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grimmo

Acoustic Authenticity

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grimmo    3

 

 There seems to be a growing recognition that the creative possibilities opened up by A&E do present a threat to the ongoing balance between spectacle and  competition. The balance is something that the judging system has tried hard to preserve over the years. At one time it was concern over shows becoming too technical to entertain, now if anything the smoke and mirrors production aspects have become the key element for competitive advantage?

 

 It’s not that much of a stretch to imagine these design conversations this winter…

 

“The mic’d ensemble playing those runs worked great and so did the members spinning in the disks - wouldn’t it be cool to do both together?"

”Aint it going to be hard to play while being spun?”

“Not if we pre-record it….”

 

… so when the dragon swoops down over the corps at the end we want flames to shoot out its mouth for finals week? Ok cool, we can reuse the 2017 kit but we’re gonna need to hire more engineers to create this!”

 

It’s not a corps specific thing – I love SCV and Boston’s shows – but the influence of the marching members into GE could be on the wane.

 

Is there a way to maintain a balance?

 

As a small mitigation; now usage is well established could the sound desk engineer have to be a member? At least then there’s an age based proficiency challenge rather than potentially using a seasoned pro.

 

And maybe you can encourage the balance through the judging sheets?

 

One suggestion would be to incorporate a new 'check and balance' component into the off-field music captions: Acoustic Authenticity.

 

This  would be a line in the sand to say that primarily this is an acoustic and performer led activity. While electronics can be used to support and modulate sound, this should be held on a tight leash with benefits possible but weighted down i.e.  where the sound is noticeably electronic supported, there needs to be a tangible effect reward to offset the hit you’re going to take in Acoustic Authenticity. Think about the example where a section is positioned on side 1 and the sound is coming out of the speaker on side 2, or you can’t hear the contras due to the synth bass. There would be more onus in the sheets for corps to demonstrate that the corps are playing in tune, in time, and handle dynamics etc through the member’s performance.

 

 The devil may well be in the detail but it seems a good thing to strive for? Does anyone out there with good knowledge of the sheets know if this could be feasible?

 

I wondered if there is scope to lead things back towards the performer from a visual perspective also, but perhaps that boat has well and truly sailed.

 

 

 

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luv4corps    1,003

These questions you are asking are important.  Your suggestions make sense, as do others that have been presented.  With all the discussion that has gone on, it is hoped that DCI will take a long, hard look at these issues.  It all came to a head for me last night in the theater when out-of-whack synth base severely lessened my enjoyment of several performances.  

Has the tipping point been reached?

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Isn't part of the problem that the Corps themselves make the rules? It seems as if they'll always be inclined to gravitate towards whatever allows them to most easily create a polished production. It's a designer's game now. 

Maybe in 20 years we'll just have CGI representations of the designer's vision. Perfection. And no pesky performers to haul around.

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Medeabrass    27

I get the feeling the cat is out of the bag.

Edit: And I agree with all of your points.

Edited by Medeabrass

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garfield    4,682
11 minutes ago, StunnedMonkey said:

Isn't part of the problem that the Corps themselves make the rules? It seems as if they'll always be inclined to gravitate towards whatever allows them to most easily create a polished production. It's a designer's game now. 

Maybe in 20 years we'll just have CGI representations of the designer's vision. Perfection. And no pesky performers to haul around.

It's not "part" of the problem, what you mention is ALL of the problem.

 

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2 hours ago, grimmo said:

 

 There seems to be a growing recognition that the creative possibilities opened up by A&E do present a threat to the ongoing balance between spectacle and  competition. The balance is something that the judging system has tried hard to preserve over the years. At one time it was concern over shows becoming too technical to entertain, now if anything the smoke and mirrors production aspects have become the key element for competitive advantage?

 

 It’s not that much of a stretch to imagine these design conversations this winter…

 

“The mic’d ensemble playing those runs worked great and so did the members spinning in the disks - wouldn’t it be cool to do both together?"

”Aint it going to be hard to play while being spun?”

“Not if we pre-record it….”

 

… so when the dragon swoops down over the corps at the end we want flames to shoot out its mouth for finals week? Ok cool, we can reuse the 2017 kit but we’re gonna need to hire more engineers to create this!”

 

It’s not a corps specific thing – I love SCV and Boston’s shows – but the influence of the marching members into GE could be on the wane.

 

Is there a way to maintain a balance?

 

As a small mitigation; now usage is well established could the sound desk engineer have to be a member? At least then there’s an age based proficiency challenge rather than potentially using a seasoned pro.

