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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby paulver » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:30 pm

Doc.... absolutely right. We're a bunch of older guys who have played for a long time, and there are a few younger guys too. None of us cares who sits in the 1st chair.... except for this one person with an ego. He plays well. His problem is that he wants to let everyone in the section know it..... constantly! There are six of us. Some play better than others, but until this past year, nobody made comments about another's playing ability or anything like that. We always covered the parts.... no matter what they were. In fact, we always had fun playing..... and yes... clowning around at times, but this episode changed everything.

If it was my band, I would have fixed the problem in an instant! But... it isn't, and I surely don't want to cause the director problems, as she's a good friend and colleague, and my wife and daughter are in this band too. I don't want to embarrass them.

I'll figure it out!!!!
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby bloke » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:13 pm

Community bands are supposed to be fun...

...but (as I duck in-and-out of that realm occasionally...being asked to fill in when all the others seem to decide to be unavailable on the same date) there seems to be even more "intrigue" (personality issues, etc.) involved with many of them than with professional orchestras (and - particularly, full-time - professional orchestra work is tough...just like other "full-time" jobs...because of the same issues: dealing with the same "personalities" day-in/day-out).

All I'm saying is that it's too bad :( when they aren't fun, and/or someone's definition of "fun" is (when being paid the same as everyone else: nothing) "riding herd over others". :roll:
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby Paul Maybery » Tue Jun 05, 2018 10:24 pm

Just a tad or maybe a smidge ahead: Seems like the rhythm aspect and its pros/cons has been covered a bit. Though I have to say, playing with an all top tier all pro band is an exciting, to say the least, when all the players take the responsibility to "drive the band".I will qualify that by saying, that such applies to music in "quick time."

The aspect of playing on the front side of the beat has a tonal benifit to the band as well. But this has to depend on the skill sets of the tubas, particularly with regard to intonation.

In my dream world at least, my belief is that the band should listen down and in so doing fit into the chord, harmonics, overtones or whatever you choose to call it. They should adjust their intonaton from the bass. However, here is the glitch. If the bass enters slightly after the chord is sounded, there is no chance of tuning from the lowest pitch. It was not present when the chord sounded. In this scenario the tuba must enter a hair's breath early. If it does, players who are listening carefully, that is those who know what to listen for, will build the chord in tune. Flattening the third of the chord or nudging the fifth upward are some of the more usual tricks.

As far as tone goes, a very fine sound from the tuba will inspire others to actually listen to you. In this regard you can be responsible for improving the sound of the band.

Granted these little tricks work only when all the players are on the same page and actually want and can make a super-musical contribution. And... all that happens on a great day in a perfect world. There are very few great days and certainly no perfect world. But as I say in most cases, certain skill sets are required for various levels of band playing. If those sets are not present, then perhaps just keep playing as best you can and enjoy the music.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby swillafew » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:21 am

I played a lot more bass guitar than tuba for a period of years. I was observed by a few people to be "really on top of the beat" or a little ahead maybe. I attributed that to the time on tuba. It is not a conscious plan.

I think the farther you go up the score, the more liberty people enjoy.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby bloke » Wed Jun 06, 2018 9:36 am

Again, if your own articulation (resonating in your head) causes you to not be able to hear the articulations of the other musicians, you are going to be perfectly with them...

...and - typically - it is the drums and principal trumpet who are going to be "fronting"... :arrow: hopefully, "along with the tuba/bass".

The experience is different: The "music" cannot be heard in the same way when aligning perfectly with the other musicians.
That having been said, we are not the witnesses. Rather, we are the creators. Go to someone's else concert, if witnessing is desired.
Playing AFTER the other musicians is just a bit reminiscent of (analogous to) trying to PLAY a musical and WATCH a musical at the same time. (It rarely turns out very well.)

Playing ahead is playing ahead.
Playing in time is playing in time.
Playing late is playing late.

