Sign in to follow this  
charlie1223

Should DCI add a Front Ensemble judge?

Recommended Posts

dude...haven't you listed to Rondo? it's all about GE. it's the only sheet not averaged with any other sheet, except for when they double the GE numbers. I mean, hell look at Crown's battery issues last year.....they only got so much better, but GE won the day despite the percussion issues.

If Ge couldn't hear the synth stuff, it would hurt more there than one caption added with two others and divided by 2.

Sadly, there is no win win scenario because with finals inside, as well as most of the major regionals, you WILL lose battery sound upstairs. sitting 25 rows up in indy on the 40 I had a hard time hearing bass drum stuff unless it was a unison. When i went up at semis to check it out, all I could hear up there was rim shots.Outside can be a difference, depending on venue, and better for the judge off the field scenario, but when the end game is a dome, it's a joke.

Now...do i think the field judge has to run all over hell's creation? No. i'e had enough experience judging on the field to know you can catch a lot there, get out some, but still get more of the pit by being less mobile. of course that has tended to #### some battery guys off, because i wasn't out there breaking down the second stroke of their diddle player by player, but I've found it to be a way to reward the entire ensemble, and only miss so much pit stuff, as opposed to running for my life.

but I'm few and far between, and I think far too many of the people clamoring for upstairs DO NOT take the accoustic issues created by being inside into consideration.

It's always a no-win situation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huygens–Fresnel_principle

If you do a spectral analysis on the sounds the reinforced percussion instruments create, you'll find that the amplification suffers little from the HFP. When you look at the synths and all the other stuff piped through, and you'll see that the spectral widths are going to be sprayed far and wide by amps, diffusing more quickly than the 80 "amps" with bells and great focus in tune, using the principle to their advantage.

Brass, with its low diffusion, and amps with their high diffusion and sustained bursts, create a situation where the "balance" of sounds can only be achieved in one focused radius from where the air starts moving. This is the key difference between allowing reinforced instruments, or simply sampling and generating from a pair of loudspeakers. The sound generation is inherently different, and will always cause these differences to exist.

This is not even addressing the psychoacoustic problem of seeing 80 brass and 4 marimbas, and making your brain reconcile that they should be equal in amplitude. They aren't, and they never will be. In a WGI environment, you want all percussion to be able to be heard at all times. It's a small environment, and there's no other instrumentation (generally). In the outdoor/dome environment, your mind tells you "this can't be right" if you're in front of the radius. If you've heard that and you go behind the radius, you think the amplifiers are pointed the wrong way and the transients get lost, though keyboard seems to be there as well as that goo that is getting dopplered at that distance in a way that the HFP prevents with the brass.

All things considered, I'd be a proponent of a scaled back amp volume as a general rule. The less synthetic stuff pushed through will improve the overall sound quality for audience members not near the Golden Box. I know it's not going away, but the only way to "corral" it back is to make someone night after night deal with it, and that's the job of the percussion judge in my opinion. Almost all of the sound coming through is being generated by pit members, so that seems the appropriate caption. In addition, we all understand that amps have been given a free pass for whether they've worked, whether they achieve balance, and whether they do what they are supposed to. Having spoken with a couple of judges more candidly, when they have GE Music, they don't want to touch the amps. They certainly aren't going to give the lower grades you'd expect if you get crackles and pops if you were to look at numbers you'd get for poor quality playing - yet it does the same thing to the audio product; degrade it. There's also a radius of about 10 rows from the amps that if you happen to be sitting in the stands... say Row 4 on the 37... you are going to have a completely miserable night of ringing ears and goo.

Understanding that there is a small to negligible advantage to being in front of the battery on the field, I believe strongly that someone who is among the first rows of the paying audience would see more overall, especially in the pit, experience the amps at full force as most of the mid-week show audiences do, and will also not cause safety issues for the moving members. I get the counterargument, but if you accept that you should be "in-the-face" of the battery, you should then abdicate responsibility for judging the section of nearly equal size you see only 30% of the time.

