren't "into" competing, and certainly not into hitting to road to do so.[/quote]

The Lancaster Brass Band is a unique group. WE do a series of 3 - 4 concerts in the spring and then another series in the late summer. WE have three or four rehearsals for each series. They pay us for travel but not really for playing.
The group is made up of mostly musicians with degrees, not all however; Many are school music teachers, college teachers or retired teachers. Membership is from about a 80-100 mile radius of Lancaster. So some people travel pretty far to play. I drive 45 miles. Some of us car pool. So the musicianship is pretty high. (I can honestly say it is one of the best groups I play in) But due to that type of schedule, we are not necessarily the most authentic when it comes to the traditional British Brass Band sound. But we do have alot of fun. Where else can you get to play with 27 other fine brass players.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby GC » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:55 pm

bloke wrote:yep...
British brass bands should rethink seating (imo), and place the (again: 3+1 compensating BBb and Eb tubas) stage right rather than "along the back".

In the typical BBB seating, NO instrument points to the front except sometimes the Flugelhorn.

Honestly, I've long wondered what it would be like to put tenors/flugel, euph/bar, basses on stage right (3 rows) to let them point a bit toward the front, all cornets on stage left, trombones/percussion in the center (trombones facing the back wall optional).
Of course, left-pointing tubas would need to be on stage left behind the cornets . . .
Last edited by GC on Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby hup_d_dup » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:53 am

ken k wrote:Candidly,
I received quite a few p.m.'s (a couple of years ago) when there was a discussion of attempting to form a pro-level brass band vs. a pro-level brass choir, with (at least, in the USA) the "brass choir" choice being the overwhelming recommendation. Professional players (who carve out time to do the same thing for fun as they normally do for remuneration) really aren't "into" competing, and certainly not into hitting to road to do so.


Although there is a tradition of competition among British brass bands, there is no reason that any brass band needs to compete. I play in two bands, neither of which competes, not do we have any desire (as far as I am aware) to do so in the future.

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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby tclements » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:44 am

I know this just may be sacrilegious to many brass band folks, but my tuba section is:

BBb's: PT6, PT6P, Mirafone Bruckner
Eb's: Gronitz PF125, OLD Meinl Weston Model 32

Sounds pretty good to me!
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby bloke » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:58 am

tclements wrote:I know this just may be sacrilegious to many brass band folks, but my tuba section is:

BBb's: PT6, PT6P, Mirafone Bruckner
Eb's: Gronitz PF125, OLD Meinl Weston Model 32

Sounds pretty good to me!


I'd wager that it sounds like a million bucks.

That having been said, the British brass band genre (with it's uniforms, literature, rules, sound, competitions, etc.) is (yes) nearly as much a thing to see as it is a thing to hear. Marching bands use Bb sousaphones - not shoulder-mount contras. Drum-and-bugle corps use shoulder-mount contras, and not sousaphones. British style brass bands (key word: "British") ...at least to me...should be using British-style top-action Eb and BBb tubas.

Even most American concert (brass/woodwind) wind bands and community orchestras seem to mostly be locked into a specific uniform: a black tuxedo with a black bow ties...oddly: the old-school equestrian "groomsman's" formal uniform... ...whereas professional symphony orchestras tend to wear "tails" (abbreviated long coat) in the evenings and black-suit-long-tie in the afternoons.

Uniforms aside, wind bands and symphony orchestras are much more liberal - both in their composer-varied instrumentation and in their styles of instruments - than are the genres of ensembles listed in the first paragraph.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby Liberty Mo » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:56 am

We have an excellent brass band in the area, the Fountain City Brass Band. The last time I saw them, they were using 2 Bb and 2 Eb tubas. I believe they were matching Besson 994 and 980 series. This group competes internationally, which may be why they use very traditional instrumentation (Soprano, Flugels, Tenors, Baritones, Cornets, etc).
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby ken k » Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:58 pm

hup_d_dup wrote:
ken k wrote:Candidly,
I received quite a few p.m.'s (a couple of years ago) when there was a discussion of attempting to form a pro-level brass band vs. a pro-level brass choir, with (at least, in the USA) the "brass choir" choice being the overwhelming recommendation. Professional players (who carve out time to do the same thing for fun as they normally do for remuneration) really aren't "into" competing, and certainly not into hitting to road to do so.


