• Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

2 Neutral

About Leland

  • Rank
    DCP Veteran

Recent Profile Visitors

204 profile views
  1. Leland

    Star '91 Question

    What I remember (I was in a smaller corps and usually saw Star either from the side or, a couple times, from the stands) was that the original ending was a long, drawn-out crescendo, using the fourth movement, The Pines of the Appian Way. Honestly, although it was executed nicely, it simply lacked energy. It was a few weeks later that the new ending appeared (after the new opener drill, too) and literally everyone was abuzz about it, from the spectators to the kids in other corps. I remember lining up for retreat and hearing the crowds light up for Star, thinking, "Holy f***, whatever they're doing must be WAY better than before..."
  2. Leland

    started on G baritone bugle

    Any progress? If I had seen this thread six months ago, I would've told you to get a lesson book for either trumpet or treble clef baritone, practice the scales, and then come back in a month. I would've also said that playing a G horn among concert instruments is a pain in the ### unless you're really good at transposing on the fly. The bugle "Eb" is concert Bb, and worse, it's rarely well in tune. SO ANYWAY... In your last post, you asked about playing a scale in Concert C. In case you haven't figured it out since last December, it's like fingering a trumpet F scale (for G bugles, bugle "F" is concert C). The fingerings you wrote in the last post don't make much sense, either. "1 0 12 1 2 1 1"? You're missing some 2-3 and open fingerings in there. I hope you spent a lot of time on basic scales since then. For this: It was all custom-arranged, yes. As Brad T. noted, writing G bugle music in bass clef grew to be a mess (I've seen GG contrabass parts written for both BBb and CC tuba players, where on the CC parts, a written C was a bugle open "C" that sounded concert G). Alto or tenor clef? No. Who reads those outside of college and British-style brass bands? The entire hornline was normally written in treble clef because the various voices were gradually added to the line. Contras didn't even get into widespread use until the 1960's. They kept writing only in treble clef to make it easier for players to switch from one instrument to any other. Remember, drum corps was not born as a highfalutin' music education experience for aspiring professional brass masters. It was for giving kids something to do in their spare time, keeping them out of trouble and helping them build friendships, a high sense of self-worth, and a strong work ethic. If the corps needed kids to switch to a different instrument to fill out the numbers, they did. No big deal.
  3. Leland

    Blue Devils Chord Progressions

    It's just parallel 9th chords, which is what every Theory I teacher will tell you to never do. ;) Everyone moves up like they're playing the first five notes of a major scale. A BD alum from the early 90's said that he personally liked to voice them with only the contras/tubas on the root, then the minor triad (3-5-7) in the euphs/baris, an open interval (5-9) in the altos, and the major triad (5-7-9) in the sops/trumpets. So, in modern Bb/F instruments, it probably goes like this: Tubas: Bb (could add an F split); Baris/euphs: D-F-A; Mellos: F-C (this would be "C-G" in mello notation); Trumpets: F-A-C (well, that's concert pitch, so they'd play G-B-D "trumpet" pitch). The exercise itself has a couple rules: Balance to the root, and each step up must be louder. You can't zoom up to fortissimo by the second chord, because you've got three more steps to grow.
  4. Leland

    what mouthpiece should i use to start on baritone?

    I doubt many marching euphs or baritones play well with a 59; that's a big mouthpiece. We used 51Ds (or similar) on baritone in the USMC D&B, and a smaller mouthpiece for the euphs (often a Giddings & Webster GW-102, which is probably closer to a 51 or a 6 1/2). Get a 51D as a baseline, and expect to possibly need a small shank if you get on bari instead of euphonium. Either way, I'll expect that everyone in the line will be using the same mouthpiece -- but don't worry about it for now. But do get used to a smaller one than a 59.
  5. Leland

    Loudest Moments Ever???

    The big bell that Phantom was ringing at the end of '92 was one of the loudest things I've ever heard on the field. Or, at least, it was one of the loudest omnidirectional objects ever used in drum corps. The loudest I've heard in person? '96 BD, 2004 Renegades, maybe '88 Madison. Maybe a few others, too, but it really depended upon my vantage point. One of the strangest sounds I've ever heard was the buzzing in my ears during Empire Statesmen's final hornline warmup. For their last bit, they ran through the last push of their show. Joey Pero and the other sop soloist kicked it off with this wailing interval, and I think Joey wanted to do brain surgery on me from twenty feet away.
  6. Leland

