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Marching Cymbals

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Question: Have there been changes to the judging rubric for the Percussion Caption that have resulted in judges discouraging the use of marching cymbals? it has been said that marching cymbals are discouraged, either visually or musically, and many percussionists are curious as to their speeding demise.

Answer: (compiled by DCI Director of Marketing Bob Jacobs from various subject matter experts)

There's actually been no rubric change, and cymbals are still judged, like any other voice, for what they can contribute to the show, and how well they do that. Marching crash cymbals can have a somewhat limited usefulness musically, compared to the wide variety of cymbal sounds and metallic timbres we can get from the front ensemble. Given the limitation of performer numbers allowed to compete, it makes sense for a corps to "Max Out" what each percussionist can do. Consequently, we haven't seen many marching crash cymbal lines in the past ten years or so.

Certainly SCV, Madison and Academy used marching crash cymbals effectively this past season, and we've seen them used in shows where the performers marched with them for one or two selections, then switched to another percussive voice for other pieces. From a visual standpoint, some audience members find them to be the "frosting on the cake", while others feel that their flashy visuals can sometimes distract from the overall impact. Marching cymbals can present a challenge to modern drill writing, although they can sometimes be used effectively as a visually connective device.

DCI Percussion writers orchestrate based on the sounds they want to hear in the total package, and tend to have a preference for how they will write the score for the program at hand. So individual and Corps preference plays a hand. There is no official discouragement or encouragement from the Judging community regarding what instrumentation the corps choose.

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well Cavies did play the gamut by using kevlar and mylar!

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well Cavies did play the gamut by using kevlar and mylar!

The gamut for snare sounds is limited to just mylar and kevlar? Hmmm.... What about real or simulated calfskin? What about wood shells, brass shells, and aluminum shells? What about wire and gut snares? What about snares on the top head such as pipe drums? What about 15", 14", and 13" diameters? What about various depths from piccolo snares to very deep snares? My point is that if the reasoning for not using marching cymbals on the field is that they are limited in timber, and therefore cymbals are better served in front due to the multiple implements that can be used, that same reasoning needs to be applied to all the marching instruments otherwise the argument is rather weak.

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I'm not sure I see the merit in this question.

Surely no WC corps would choose to do anything that would knowingly put them at a disadvantage with the judges... marching cymbals or otherwise?

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The gamut for snare sounds is limited to just mylar and kevlar? Hmmm.... What about real or simulated calfskin? What about wood shells, brass shells, and aluminum shells? What about wire and gut snares? What about snares on the top head such as pipe drums? What about 15", 14", and 13" diameters? What about various depths from piccolo snares to very deep snares? My point is that if the reasoning for not using marching cymbals on the field is that they are limited in timber, and therefore cymbals are better served in front due to the multiple implements that can be used, that same reasoning needs to be applied to all the marching instruments otherwise the argument is rather weak.

i was being sarcastic

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Actually, I was impressed that the Cavies had the guts to go to Mylar. I was wondering what that wonderful sound was during that time in the show, and lo and behold, Mylar!! A snare drum that sounded like a damm snare drum!!

(But then, you can get a real snare drum in the pit. Weak IMO.)

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i was being sarcastic

I apparently have gotten so used to those darn smiley faces to indicate intent that I am getting lazy in my reading of text!!! Anyway, I still think the timbre excuse to not have a marching cymbal line is lame.

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I apparently have gotten so used to those darn smiley faces to indicate intent that I am getting lazy in my reading of text!!! Anyway, I still think the timbre excuse to not have a marching cymbal line is lame.

I do too. and I know top names in the community that use the lame excuses seen here and in the thread in the main forums

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