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Something for everyone?

Someone in another post made this statement in response to a poster who longed for the old days of blow-you-hair-back, "in your face" drum corps. It seemed the right way to enter a topic that's bothered me about drum corps judging for a long time, years in fact.

Avante Gard, cutting edge, using all the new toys - or not?

I'm no expert on judging, but I think it's pretty clear that the majority of the demand of drum corps is placed on the visual aspects, as opposed to music. Since the judges judge according to how the corps want to be judged, is diversity really possible?

What if a corps want to focus on music and music execution. Can they win? Aren't they at a significant disadvantage if they choose to do so because the sheets are so tilted towards the visual? Can Crown's incredible horn line win the show without all the frills of their visual?

Can a retro show actually win, even if it's executed at the highest rating but the visual is lacking according to today's judging parameters?

Can a show that's designed strictly for the fans win with the judges who might be looking for something else (I would contend, ala Surf)?

Is there really "something for everyone", or is there a lot of similarity among corps all trying to match last year's winner, which obviously favored the best visual program?

If the judging were actually flat, that is no special favoritism towards the visual, wouldn't we have greater diversity in the shows that corps would attempt?

If the directors knew that the judges favored them EXACTLY the same as every other design, visual or not, would we have, in fact, "something for everyone"?

IMO, the sheets should be flat.

Edited by garfield
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How can it be a consistent target to judge? Pretty simply, to be honest. There are a myriad of design possibilities for any given musical phrase: 1) stand still at attention and play 2) stand in a

There's a difference between "it works" and "not my preference". "It works" is engagment. It captures and holds your attention. Well-designed effect works for an audience whether or not they "like

well....i do not think musical considerations are taken by visual judges the way visual considerations are taking by musical judges. if you're judging music and you don't mention all of the visual dem

Something for everyone?

Someone in another post made this statement in response to a poster who longed for the old days of blow-you-hair-back, "in your face" drum corps. It seemed the right way to enter a topic that's bothered me about drum corps judging for a long time, years in fact.

Avante Gard, cutting edge, using all the new toys - or not?

I'm no expert on judging, but I think it's pretty clear that the majority of the demand of drum corps is placed on the visual aspects, as opposed to music. Since the judges judge according to how the corps want to be judged, is diversity really possible?

What if a corps want to focus on music and music execution. Can they win? Aren't they at a significant disadvantage if they choose to do so because the sheets are so tilted towards the visual? Can Crown's incredible horn line win the show without all the frills of their visual?

Can a retro show actually win, even if it's executed at the highest rating but the visual is lacking according to today's judging parameters?

Can a show that's designed strictly for the fans win with the judges who might be looking for something else (I would contend, ala Surf)?

Is there really "something for everyone", or is there a lot of similarity among corps all trying to match last year's winner, which obviously favored the best visual program?

If the judging were actually flat, that is no special favoritism towards the visual, wouldn't we have greater diversity in the shows that corps would attempt?

If the directors knew that the judges favored them EXACTLY the same as every other design, visual or not, would we have, in fact, "something for everyone"?

IMO, the sheets should be flat.

Visual and Guard drive the scores and placements ( more than the Brass and Drums ), as the sheets reward this more. We had a DCI Corps win a DCI Title a few years back where the entire percussion section ( minus the pit ) faced the backfiield in the right corner with their back to the fans and judges, stand at attention not moving their muscle for a full 25 % of their show. Now, can anybody here imagine any Guard standing in place for 25% of the show facing the back sideline, backs to the audience, not moving a muscle, winning a DCI Title ?. I know, I know. you're right. its a silly question, but its to prove my point.. No matter how good their brass and drums were in talent, demand, and execution, such a Corps would be positively buried in scores and placements on the current judging sheets if their Guard did not move a muscle for 25 % of the show.. I think we could all agree here on this it would seem to me too, imo....... As for a fan favorite Corps winning DCI, its really difficult, but not impossible. Every decade or so, a fan favorite Corps for that year does win the DCI Title. So while rare, history has not shown us that its not impossible.

Edited by BRASSO
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Something for everyone?

Someone in another post made this statement in response to a poster who longed for the old days of blow-you-hair-back, "in your face" drum corps. It seemed the right way to enter a topic that's bothered me about drum corps judging for a long time, years in fact.

Avante Gard, cutting edge, using all the new toys - or not?

I'm no expert on judging, but I think it's pretty clear that the majority of the demand of drum corps is placed on the visual aspects, as opposed to music. Since the judges judge according to how the corps want to be judged, is diversity really possible?

