Roundtable Editor

Judging Amplification and Electronics

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Just curious, then how does that work with vocal samples? Is there a clause for them or are they under a different category? A few corps have used vocal samples that contain more than one note, Blue Devils, Bluecoats and Cavies jump to mind.

Anyone know how that works?

Good questions, and I am not sure I have all the facts correct myself, but here is how I had interpreted the rules on electronics:

  1. Amplification was still a go
  2. Electronic keyboards and synthesizers were allowed to be used but no MIDI sequencing was allowed. In other words, a performer had to be performing every note heard.
  3. Narration is still allowed, and can be judged (the human voice). However, a sample clip of narration is NOT judged because it is recorded audio (see below).
  4. The mixer/audio technician is allowed to be someone on staff.
  5. Acoustic instruments can be miced for solos if desired.
  6. When it comes to audio, corps are allowed to play audio clips (I believe only up to 20 seconds long per clip). This can be done via tape, disc, or digital audio workstation (such as a synth workstation, like the Yamaha Motif XF88).

Audio Samples/Clips (No. 6)

It is here that people can be a little confused, but essentially any audio clip you play is for audience effect ONLY. If it's sampled and/or looped it does not count as part of the music score (not judged), nor does it get credit on the GE sheets. In other words, it's only being done for effect to enhance the show for the fan.

The Cavaliers have a violin sample this year, among other things. The Cadets use a snippet of Charlie Brown (Linus) in their closer. Stuff like that is not judged, or at least that was my interpretation. We often debate its merit, but from my knowledge of this, the only things that get judged are portions of the music score that are played in real-time in the pit or on the field.

Pit Balance and the Audio Technician/Mixer

- It is here that I believe some change needs to be addressed. I would prefer a student technician/mixer (just like the students on the field) who is held accountable for balance and is judged on the sheets for music performance and GE music caption. There would be no separate caption for it, but bad balances, muddiness, distortion, etc., can show up as negatives in the music captions.

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Good questions, and I am not sure I have all the facts correct myself, but here is how I had interpreted the rules on electronics...

Thanks! That's very helpful, and probably explains why there seems to have been less miked vocals and more sampling last season (and at least in BD's show this year): if prefab sounds can't hurt the score, naturally corps would use them in place of having to improve their own vocals. Too bad.

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Pit Balance and the Audio Technician/Mixer

- It is here that I believe some change needs to be addressed. I would prefer a student technician/mixer (just like the students on the field) who is held accountable for balance and is judged on the sheets for music performance and GE music caption. There would be no separate caption for it, but bad balances, muddiness, distortion, etc., can show up as negatives in the music captions.

Again; herein is the problem. Great balance, mixing, etc... done by an adult (sometimes a semi-pro or pro) does show up as positives in the judging, and that flies completely against the philosophy that youth (only) performance should effect the overall scoring outcome!!!

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I'm wondering how the music judge is going to adjust the brass score when he discovers 2/3 of the parts are being doubled on synth because the horn line can't hack it....

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well the brass judge shouldnt discuss it all. the music ensemble judge should

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well the brass judge shouldnt discuss it all. the music ensemble judge should

Beating a dead horse, I know... but I'm still not getting the need for low-end "enhancement" in corps with 16-20 tubas. :blink:

Edited by Fran Haring
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Beating a dead horse, I know... but I'm still not getting the need for low-end "enhancement" in corps with 16-20 tubas. :blink:

Whether low-end enhancement creates a good "drum corps" moment or not is certainly a debatable subject; nevertheless, I distinctly remember feeling, not hearing, but feeling the underlying subtle power and chill of the low-end two or three octaves below the tubas filling up the entire Lucas Oil Stadium during the SCV version of Ballet for Martha which could not have been created otherwise.

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Whether low-end enhancement creates a good "drum corps" moment or not is certainly a debatable subject; nevertheless, I distinctly remember feeling, not hearing, but feeling the underlying subtle power and chill of the low-end two or three octaves below the tubas filling up the entire Lucas Oil Stadium during the SCV version of "Ballet for Martha" which could not have been created otherwise.

Unsurprisingly, I don't care for it even in "Ballet for Martha", but it's most amusing that according to the repeated disputations of one SCV 2009 member, there was no low-end synth in that show.

Edited by N.E. Brigand

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Beating a dead horse, I know... but I'm still not getting the need for low-end "enhancement" in corps with 16-20 tubas. :blink:

can't say I disagree with you. just describing the judges duties

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Beating a dead horse, I know... but I'm still not getting the need for low-end "enhancement" in corps with 16-20 tubas. :blink:

The low end synths are playing below the range of the tubas.

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