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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby timothy42b » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:39 am

bloke wrote:Playing AFTER the other musicians is just a bit reminiscent of (analogous to) trying to PLAY a musical and WATCH a musical at the same time. (It rarely turns out very well.)



We have singers in our choir who do not sightread but are very good at following the singers who can.

This is a skill that I do not have and cannot understand.

Sorry for the thread drift but it seems a bit the same - hearing time or pitch in "real time."
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby bloke » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:48 am

timothy42b wrote:
bloke wrote:Playing AFTER the other musicians is just a bit reminiscent of (analogous to) trying to PLAY a musical and WATCH a musical at the same time. (It rarely turns out very well.)



We have singers in our choir who do not sightread but are very good at following the singers who can.

This is a skill that I do not have and cannot understand.

Sorry for the thread drift but it seems a bit the same - hearing time or pitch in "real time."


My Dad (a pretty good clarinetist...who played a metal clarinet in school, but bought himself a Buffet around his 50th birthday) admitted to me that he did same, when in school band in the early 1930's. ...fwiw, He grew up in southeast Kansas...J.J. Richards country. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_John_Richards

Doing that, obviously, is always going to define following...i.e. executing late...at least, until the music is learned by rote.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby paulver » Fri Jun 08, 2018 9:41 am

I always taught my students that I (the conductor) was in control of the tempos. If I'm right..... we're all "right " together. If I'm wrong..... we're all "wrong" together. If any one person does differently, it creates catastrophic results!!!
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby bloke » Fri Jun 08, 2018 10:00 am

paulver wrote:I always taught my students that I (the conductor) was in control of the tempos. If I'm right..... we're all "right " together. If I'm wrong..... we're all "wrong" together. If any one person does differently, it creates catastrophic results!!!


You may be dictating the rate of speed, but it's up to the ensemble - a group of individuals - as to just when the attacks occur (in relation to your ictuses) and to execute them simultaneously with each other. (Orchestras tend to watch both their conductor - dictator - and their concertmaster - interpreter.)

"Conducting" reminds me of "teaching". I always felt (when teaching music students) as if I were trying to drive an 18-wheeler from the sleeper portion of the cab.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby Roger Lewis » Fri Jun 08, 2018 11:56 am

Sometimes it depends on the hall and it's acoustics. Gene Pokorny said that, once settling down with the Chicago Symphony, he was amazed at how much he had to anticipate the beat to match the other brass instruments. This was an eye opener for me. Reflected (horns, tuba) sound has father to go to match the speed of direct sound (trumpets and trombones.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby timothy42b » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:08 pm

I recorded this week's rehearsal with a band I'm subbing with. The beat was pretty tight between tubas and trombones. Intonation too, I was pleasantly surprised. (though some individuals might want to check key signatures more often)

I need that feedback, especially when sightreading, to improve my own performance. It's hard to hear everything at once.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby paulver » Fri Jun 08, 2018 3:44 pm

When I was teaching, I was insanely picky about entrances by my players. If anyone was timid about making their entrance, I quickly addressed it in not so kind terms. I told them they were not sitting in that chair to wait for someone else to play first, then after the coast was clear, start playing!!! Precision is not achieved by waiting for someone else to lead the way. Know your music and look at me! On more than a few occasions, other directors/colleagues asked how I got them to play so cleanly, and in marching band, march so precisely. My reply was, no matter which band........ lots of starting and stopping until I got the sound I wanted. In the case of marching, the technique was simple......... land mines!!!
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby pecktime » Fri Jun 08, 2018 4:38 pm

I only know about this concept in the jazz world- In Jazz we call it ‘forward momentum’, that sense that you’re at the front of the beat.it feels like walking into the wind, and that sense of resistance is quite addictive.
However it can go too far- i play in a gypsy jazz group with two acoustic guitars, bass and drums and we had the problem of everyone wanting to be at the front of the beat, which meant that every tune would speed up. We sat the whole band down with a metronome and practiced clapping together on the beat, behind and in front.

