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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby GC » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:31 pm

I certainly wasn't. I just spent an hour reading articles on the subject, and they're enlightening.
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby bloke » Sat Jun 08, 2019 11:56 pm

GC wrote:I certainly wasn't. I just spent an hour reading articles on the subject, and they're enlightening.


bravo !
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby tmmcas1 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 12:35 am

bloke wrote:
GC wrote:What is it with oboe players so often being geniuses at phrasing? Other than the fact that they can play ludicrously long phrases and still have air left over . . .


Some chide Marcel Tabuteau's (father of the American school of oboe playing) system for playing musically/emotionally as "mechanical", but many oboists use it...and it works. Most tuba players - I'd wager - aren't even aware of the system.


When I lived in North Carolina I went and regularly played excerpts for Joe Robinson in Durham, NC. He retired to Durham after a brilliant career as Principal Oboe with the New York Philharmonic. He was one of Tabuteau’s last long term students. To say my lessons were humbling would be kind. Everything was too loud. Everything thing was boring. Everything needed work. I’m grateful for the journey Joe sent me on. Having a non-tuba players ears critique your playing is pretty crucial if you want someone who doesn’t play the tuba to hire you for a job.
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby BAtlas » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:06 am

In my experience, when I've met tuba players with bad time I felt like it had more to do with response than with that individual's ability to perceive time.

Going to continue eating my popcorn now...
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby bloke » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:35 am

BAtlas wrote:In my experience, when I've met tuba players with bad time I felt like it had more to do with response than with that individual's ability to perceive time.

Going to continue eating my popcorn now...


You may be correct, but "not being aware of what must be done to compensate (whatever is causing the issue) for response" (to me) also indicates "not listening to what is occurring within one's own music", and "not listening to what is occurring within one's own music" is almost certainly going to result in bad time - and several types of bad time: rests that are too long or too short ( ' could involve a millisecond...' could involve the typical "the tuba player is lost again" or "the tuba player has turned the beat around again" thing - the last of these being the common-to-tuba-players thing about which Paul Hindemith was mocking in the second movement of his Tuba Sonata), overly-deliberate breaths that ruin pulse, and - the thing on which I believe you are commenting: following the music, rather than being inside the music.

So many youtube recordings of ensembles involve tuba players (annoying to my ears) following the music, whether it be a band, a symphony orchestra, a brass quintet, or their own accompanist. It's difficult for me to listen to those recordings, as it's a pet peeve...and yes (particularly when distracted), I occasionally catch myself doing it. I suspect that a large percentage of musicians occasionally lose concentration and end up following, rather than being in the moment/instant. I smile, because such as large percentage of the recordings (often: jazz bands) that - in a positive way - raise the eyebrows of tuba players involve performances of tuba players who (simply) are playing right inside the music, rather than following along.

a reader of this post nearly wrote:OK, bloke...a lot of corporate criticism here...so what is a something that can be done to remedy these issues?


Here is one:
When playing with a metronome, BURY the click. Do not "follow" the click. Allow your events - that occur on beats - to cover up the sound of the metronome's clicks. If the clicks are constantly clearly heard, "burying" the click is not being accomplished.

Here is another:
Involve yourself in some sort of small combo - with a really good drummer - playing tuba, bass, or bass guitar. Do the same thing with the drummer as was described above with the metronome, "burying" the articulation of the ride cymbal and snare drum. This, however, will reinforce good time even more so than the metronome work, because it's real-life/real-time music, you'll receive positive feedback about executing time properly - both from the drummer, and from the other members of the combo.
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby Ulli » Sun Jun 09, 2019 4:24 pm

Bassists, tuba or string bass, are the menials of an orchestra.
And yes, I know that. I play booth instruments.
I am not capable to play other instruments- but I like it to play tuba/string bass :tuba:
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby jperry1466 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:44 pm

Late to the discussion, but my experience is a bit different. As a jazz bass player in the 60s, I was taught that keeping time was my job, not the drummer's. I was taught to subdivide the beat all the time and thus became somewhat of a human metronome. Considering the length of tubing in the instrument, I taught my tuba students to play on the "top side" of the beat rather than the back side and to "push" (not rush) the band to keep the beat steady.

