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charlie1223

Should DCI add a Front Ensemble judge?

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Yes. Half of the percussion section is not being properly evaluated.

I mistakenly added this in a joke thread and figured that I'd just give its own thread here for discussion.

Here's how it ends up breaking down for a percussion judge (based on Jeff Prosperie's tape of Cadets Finals performance.) Based on this video: http://www.youtube.c...h?v=k7iRbYRt3aM

A rough overview of the tape:

Battery - 1:56 - 4:20 ----- 2:24

Pit - 4:20 - 4:56 ----------- 0:36

Battery - 4:56 - 5:15 ----- 0:19

Pit - 5:15 - 5:40 ---------- 0:25

Transition ----------------- 0:09

Battery 5:49 - 7:05 ------ 1:16

Transition ------------------ 0:10

Pit - 7:15 - 9:30 ---------- 2:15

Transition - 9:30 --------- 0:20

Battery - 9:50 - 13:10 --- 3:20

Battery Total ------------- 7:19 = 59.9%

Pit Total ------------------- 4:16 = 34.9%

Transition ----------------- 0:39 = 5.3%

Total ----------------------- 12:14

So immedietly we can confirm that the pit does not get sampled as often as the battery and transitioning from section to section eats up about 5% of the evaluation time.

Now on top of that if we know the battery didn't play anything in the ballad and we can assume that the pit was doing something that could be judged for the entire performance so we can look at how much their total contribuition was actually judged based on how much they played. Really, just subtracting the ballad from the Battery's total even though we know they rested for longer periods of times during the other movements. But you can notice that a lot of the times when the pit was evaluated outside of the ballad the battery was also not playing thus increasing the concervative percentage of the battery's evaluated material.

Percentage of total material actually evaluated:

Pit = 34.9%

Battery = 77.2%+

Now the real discrepency is seen. Even though the pit objectively plays more often in the show, they are judged less! The Pit was only judged for 2 out of the 4 movements they played. While the battery was judged for all 3 movements in which they played including getting sampled for the ENTIRE 1st and 4th movements without pause. The pit was only evaluated for a portion of the second and not even the entirety of the third movement because of transition time. The judged missing out on the opener and Medea, the fastest part of the show.)

Jeff is perhaps one of the best, if not THE best, percussion judge we have in DCI and he did do a tremendous job that evening but you can see that there still is a major discrepency in how often the pit is sampled and as a result their contribution to final score. On the tape Jeff even acknowledges: "The harmonic motion things in the pit, which I don't think I heard before till tonight..." shows how much he is actually missing in the front ensemble even with a TOP proffessional.

We need to get away from the culture that says we can't miss anything the battery is doing because the pit is getting the short straw. It will never be perfect, but I definetly believe it can be way way better...

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They already tried it and went back to the old way. There was a Perc 1 and Perc 2 judge from 04 - 09/10 ish (don't remember)??

One was field and one was Ensemble with the reasoning that between the two it would be a more fair assessment. I think it ended up costing more money and causing more issues than it helped solve.

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Don't the judges enjoy shows as much as the fans? I'm curious because even though it's their responsibility to judge a show, I'm sure it could get quite boring if a judge is forced to stand in front of the pit for the entire show.

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Don't the judges enjoy shows as much as the fans? I'm curious because even though it's their responsibility to judge a show, I'm sure it could get quite boring if a judge is forced to stand in front of the pit for the entire show.

Wouldn't it be argued that they could actually enjoy the show more being in the front the whole time?

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It wasn't a Front Ensemble judge, it was just Percussion 2. Their job up top was to evaluate things front to back. This was a more broad "timing and orchestration" judge, rather than an excellence judge on the field.

To me, a single percussion judge is an anachronism. The pit slowly evolved from instruments that were all marched, to just timpani in the front, to what we see today. Yet we still have the same 1 judge system. Not to mention when the pit first came about, drum lines pretty much did elevator on the 50, so getting to the front and back for sampling was pretty easy. Compared to today, when drum lines are all over the field.

By far, the majority of judges are drum line guys. While many of them have orchestral percussion pedigrees as well, I'm not sure there are any that have been in a DCI front ensemble. One of the most frustrating things as a front ensemble person, is the commonly held idea that if one is an orchestral percussionist, they are qualified to judge the front ensemble. Is someone who never marched in a drum line, but is a great concert percussionist qualified to judge DCI drum lines?

I'd argue that front ensembles today have just as much in common (musically) with the horn line, than the drum line. In fact, shows are designed now to where the front ensemble (and electronics) carry much more of the show. People on these boards get upset when horn lines don't play for 100% of their show. I feel like what they don't understand (or probably more accurately, just don't like), is that the front ensemble is no longer there to just color and add to the horn line. They are another musical pallet, fully capable of carrying entire musical phrases.

So, blah blah blah, long post. Front ensembles deserve to have their own judge as much as the drum line. It's ridiculous, that pits play for more of the show than the drum line, but yet the drum judge is almost always, in front of the drum line for a longer period of time.

Two big issues will be: Money, and Qualified Judges. As far as scoring goes, just split the 10 points the percussion are allotted now into 5, and allow a 3rd decimal place.

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How much more would it actually be?

I think that any time you can get more sets of eyes and ears evaluating the show it is a good thing, and I agree the pit seems to get short shrift from the field percussion judge, purely by geography, if nothing else.

I think the cost aspect is one large factor...not just the stipend for the judge at a show, but the travel and expenses for another judge at each and every show. That adds up, as much as I like the idea.

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If the cost is huge factor then it can be a specialty judge at first which is only used at the last weeks of the season at the big shows. San Antonio, Atlanta, A-town, and Finals.

It's actually strange that we even have the battery and the pit in same category anymore. The approach and instrumentation is about as different as a tuba and a flute.

Edited by charlie1223
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