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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby bloke » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:59 am

Strings, if they choose or are instructed to do so, can take much more time to attack than brass, because they can start their strings vibrating before the sound is actually audible to others.
The only way to match those attacks is to (even more than "air") develop extraordinary e̶m̶b̶o̶u̶c̶h̶u̶r̶e̶ lip control.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby MaryAnn » Mon Jun 11, 2018 3:39 pm

paulver wrote:Boy!!!! Am I glad that someone brought this up!!!

There is a tuba player in our community band who suddenly decided to take the tempos into his own hands. He started to rush the tempos, regardless of what the conductor was doing. The old band director in me kicked into gear and I demonstratively played slower..... just to slow him down. I even stopped playing to conduct right in front of him. Neither effort worked. It got progressively worse for the remaining rehearsals, and he po'd the rest of the tuba section. His opinion was that the rest of the section was dragging. He literally ruined at least three pieces in our concert, and later, in a conversation with one of the other players, blamed the rest of the section for the problem.

The lady in charge of the group is an incredibly nice person, who does not single out anyone for mistakes or problems. She just makes a general statement that an issue needs to be worked on. Not wanting to cause a "member" issue, my wife begged me to keep my mouth shut and not cause a problem!! So I did. But playing alongside someone who is purposely trying to control the group with their playing is unbelievably frustrating.

I'm not sure what I'll do when we start rehearsals again, but one thing is for sure........ if he does this again....... I will not keep my mouth shut! I'm not going to go through an entire season with that level of frustration.

As has been mentioned previously, there is a fine line between a slight anticipation of the beat, and downright rushing. One keeps the tempo on track and the other ruins everything. There is a time to anticipate, within the confines of the tempo, rhythm, and type of piece you're playing. There is never a time to play in direct opposition of the rest of the group.... whether it be with a conductor or without.


Wow...haven't been back since I started this thread. Have to respond to this comment with "a story." For years I played the Eb part in the local British style brass band, on my 184 CC. I was not that far from the conductor (I tend to squeeze forward so I am oomp-ing down the necks of the altos and their pah-ing) and then we got a new snare drum player who played significantly behind the beat (LATE,) dragging the band with him, to where the band ceased to be fun for me. The conductor TOLD me she was counting on me, the Eb tuba player, to keep the band on the beat because I actually followed her and the people around me tended to follow me. But....she kept that rotten snare player and I quit. A couple years later she got into it with the snare player and made him leave, but way too late. It's possible to be too nice combined with feeling it is necessary to have "Someone" on every part, even if the wrong Someone keeps far better players from joining or staying in the group. This of course is not paid work.

As for bluegrass and fiddle playing, yes bluegrass tends to be on the back of the beat. But this guy wasn't on the top of the beat; he was anticipating. Yet from the audience it sounded fine, although I never played with him in a situation where it could have been recorded so I could listen later. Recordings I have of bluegrass fiddle with brass ("Brass grass" with a different pro, who was spang ON the beat,) sound fine to me. I have a bit of trouble figuring out how both these players sound fine to me only a short distance away. Maybe there is a problem with my listening skills.

In my one recording of myself on tuba in a studio type situation, I was still new to tuba and not yet hearing that it did not respond as quickly as a horn would, and on the recording (multi-tracked and I was last to record) I am clearly late because I started the notes the same as I would on horn. I suspect in a similar situation today I'd have better results. And that's also why I like my Eb tuba over my CC...it responds faster and fits my habits better.

Now I'll go back and read the rest of the comments. I'll admit it's weird having a music degree in a different instrument and the relevant musical skills while not having the technical skills that the pros here have.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby ren » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:14 pm

there is no such thing as anticipating the beat. there is playing in time and there are style choices.
c tubas don't respond slower than e flat tubas this is all tuba mythology we would as a community be better off without.

tubas project sound at the speed of sound. people perceive sound at the speed of sound.
we are not computers caught in "race conditions" of anticipation. we are musicians no more or less special than a concert violinist or an opera singer or an aboriginal tribe drummer.

let's stop the myth that playing on any side of the beat is anything but a musicians choice just like it was for coltrain or miles davis or bird. or that the hall or the length of our instrument is somehow an excuse to engage in mental gymnastics to rationalize basic musicianship.

the tuba community has done this to itself long enough and the worst part is conductors use it against us.

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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby TubaKen » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:18 pm

tubas project sound at the speed of sound.

Yes, but they (generally) don't point in the same direction as the trumpets and trombones. In a large hall, it could be some time before the initial attack is heard at the conductor's stand, in relation to our cylindrical cohorts. Same for the horns, though they generally have a shell fairly close by to bounce off, at least in a typical concert hall.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby Donn » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:27 pm

MaryAnn wrote:Maybe there is a problem with my listening skills.


Just for the sake of discussion - I can't say for sure if this hypothesis fits the evidence, but what if it's the opposite, you're familiar enough with tuba that, when you're right there, you recognize where a player starts producing a note? Someone who isn't empathizing with the tuba to that extent would hear the note later.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby bloke » Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:45 pm

I have no guesses or comments regarding anyone's skills, but it does require some reacclimating to adjust from "barely following" to "with".
Again, playing without first hearing a slight hint of what is to be played prior to playing (at first) can be a bit - well - spooky, just as anytime we suddenly find ourselves as "leaders" rather than "followers".
Last edited by bloke on Mon Jun 11, 2018 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby MaryAnn » Mon Jun 11, 2018 8:38 pm

I agree with bloke about having to be leaders and that if you hear someone "on" the beat before you, you are late. Period.

I taught someone to use a metronome once, a reasonably good amateur horn player in his 50s, who had been (for a couple of years) a horn performance major in college. It's illustrative....I asked him to play with the metronome, and I heard "click-toot click-toot click-toot" and he SWORE he was playing WITH it. So...we moved to my demonstrating with clapping. He listened and said, OH you mean I'm *not* supposed to hear the metronome, and then was able to do it correctly; he just had a wrong concept. Fixed him and he didn't know he was broken. I think bloke's point is exceedingly well taken. I could start in on beats and intonation but for me it's a dead horse that doesn't need any more beating (ha) from me.
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