In the community bands I play in, those little short pieces of tubing called trumpets tend to drag, unless they have 16th notes, in which case they rush way ahead of the band. And of course, their releases on long notes and phrase ends have to be a little bit longer and later than everyone else. It bugs me that so many school band directors let their trumpets dominate and even overpower the balance of the ensemble, and when I am judging UIL contest or festivals, I let them know my feelings about balance. They say they understand the pyramid of sound; their pyramids are just upside-down.

Sorry, I saw the mention of trumpets above and had to rant just a little.
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby timothy42b » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:06 am

I do think even good time fades as we age unless we continue to consciously reinforce it.
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby bloke » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:58 am

timothy42b wrote:I do think even good time fades as we age unless we continue to consciously reinforce it.


...as do good a-lot-of-things.
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby GC » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:18 pm

If you're getting complaints about being behind, try to be more aggressive with the placement of your attacks. Play a touch ahead of the beat and don't let other players pull you back, and that doesn't mean rush the tempo. Practicing with a metronome (not performance) can also be enlightening about bad rhythmic habits you may not even know you have. It showed me that I have a habit of slightly delaying re-entry after I take a quick breath, for example, and now I work constantly to avoid it.

I went through a period with the leader of a big (actually medium) band I played bass with for over 40 years where he complained constantly about me being behind the beat. One night I played way ahead of the beat so much that the drummer (who sat beside my speaker cabinet) turned around and told him that he was nuts, than I was ridiculously ahead of the beat, and he still wouldn't believe it. He was listening to room reflections of the bottom end and not hearing the direct sound at all, so of course there was delay. I put the speaker behind him and he finally had to believe it. Room acoustics and bloom can be the enemy of tempo, too, not just behind-the-beat playing and slow response of a big tuba. When it's both, it gets worse . . .
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby roughrider » Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:39 pm

tmmcas1 wrote:
bloke wrote:
GC wrote:What is it with oboe players so often being geniuses at phrasing? Other than the fact that they can play ludicrously long phrases and still have air left over . . .


Some chide Marcel Tabuteau's (father of the American school of oboe playing) system for playing musically/emotionally as "mechanical", but many oboists use it...and it works. Most tuba players - I'd wager - aren't even aware of the system.


When I lived in North Carolina I went and regularly played excerpts for Joe Robinson in Durham, NC. He retired to Durham after a brilliant career as Principal Oboe with the New York Philharmonic. He was one of Tabuteau’s last long term students. To say my lessons were humbling would be kind. Everything was too loud. Everything thing was boring. Everything needed work. I’m grateful for the journey Joe sent me on. Having a non-tuba players ears critique your playing is pretty crucial if you want someone who doesn’t play the tuba to hire you for a job.

Excellent post!
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby bloke » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:10 am

I suspect the original post was about "nekid" (naked) time...ie. Being able to keep time with oneSELF, and not with/for some band, orchestra, or polka/jazz/Klezmer combo...

...such as when playing "nekid" excerpts for a committee that is seated behind a screen.
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby k001k47 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:17 am

the elephant wrote:
Watchman wrote:Why do tuba players have bad time?


Why do crazy people major in psychology? :tuba:


Has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby Lee Stofer » Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:46 pm

Time is a combination of mental and physical exertion. If a person is well-trained, focused and plays with intensity (regardless of dynamic level), they can play the tuba with as good agility as is needed to have good time. That was William Bell's silver bullet. I understand that he had a good tone, not a particularly good high range, but after his years in the Sousa Band, his rhythm and timing was laser-accurate, making him a most sought-after player. Having been a working bass player for nearly 40 years now has been a real plus for me, as it reinforced the responsibility of time-keeper to such an extent that I cannot help but do this on tuba as well. Don't just practice until you can "play the notes," but practice instead to to shape the size and length of notes, subdivide like your life depends upon it, practice dynamics, phrases, crescendos and decrescendos to where you're really accurately and completely doing them instead of ignoring them or giving them a nod, in short, own the piece of music like you are a musician, not just a tuba operator.
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby bloke » Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:30 pm

Other instrumentalists (let's be frank) spend much more time (certainly: in symphonic works) PLAYING and - WHEN playing - subdividing beats, due to the more complex rhythms they are required to execute...