As an upright guy who is learning tuba, the tuba has to play in front in the jazz world if you’re trying to swing (it’s different for dirges and slow stuff). The reason is that the tuba doesn’t have that nice ping on the front of the note and the sound feels late even if it isn’t! Front facing bells help too.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby Doc » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:24 pm

pecktime wrote:I only know about this concept in the jazz world- In Jazz we call it ‘forward momentum’, that sense that you’re at the front of the beat.it feels like walking into the wind, and that sense of resistance is quite addictive.
However it can go too far- i play in a gypsy jazz group with two acoustic guitars, bass and drums and we had the problem of everyone wanting to be at the front of the beat, which meant that every tune would speed up. We sat the whole band down with a metronome and practiced clapping together on the beat, behind and in front.

As an upright guy who is learning tuba, the tuba has to play in front in the jazz world if you’re trying to swing (it’s different for dirges and slow stuff). The reason is that the tuba doesn’t have that nice ping on the front of the note and the sound feels late even if it isn’t! Front facing bells help too.


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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby bloke » Fri Jun 08, 2018 5:39 pm

redundancy here, but:

a. If a musician hears others' attacks before theirs, they are late.
b. If a musician cannot hear others' attacks, they are in time.
c. If a musician hears others' attacks after theirs, they are early.

a. typically indicates a lack of confidence
c. hints at a bit of (or more than a bit of) audacity
b. requires confidence
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby pjv » Sat Jun 09, 2018 5:46 am

Back in the day when I played in symphony orchestras I remember sometimes finding myself in a rather curious split-stream; namely, during a tutti section when the brass played in a different timing than the strings. Maybe not such a big deal, but when playing unisono with the basses it really required a mental stretch in order to feel comfortable.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby paulver » Sat Jun 09, 2018 6:41 am

Okay.... not trying to hijack this thread, but....... you guys are using the term "ictus". When and where I went to college, I was taught that the word was "icthus". I did a brief search and found that the term was being used somewhat interchangeably. Any definite info ..... opinions?

And bloke.......
That's a pretty good description of entrances. Mostly, when my students came in late on their parts, it was because of being scared to come in early or scared to be heard by themselves. It took quite a while to break them of that habit/feeling. Eventually, they learned that playing cleanly as a section was the ultimate goal, and that the entire reason they were playing an instrument in the first place, was to be "heard!!"
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby timothy42b » Sat Jun 09, 2018 7:18 am

paulver wrote:Okay.... not trying to hijack this thread, but....... you guys are using the term "ictus". When and where I went to college, I was taught that the word was "icthus". I did a brief search and found that the term was being used somewhat interchangeably. Any definite info ..... opinions?



I'm the one who first used it in this thread, and I could very well be wrong. I've always thought it was ictus when applied to music, possibly something else with religion. icthys maybe?

This came up recently in a long discussion on another forum. I had been accused of rushing, singing in a choir. I was watching the conductor very closely and coming in exactly at what I called the ictus - the point in his motion where I thought the instant of beat occurred. However, I was wrong. He was beating a tempo but not indicating the point of beat, which was considerably past where I thought of the beat. So I use the word ictus to mean the point of the beat in the geometry of the baton, as opposed to when the ensemble agrees is the point of the beat in time. Depending on the conductor, these two points can be widely separated.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby Worth » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:21 am

Nothing additional to really contribute, but had to say one of the best threads ever, lots of great info to digest. Thanks to all.
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Re: Anticipating the beat

Postby paulver » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:47 am

Yet another point brought up by timothy42b....... In college I was in our college choir. The director only beat time when we were learning a song. As soon as it was to his liking, he quit beating time and switched to conducting expression and entrances, etc. The music was 99.99999999999% memorized the way he wanted it. After that, it was watch and THINK!!! There were no "accidents!" The choir was extremely good.
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