    Stagger Breathing

    *bump* You two are talking about breathing (good ideas, too, although a little over-analyzed for my tastes these days), but not much about stagger breathing. There's a couple tricks to get players to start thinking about stagger breathing -- Sneak out and sneak in. Decrescendo out like MelloHorn said, and crescendo back in. I would suggest learning how to attack... sorry, "attack" is a fairly aggressive term, so I like to say "begin" the note without using the tongue. Learn how to do it relatively quickly, too, so the neighboring player isn't left waiting for a full measure or two to get their breath. "Don't breathe on the bar line." It's not 100% musically correct to carry a phrase over the bar line, but it gets them to think about breathing in unusual places. More pointers: If the situation allows it, have them watch each other for breathing. If the player to your left takes a breath, keep playing until you see them re-enter, then take your breath. They don't have to be bouncing up and down, either -- you can see their body move (chest expands, mouth opens and comes off the mouthpiece, etc). "Buddy up" if necessary. If you've got someone next to you often, pay attention to each other for breaths and don't worry about the third person on your other side. If needed, and if possible, you can set counts for people to breathe. I've been in a contra line of two, and for some parts of our show, we said, "Okay, you breathe in the second half of the bar and I'll breathe in the first half." If the music is moving along (i.e., no sustained chords), besides breathing where it makes sense for the phrase, breathe in a way that you don't sacrifice the timing of the next note. Better to release a hair earlier if it means you can reliably attack the next note in tempo. Extreme dynamics make a big difference, both at the loud and soft ends. It's nigh impossible to sneak out & in if you're playing as soft as physically possible, and it's hard to blend a blastissimo tone quality and keep it from sounding like people are dropping out. And for heaven's sake, don't tell them, "Play until you run out of air and then take your breath." If they do this, most of them will be running out of air at nearly the same time, so they'll be left scrambling for their unique breathing point in the span of two or three beats. Stagger breathing a long phrase works really well if a few players start the "chain" or "cascade" of breaths by breathing very, very early -- say, within the first two beats. I'll illustrate that point like this: Say that the longest a player can sustain a particular note is eight counts, but it's written to be 24 counts long. You have a section of ten players. You can have everyone try to sustain as long as they can before breathing, or you can have a couple get their first breath very early (by count 3), then their neighbors take a breath (which means they get theirs by 5-6), so that when the last breathers take theirs, everyone else is already back in the sustain. And, lastly, it's just like how you get to Carnegie Hall: "Practice, my boy, practice." Remove the distraction of moving parts by holding a sustain -- and hold it long enough so that EVERYONE has to stagger breathe repeatedly. Tubas stagger breathe all the time, but trumpets sometimes never learn because they don't have to breathe as often anyway. Play a chord instead of a unison so players can't hide (unisons hide a lot, really). Start with mezzo-whatever volumes, then over time, work up to holding chords at fortissimo levels (don't worry about FFF+++) for a whole minute or more… WITHOUT letting the smooth, sustained sound break down. Stagger breathing properly and seamlessly is an art form in itself.
  7. Leland

    DCI Fan Network on IPad

    Don't forget that a mobile version of Flash still hasn't been released. Oh, it's been shown, but it still sucks.
  8. Leland

    A Drum Corps Blind Spot

    Yup. Man, the season can't start quickly enough. I don't come here for a while, and now I see that somebody started a thread to complain about the corps staff wearing summer attire... Next thing you know, they'll be whining about how the kids are dressed at rehearsal.
  9. Leland

    Tell Me Why...

    This, plus the highlighted part. There are at least four theaters in my area that I could get to in time to see it, but the content isn't that interesting (no offense to the kids who marched), and at least half of the fun is seeing it with friends. Nobody I usually hang out with is going, so I'll be sitting there by myself. To tally it up, 100% "I'm gonna go" = great content + great friends. Minus friends, 50% I'd go; minus compelling content, that's 25% or less reason for me to go. Funny -- now that I think about it, I'd pay five bucks for tonight, but not $20.
  10. Leland

    Breathing gym

    Sam's said that some of the visualization exercises, particularly the bow and arrow and the paper airplane, were lifted directly from pre-show routines of British brass bands. Other exercises have their basis in yoga. If you've been a corps horn player, you've done some of this stuff whether you know it or not. What Pat and Sam did was put a bunch of stretching and visualization techniques into a coherent routine. It's almost like a method book for wind.
  11. Leland

    What is "Breathe-Dah"?

    Sheesh... over 60 replies... +1 to the lowest denominator comment. One more bit (sorry) -- The breath is the wind player's backswing, or windup, if you will. Try to hit a golf ball using a crappy backswing -- it's nearly impossible (and I can prove it every time ). I've known pit players being taught from the outset to lift their mallets in sync. The instruction given to them, funny enough, made mention of a hornline's unison breath. Drumlines play the same way. For us in the low brass, especially on contra/tuba, constantly moving wind is just a way of life. When other wind players learn it for the first time, they think it's revolutionary. I think it's interesting that so much of this breathing stuff goes back at least as far as the Arnold Jacobs school of playing.
  12. Leland

    Terrible Sound in Lucas

    $125 seats on the 5 is reprehensible. I'd yell up and down DCI for a refund. Getting between the 45's is almost a guarantee for good sound, as usual. Going from what people are saying, though, it seems like the balance gets really bad really quickly as you move away from the center. Like I've said, I'm used to seeing most shows off-center, but I'm also used to being able to hear what was going on, too. The constant drone of pit amps, reverb and echoes really did a disservice to the kids on the field. I'd see thirty or forty of them in front of me and wonder if they were playing or not.
  13. ^ This. Heck, I'm just going to wait for rips to show up online and give them a listen before ordering anything. I was really disappointed with the recordings from the first amplified year and hardly listen to them at all anymore. Modern studio engineering can make Britney sing in tune, but it can't fix what happened in LOS.
  14. Leland

    Terrible Sound in Lucas

    I've tried fixing recordings of junk, and as the saying goes, "You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear." The CD/DVD audio won't sound any better than what we heard in the theaters -- lots of pit, LOTS of synth bass, with the other hundred musicians somewhere in the background. The same mic setup is used for the CD/DVD mix, and unless they had secretly installed a set of mics by the neon Lucas Oil sign at the top of the 200 level, they simply did not record a better-balanced mix. Unfortunately, placing mics further back would have also picked up a lot more reverb...
  15. Leland

    Terrible Sound in Lucas

    $200,000, that is.. Knowing how quickly that money can get eaten up, I wonder what they're planning to use.