Edited by drumcat
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're wondering a little more about the radius I mention above, imagine this thought experiment.

You have two paint brushes that run out of paint at a constant rate. The Big Fat brush runs out twice as fast as the Narrow brush.

Dip the Big Fat brush in red paint, and start painting in one direction. Every foot, you run out of half your paint.

Now take the Narrow brush and dip it in yellow paint. Every two feet, you run out of half your paint. Start at random points behind where you started the red paint, and make lines that cross the red line.

Now the object is to create a perfect orange color. Only perfect 50/50 works.

If that sounds difficult, that's what the poor sound guy is being asked to do; orange everywhere. It's impossible. I know it's a weird thought experiment, but that's the reality. It's not physically possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful posts. Thanks, drumcat.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's always a no-win situation. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huygens–Fresnel_principle

If you do a spectral analysis on the sounds the reinforced percussion instruments create, you'll find that the amplification suffers little from the HFP. When you look at the synths and all the other stuff piped through, and you'll see that the spectral widths are going to be sprayed far and wide by amps, diffusing more quickly than the 80 "amps" with bells and great focus in tune, using the principle to their advantage.

Brass, with its low diffusion, and amps with their high diffusion and sustained bursts, create a situation where the "balance" of sounds can only be achieved in one focused radius from where the air starts moving. This is the key difference between allowing reinforced instruments, or simply sampling and generating from a pair of loudspeakers. The sound generation is inherently different, and will always cause these differences to exist.

This is not even addressing the psychoacoustic problem of seeing 80 brass and 4 marimbas, and making your brain reconcile that they should be equal in amplitude. They aren't, and they never will be. In a WGI environment, you want all percussion to be able to be heard at all times. It's a small environment, and there's no other instrumentation (generally). In the outdoor/dome environment, your mind tells you "this can't be right" if you're in front of the radius. If you've heard that and you go behind the radius, you think the amplifiers are pointed the wrong way and the transients get lost, though keyboard seems to be there as well as that goo that is getting dopplered at that distance in a way that the HFP prevents with the brass.

All things considered, I'd be a proponent of a scaled back amp volume as a general rule. The less synthetic stuff pushed through will improve the overall sound quality for audience members not near the Golden Box. I know it's not going away, but the only way to "corral" it back is to make someone night after night deal with it, and that's the job of the percussion judge in my opinion. Almost all of the sound coming through is being generated by pit members, so that seems the appropriate caption. In addition, we all understand that amps have been given a free pass for whether they've worked, whether they achieve balance, and whether they do what they are supposed to. Having spoken with a couple of judges more candidly, when they have GE Music, they don't want to touch the amps. They certainly aren't going to give the lower grades you'd expect if you get crackles and pops if you were to look at numbers you'd get for poor quality playing - yet it does the same thing to the audio product; degrade it. There's also a radius of about 10 rows from the amps that if you happen to be sitting in the stands... say Row 4 on the 37... you are going to have a completely miserable night of ringing ears and goo.

Understanding that there is a small to negligible advantage to being in front of the battery on the field, I believe strongly that someone who is among the first rows of the paying audience would see more overall, especially in the pit, experience the amps at full force as most of the mid-week show audiences do, and will also not cause safety issues for the moving members. I get the counterargument, but if you accept that you should be "in-the-face" of the battery, you should then abdicate responsibility for judging the section of nearly equal size you see only 30% of the time.

I agree upstairs judges...GE and ensemble....are afraid to discuss amps. Part of it, IMO is lack of education, and part of it is the blast from the staffs.

But still, in the stands, that low, you WILL lose battery sounds, and with the visual of today, you WILL not be able to see the performers out on the field.

and if you take them upstairs, you WILL lose sound and the higher up you go, you won't see much other than a body running around.