 

And maybe you can encourage the balance through the judging sheets?

 

One suggestion would be to incorporate a new 'check and balance' component into the off-field music captions: Acoustic Authenticity.

 

This  would be a line in the sand to say that primarily this is an acoustic and performer led activity. While electronics can be used to support and modulate sound, this should be held on a tight leash with benefits possible but weighted down i.e.  where the sound is noticeably electronic supported, there needs to be a tangible effect reward to offset the hit you’re going to take in Acoustic Authenticity. Think about the example where a section is positioned on side 1 and the sound is coming out of the speaker on side 2, or you can’t hear the contras due to the synth bass. There would be more onus in the sheets for corps to demonstrate that the corps are playing in tune, in time, and handle dynamics etc through the member’s performance.

 

 The devil may well be in the detail but it seems a good thing to strive for? Does anyone out there with good knowledge of the sheets know if this could be feasible?

 

I wondered if there is scope to lead things back towards the performer from a visual perspective also, but perhaps that boat has well and truly sailed.

 

 

 

I envy you.  I really envy your ability to be diplomatic and level-headed about this stuff.  You do a much better job than I've ever been able to do by asking questions and trying to appeal to the better nature of the individuals who really don't even want to discuss it.  All I can really do is look at them and say "Stop being idiots and quit doing this stupid crap", but I know better than anyone that doesn't work.  So I do want to thank you for trying to reach out to them, and I wish you luck on getting through to them.

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Fred Windish    1,312
42 minutes ago, luv4corps said:

These questions you are asking are important.  Your suggestions make sense, as do others that have been presented.  With all the discussion that has gone on, it is hoped that DCI will take a long, hard look at these issues.  It all came to a head for me last night in the theater when out-of-whack synth base severely lessened my enjoyment of several performances.  

Has the tipping point been reached?

Absolutely, yes it HAS.

The over-bearing synth bass issue has become a HUGE problem. I find it unnecessary, insulting to the human performers in the background, damaging to audience appreciation, and downright SILLY. Other than this, it's fine !

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Land_Surfer    58
On August 11, 2017 at 10:24 AM, Fred Windish said:

Absolutely, yes it HAS.

The over-bearing synth bass issue has become a HUGE problem. I find it unnecessary, insulting to the human performers in the background, damaging to audience appreciation, and downright SILLY. Other than this, it's fine !

Silly is right!  

It all started about 15 years ago when certain directors (et al) decided they needed to extend drill design off the field into the pit area, thinking there was some advantage to it (no real visual advantage yet).  Next, the "warm-up" was changed to a segway into the show.  That really isn't working out well for all either.  The warm-up is / was one of the most exciting parts of watching a corps.  I can tell you from first hand experience marching that the warm-up got the members blood pumping!  The crowd was cheering the chord progressions were exciting the look of excitement and determination on the guards faces as they were setting up was reassurance of a great show!  That flame is gone!  Then came electronics.  Let's make DCI a stage show.  Let's make something special and unique ordinary!. 

Edited by Land_Surfer
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19 minutes ago, Land_Surfer said:

Silly is right!  

It all started about 15 years ago when certain directors (et al) decided they needed to extend drill design off the field into the pit area, thinking there was some advantage to it (no real visual advantage yet).  Next, the "warm-up" was changed to a segway into the show.  That really isn't working out well for all either.  The warm-up is / was one of the most exciting parts of watching a corps.  I can tell you from first hand experience marching that the warm-up got the members blood pumping!  The crowd was cheering the chord progressions were exciting the look of excitement and determination on the guards faces as they were setting up was reassurance of a great show!  That flame is gone!  Then came electronics.  Let's make DCI a stage show.  Let's make something special and unique ordinary!. 

I would honestly rather listen to backfield F tuning and Ditty for 12 minutes than what they play now.  Even proponents of Fine Arts International can't be deaf to the crowd response those warmups receive even to this day.

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Stu    1,020
On 08/11/2017 at 9:46 AM, StunnedMonkey said:

Isn't part of the problem that the Corps themselves make the rules?

 

On 08/11/2017 at 9:58 AM, garfield said:

It's not "part" of the problem, what you mention is ALL of the problem.

 

And y'all also know that the problem has been there since the inception in 1972; DCI has always had this structure. It is the way the founding directors wanted DCI.  All power from competition rules to adjudication to allowing what corps can be in their club: it was all to be centered in the member corps director's hands.  And if memory serves, the reasoning was that they thought the independent body of the VFW was stiffling their creativity.

Edited by Stu

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