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KeithHall

Then vs. Now

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I have been watching alot of old and new videos especially drum lines. I have to say that the modern corps today are far better than the past. Not to take away what we did in the past but it is true. From a musicianship level and quality.....Today's corps are far ahead of what we did back then. Check out tone quality of past corps and then listen to Cadets or Blue Devils...ther is a difference. I guess after this I will hear he attacks and feel the flames.

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Would it give away too much to ask what era of old vids you're watching Keith. Few years ago a friend gave me some "earlier" recordings and was surprised how many bad tones I heard at the end of the show. Yes... last show ever for some but.... LOL never caught it on TV but with the headphones.. :blink: Man we'd caught Hades for over playing like this but I can see why more current fans would bash the past after catching this.

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When you realize how many more kids were involved back then (and few had extensive musical training), along with the fact that most corps drew its membership

from within 30 miles of its headquarters, it's not surprising that the talent level back then didn't compare with today.

If we still had 400 junior corps today (like there were until 1974) the vast majority wouldn't sound that great today, either.

Edited by Northern Thunder
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I realize all the things that have happened the past 40 years. I have heard/seen videos from the 60's on up. Don't get me wrong I loved corps back then and I do know that MANY members were not school trained musicians. I can remember wanting my two friends from HS to be in drum corps with me because we would have an awesome lead sop line. Today, many corps have music majors and that is what we all wanted back then too.

I was just seeing the difference and the fact that corps sound better (quality) than back then. Definitely NOT putting down what happened in the past just noticing the evolution of the activity.

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You're comparing soup and nuts. If they sound better, that is to be expected. Recording technique and equipment in the 60s was neanderthal, in the 70s and 80s it was rudimentary, in the 90s it was sophisticated analog and now it is digital (HD)...a world of difference.

Now, if we're talking what they were playing, I'd pit Boston's 1970 line against what anybody is playing today. And, Boston did it with leg rest snares and they carried everything they played.

Soup and nuts, apples and oranges, quarter pounders and chicken nuggets.

Had to add this, go the the DC Historical Society videos and look at the 1972 Skyliners DCA show. That was shot (thank God it was) on something just a few notches above kinnescope. Still, it sounds pretty good -- what you can hear above the crowd going crazy.

That show still causes me to grow a full beard in 13 minutes, pure testosterone.

Edited by rudidrummer73
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I'm not sure I'd use the word "better" to describe today's corps, because so much has changed. I think advanced is a fairer term. Advancement often means better, but at times things get lost as we advance. This is not just a drum corps phenomenon. Digital cameras often produce better photographs, but if you ask anyone who took photography serious in the film days and switched to digital, chances are they'll say their technique was better in the film days when you had to pay for processing and didn't have Photoshop. Technology has transformed education, but kids often lack the basics. As far as spelling, I'm the first to admit I was a far better speller prior to spell check. Now I miss spelling errors all the time.

Certainly the musical arrangements are more sophisticated than in the past, and the instruments used can handle the arrangements. It's been years since I've heard a corps out of tune, again due to the instruments. It's also been a while since I've been blown away by a wall of sound which is considered old fashioned. As a matter of fact, the last time I really remember being blown away in an old school kind of way was in 1999 with Madison. Pits add musical nuances to a show, but drum lines don't have the power they once had. Guards are more versatile, but could a guard member maneuver equipment for an entire show? There are pros and cons no matter how you look at it.

When I watch the Legacy DVD's, some corps seem timeless; BD, 27th, Cadets, Madison. Some are clearly products of their time: Bidgemen, North Star, Star of Indiana. Some do seem dated: Kilties, Findleyville Royal Crusaders. Still, the shows are fun to watch and in their day, were considered better than what preceded them.

There are some things that never change. I still expect and always find that those who are near the top are pursuing excellence. A good drum corps show still excites me, and even if there are fewer corps, I'm glad drum corps still continues.

Edited by Tim K
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Considering the increased talent level of todays corps, the (so called) improved instruments, and the definately improved recordings, we should never hear corps out of tune or overblowing however, it still happens. For all the reasons of switching to band instruments, nothing has really changed except that it now takes 80 brass to produce the fullness that use to take 50.

IMO arranging nowadays has actually gotten worse as we often get musical snipettes as opposed to musical phrases. So, how hard is it really to play those?

RM

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When you realize how many more kids were involved back then (and few had extensive musical training), along with the fact that most corps drew its membership

from within 30 miles of its headquarters, it's not surprising that the talent level back then didn't compare with today.

If we still had 400 junior corps today (like there were until 1974) the vast majority wouldn't sound that great today, either.

But personally I would gladly trade a little of that excellence in the top few for more kids being involved. "It's for the kids" is a bit of a naive statement these days.

BUT - as an old-time drummer I fully agree with the first post. amazing charts at breakneck speed and more musical awareness than ever before.

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I will try not to be redundant, Keith and first say I know what you mean.

Indoor instruments (to me) just don't sound as good as those that were meant to be played outdoors.

That said, the sound we are listening to (what little there is from the horn lines, however embellished) is not as full as our meager little horn lines long ago.

I like what was said about Boston and to that I will add the pre DCI intonation quality of the Anaheim Kingsmen, St. Joe's of Batavia, and even some of those from the little town of New York like the Bronx Kingsmen, St. Rocco's Cadets and yes, even the St. Rita's Brassmen.

We played well enough given what (and who!) we had and more important I think the thousands of real kids who marched and played got much more out of their 5 to 10 years on the field and made many more friends than the professional performers we see today.

I miss more than ever the grin on a kid's face trying on a first uniform - and not the hardened thousand yard stare of those who just "traded up" to the uniform they know will get them a ring.

Ring?! We didn't even have rings .. the corps got a championship flag ... the corps members got the best experience of their young lives.

Stuff we took with us and still carry to this day.

Yes, viva la difference but I still think of how many are missing so much while so few don't even know what they are not getting.

Just saying.

And I apologize for the garish size of the type of my original post.

Puppet.

Edited by Puppet
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