I will also state that I do agree percussion guys are the only ones with the balls to address the volume issues. But in the grand scheme of things, they are 20 points, added together with 40 points, and divided by 2.

There is no win win and I will state that in the band world, seeing judges moved upstairs has led to a lot of sloppiness at the field level, that you can't catch as well upstairs, but it gets rewarded ( ala Crown) because it holds together with the ensemble.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no win win and I will state that in the band world, seeing judges moved upstairs has led to a lot of sloppiness at the field level, that you can't catch as well upstairs, but it gets rewarded ( ala Crown) because it holds together with the ensemble.

I truly do have mixed feelings about this. The snare drummer in me is fine with the thought of a drum judge in front of the battery, keying in on perfect sound quality or flawed technique or whatever else might be missed from the stands. The band teacher/front ensemble instructor in me would love for front ensembles to get longer reads/more attention: even at the expense of the battery. I think a decent compromise would be for percussion judge to be on the field so he can move to different zones, but not ON the field (i.e. he can move around to different sides of the pit, maybe even behind the pit if the battery is in front of the front has or something, but not running around brass players throughout the field).

This wouldn't address balance or ensemble cohesion as well as a judge in the stands, but would also get a lot of nuance that audience doesn't perceive.

Of course, the counter argument is if the show is designed for the fans in the stands + judges in the box, maybe a little bit of dirt on the field (and not really heard from the stands) is fine. I honestly don't know, but it's a fun discussion for sure

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I missed it in this thread, but the Perc 2 judge was approved for 2014. It's back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, indeed, there will be a second percussion judge - which was voted on by the instructors and passed on to the Directors, who approved it.

The reason was centered on safety. With only one field judge, there were several instances where that judge caused, or nearly caused, collisions with performers - mainly because they had to cover so much downstairs and were practically running all over the field - between battery and pit.

However, the second judge will be primarily upstairs and will observe the front whenever the field judge is focusing on the battery...thus making it so the on-field judge doesn't have to run through sections, but rather can maneuver more cautiously.

Initially this will only be at regionals and championships, but eventually should go full-season.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, indeed, there will be a second percussion judge - which was voted on by the instructors and passed on to the Directors, who approved it.

The reason was centered on safety. With only one field judge, there were several instances where that judge caused, or nearly caused, collisions with performers - mainly because they had to cover so much downstairs and were practically running all over the field - between battery and pit.

However, the second judge will be primarily upstairs and will observe the front whenever the field judge is focusing on the battery...thus making it so the on-field judge doesn't have to run through sections, but rather can maneuver more cautiously.

Initially this will only be at regionals and championships, but eventually should go full-season.

this is, i say the best of both worlds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, indeed, there will be a second percussion judge - which was voted on by the instructors and passed on to the Directors, who approved it.

The reason was centered on safety. With only one field judge, there were several instances where that judge caused, or nearly caused, collisions with performers - mainly because they had to cover so much downstairs and were practically running all over the field - between battery and pit.

However, the second judge will be primarily upstairs and will observe the front whenever the field judge is focusing on the battery...thus making it so the on-field judge doesn't have to run through sections, but rather can maneuver more cautiously.

Initially this will only be at regionals and championships, but eventually should go full-season.

That is a great solution!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, indeed, there will be a second percussion judge - which was voted on by the instructors and passed on to the Directors, who approved it.

The reason was centered on safety. With only one field judge, there were several instances where that judge caused, or nearly caused, collisions with performers - mainly because they had to cover so much downstairs and were practically running all over the field - between battery and pit.

However, the second judge will be primarily upstairs and will observe the front whenever the field judge is focusing on the battery...thus making it so the on-field judge doesn't have to run through sections, but rather can maneuver more cautiously.

Initially this will only be at regionals and championships, but eventually should go full-season.

Very pleased with this!! I really missed the percussion judge in the box! A strong percussion ensemble is something that often gets overlooked by the other captions depending on the judge... Looking forward to see how this is implemented and how it will effect the percussion score!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.