Although there is a tradition of competition among British brass bands, there is no reason that any brass band needs to compete. I play in two bands, neither of which competes, not do we have any desire (as far as I am aware) to do so in the future.

Hup

actually I did not write that that was a quote from a bloke post....
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby PMeuph » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:31 am

TheGoyWonder wrote:Brass band has much bigger problems:
1. Finding competent percussionists. Usually they still need to be spoonfed every single thing. And even then, will routinely overplay and overpower the band, or set a high "noise floor" of unmuffled miscellaneous arrhythmic ringing that ruins all nuance.
2. Lameduck sound of tenor horn vs french horn, and to a lesser extent cornet vs trumpet.
3. monodynamics: in concert band, at least instruments come in and out and dynamics can be fairly automatic. But brass band is kitchen-sink most of the time. and the arrangements don't help, often saying "ff" forever...which might even be okay if the music had obvious peaks but it tends to be either stubbornly rigid or rambling in form, not flowing.
4. Goofy euro arrangements...better or worse, they just aren't in the language of American wind playing. weird foreign feel.
5. Composers...there's not really an answer to Reed, McBeth, Tichelli, Hazo ect.


1 is also common in the community band world. Most percussionists don't end up playing music for fun.
2. Agreed, although I think part of the problem stems that both those instruments are treated like doubles and not like main instruments. Most of the British cornet players don't play trumpet on the side in other bands or quintets, they just play cornet and have for most of their playing time.
3. Also true in concert bands (yeah I see the point that a 24 piece brass band has less room for layered dynamics when compared to a 45 piece community band, but it's the same struggle.

4 & 5 - Obviously, there is no American brass band culture. It's obviously all going to be different. But what about Peter Graham and Philip Sparke?
Last edited by PMeuph on Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby PMeuph » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:45 am

To answer OPs question:

In the ideal world, there'd be a brass band where the players are dedicated and in it for the long haul, and a section of matching tubas would be there. Two EEbs (Maybe 17 in bells?), and two large BBbs. But I doubt you'll ever see that in most bands around here.

...Not to mention, real cornet players (as opposed to repurposed trumpet players) and real tenor horn players (Not using those goofy french horn mouthpiece adapters).

That would make the ensemble sound more like a brass band and not a brass ensemble.

Both genre are distinct and impressive when well played. The obvious advantage of a brass band is that given it's size and number of players(24) as opposed to a brass ensemble (10, 12 with perc?) it makes it easier to rehearse when your missing a couple of people. Its also easier to find lots of repertoire at every difficulty level. There's quite a bit of brass ensemble music out there, but most of the good arrangements require 10 good players. Brass band music makes it easier to hide several other players who might not be the greatest players but are reliable and nice people.

In other words, brass band is more suitable for community banding, while brass ensemble is more of a pro thing.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby GC » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:20 am

Brass ensembles of this type are also very much a college thing.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby bloke » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:45 am

The "brass choir" (more or less: a typical symphony orchestra brass section) thing (likely) is a much easier thing to put together in the USA, and repertoire is neither lacking nor difficult to create (via transcribing).
Even (so-called) "professional" players seem as though (more often/more of them) they would be more interested to assemble "for fun" to play some of the brass choir literature.
Even the (very English indeed) Philip Jones group (when expanded from a quintet) never expanded to a "British brass band", and only to a "brass choir".

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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby eeflattuba » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:10 pm

As the op of this thread I am pleased to so many replies. It shows that british brass banding is alive and well in this part of the world regardless of what kind of tuba you use.I am sure all would agree that it is challenging music to play for the tuba.I have played in a variety of ensembles over the years and have not found a friendlier group of folks to play with.Life long friendships have been made and there are a few who I view as part of my family.If you have not played with a british brass band, give it a shot.
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Re: british brass band tuba choice

Postby eeflattuba » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:04 pm

For the record I have used my besson 981 ee flat tuba in very good professional brass ensemble as well as a British brass band. Versatile tuba
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