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Judging Amplification and Electronics

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

why?

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

Why?

I echo your question. Unlike Stu above, I don't look to drum corps for the surround-sound rumble of a Hollywood action film. (Which was doubly present in the Akron cine-cast! Every bass drum hit sounded like a Transformers special effect, and I don't mean that as a compliment.) And just as most people don't want flutes and piccolos in drum corps, I would rather not hear pipe organ or string bass. Particularly when these instruments are artificially enhanced to allow them effortlessly to achieve a volume far surpassing any other individual's ability. There were repeated moments in Santa Clara's show (in the Stanford video) where one synthesizer's bass notes were louder than the entire contra section! I thought SCV was by far the worst offender among that night's World Class corps.

(And as for range, I think the pedal tones on a BBb contra/tuba reach down to a third lower than a piano. Not very loudly, though.)

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why?

Not sure what you are asking. It is where the parts are written. Why does a flute play its range, or a xylophone play in its range...or any instrument play in its range?

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Mike, I'm on board with the electronics thing when it comes to amping front ensembles, various special effects, vocals, etc., but I'll agree to disagree with you and other supporters of the need for that low-end synth "enhancement" of a well-trained brass line of as many as 80 players.

If that low-end synth is going to all but drown out the lower brass... as it sure seems to do on a number of occasions, from the times I've heard it either in person or on the big screen... then why do corps need that many brass players on the field?

Why not cut the size of brass lines to, say, 30-40 or so, and then pump in synthesizer enhancement of all sections?

Maybe it's because the synthesizers don't pay tour fees? LOL

Edited by Fran Haring
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Not sure what you are asking. It is where the parts are written. Why does a flute play its range, or a xylophone play in its range...or any instrument play in its range?

my question is the same as everyone else's here, Mike, just not as many words...why do we need to enhance the lower with with a synth, ostensibly extending that 'range' you are saying an instrument should (re; restricted to) play within?

Now not sure why we are now obligated to write parts written below the range of the instruments on the field?

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my question is the same as everyone else's here, Mike, just not as many words...why do we need to enhance the lower with with a synth, ostensibly extending that 'range' you are saying an instrument should (re; restricted to) play within?

Now not sure why we are now obligated to write parts written below the range of the instruments on the field?

It is a "fill-the-entire-indoor-stadium with surround-sound of the sub bass which is felt but not heard effect"; that is why. And by the way N.E. Brigand, I never said I was for or against the effect in DCI, just that was why the corps are pumping out sounds around 50-60 hertz.

Edited by Stu

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And by the way N.E. Brigand, I never said I was for or against the effect in DCI, just that was why the corps are pumping out sounds around 50-60 hertz.

My apologies for misunderstanding. I took your phrase "underlying subtle power and chill" to be in praise of the effect.

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My apologies for misunderstanding. I took your phrase "underlying subtle power and chill" to be in praise of the effect.

Clarification: Do I think the 50-60 hertz indoor effect of underlying subtle power and chill is "cool"? Yes. Do I think it belongs in a drum corps show? Have not made up my mind yet. My objection to electronics is one of expense and logistics, not musical. And my objection to the DCI judging is that the sound board can be ran by an adult (even and adult sound engineer professional).

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my question is the same as everyone else's here, Mike, just not as many words...why do we need to enhance the lower with with a synth, ostensibly extending that 'range' you are saying an instrument should (re; restricted to) play within?

If you go way back, at one point there were no tubas/contras. They were added to extend the range of the sounds being produced. Were they 'needed', or were they 'wanted' by the people who created the shows back then? Same goes with synths and any other of the more recent additions. They were 'wanted' by the instructors, they were not 'needed', so they were eventurally made legal, just like every other change that was 'wanted' by the corps over time.

Now not sure why we are now obligated to write parts written below the range of the instruments on the field?

A synth is one of "the instruments on the field", as much as any instrument in the pit or marching. Why wouldn't arrangers write parts appropriate to the sounds they desire from those instruments? The low end sound enhances the sonority of the total sound being produced (IMO, of course, and I guess in the opinion of those who create such parts).

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

and apparently are only truly effective if your ### vibrates in your seat

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