...so
> Other orchestral musicians AUTOMATICALLY continue to remain engaged out of NECESSITY (because they are nearly always PLAYING) and - thus - out of HABIT.
> Other orchestral musicians AUTOMATICALLY continue to subdivide (due to complex rhythms they are required to execute) and (thus) accurately keep better track of the pulse of out NECESSITY and - thus - out of HABIT.

...btw...Spending time talking to quite a few of those busier-than-us people in symphony orchestras, this is NOT "easy" for them, but is absolutely mentally (thus physically) exhausting to them...but this exhausting work (when executed to near-perfection and with sublime expression/emotion) provides sensory delights for the patrons. :|

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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby Levaix » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:00 am

bloke wrote:
BAtlas wrote:In my experience, when I've met tuba players with bad time I felt like it had more to do with response than with that individual's ability to perceive time.

Going to continue eating my popcorn now...


You may be correct, but "not being aware of what must be done to compensate (whatever is causing the issue) for response" (to me) also indicates "not listening to what is occurring within one's own music", and "not listening to what is occurring within one's own music" is almost certainly going to result in bad time - and several types of bad time: rests that are too long or too short ( ' could involve a millisecond...' could involve the typical "the tuba player is lost again" or "the tuba player has turned the beat around again" thing - the last of these being the common-to-tuba-players thing about which Paul Hindemith was mocking in the second movement of his Tuba Sonata), overly-deliberate breaths that ruin pulse, and - the thing on which I believe you are commenting: following the music, rather than being inside the music.

As much as there can be a "correct" answer to a question like this, this is it. Are there one or more physical reasons that playing a tuba is logistically more challenging to play in time than, say, a kazoo? Probably. So what? That's like saying since a pickup truck is harder to drive than a bicycle, it's okay to drift into other lanes while driving. If anything, it's the opposite; because of the potential impact (ha!) it requires more responsibility to pay attention and compensate.

(The other unfortunate thing is that there are significantly more tuba players that did not choose the instrument compared to our other brass siblings. I'm not exactly sure why recruiting your worst trumpet or euphonium player into a position that provides a backbone to the band is so appealing to school band directors, but just imagine if they did the same thing in the opposite direction.)
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby bloke » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:19 am

Levaix wrote:As much as there can be a "correct" answer to a question like this, this is it. Are there one or more physical reasons that playing a tuba is logistically more challenging to play in time than, say, a kazoo? Probably. So what? That's like saying since a pickup truck is harder to drive than a bicycle, it's okay to drift into other lanes while driving. If anything, it's the opposite; because of the potential impact (ha!) it requires more responsibility to pay attention and compensate.

(The other unfortunate thing is that there are significantly more tuba players that did not choose the instrument compared to our other brass siblings. I'm not exactly sure why recruiting your worst trumpet or euphonium player into a position that provides a backbone to the band is so appealing to school band directors, but just imagine if they did the same thing in the opposite direction.)


8)
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Re: Why do tuba players have bad time?

Postby The Brute Squad » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:31 am

Levaix wrote:I'm not exactly sure why recruiting your worst trumpet or euphonium player into a position that provides a backbone to the band is so appealing to school band directors, but just imagine if they did the same thing in the opposite direction.)


I always thought the favorite tactic was "have the fat kid play it." I'm pretty sure that's why I was recruited, though I probably would've been the worst trumpet had I tried it anyway. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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