What if a corps want to focus on music and music execution. Can they win? Aren't they at a significant disadvantage if they choose to do so because the sheets are so tilted towards the visual? Can Crown's incredible horn line win the show without all the frills of their visual?

Can a retro show actually win, even if it's executed at the highest rating but the visual is lacking according to today's judging parameters?

Can a show that's designed strictly for the fans win with the judges who might be looking for something else (I would contend, ala Surf)?

Is there really "something for everyone", or is there a lot of similarity among corps all trying to match last year's winner, which obviously favored the best visual program?

If the judging were actually flat, that is no special favoritism towards the visual, wouldn't we have greater diversity in the shows that corps would attempt?

If the directors knew that the judges favored them EXACTLY the same as every other design, visual or not, would we have, in fact, "something for everyone"?

IMO, the sheets should be flat.

A few things from my observations, talking to staffers/designers + judges

1) I don't know if I'd agree that the majority of demand of drum corps is on the visual aspects. I think a more reasonable argument would be more demand is placed on SIMULTANEOUS (visual program while playing) demand.

2) I also think that music demand is pretty sufficient as well, especially if you're looking at some of the more subtle demands that perhaps an average fan might not pick up on (for example, a cold brass attack when the brass section is spread from 10-10 while behind the back hash, or maybe an attack with brass in the back corner of the endzone/field that has an entrance with the front ensemble).

3) I'm not sure your argument has a ton of weight. Crown won last year by winning music captions and losing visual captions. If you take the percussion score out of the music, which caused Crown to be 3rd in overall Music, it is even more impressive that their brass was strong enough to over compensate.

I also think Phantom Regiment 2008 won mostly based on their strong music, which made up for the deficit in Vis captions (which I want to say were third if I remember correctly).

4) Most times corps win because they are very strong in ALL captions, and even Crown's weaker Vis. scores were strong enough to be close to BD's superior visual performance/design.

As for designing "strictly for the fans," I think that would obviously fail since by definition the show would not be designed to the sheets. What you are suggesting is what, something like the Honda Battle of the Bands, where shows seem more geared towards entertainment and less on precision and innovation? Or something like The Ohio State University Marching Band show? Those are all great things and have their place in the activity, but I think DCI taking a MAMMOTH step backward, shunning innovation for entertainment and essentially ignoring criteria would be awful. People like to continue to spread the seeming fallacy that visual gets more consideration, but looking at the DCI sheets visual has exactly 50% of the overall numbers which music getting the other 50%. Yes, because of simultaneous demand there is a bit of bleeding from the some of the vis sheets to the music but those are still being taken into consideration TOGETHER EQUALLY!

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A few things from my observations, talking to staffers/designers + judges

1) I don't know if I'd agree that the majority of demand of drum corps is on the visual aspects. I think a more reasonable argument would be more demand is placed on SIMULTANEOUS (visual program while playing) demand.

2) I also think that music demand is pretty sufficient as well, especially if you're looking at some of the more subtle demands that perhaps an average fan might not pick up on (for example, a cold brass attack when the brass section is spread from 10-10 while behind the back hash, or maybe an attack with brass in the back corner of the endzone/field that has an entrance with the front ensemble).

3) I'm not sure your argument has a ton of weight. Crown won last year by winning music captions and losing visual captions. If you take the percussion score out of the music, which caused Crown to be 3rd in overall Music, it is even more impressive that their brass was strong enough to over compensate.

I also think Phantom Regiment 2008 won mostly based on their strong music, which made up for the deficit in Vis captions (which I want to say were third if I remember correctly).

4) Most times corps win because they are very strong in ALL captions, and even Crown's weaker Vis. scores were strong enough to be close to BD's superior visual performance/design.

As for designing "strictly for the fans," I think that would obviously fail since by definition the show would not be designed to the sheets. What you are suggesting is what, something like the Honda Battle of the Bands, where shows seem more geared towards entertainment and less on precision and innovation? Or something like The Ohio State University Marching Band show? Those are all great things and have their place in the activity, but I think DCI taking a MAMMOTH step backward, shunning innovation for entertainment and essentially ignoring criteria would be awful. People like to continue to spread the seeming fallacy that visual gets more consideration, but looking at the DCI sheets visual has exactly 50% of the overall numbers which music getting the other 50%. Yes, because of simultaneous demand there is a bit of bleeding from the some of the vis sheets to the music but those are still being taken into consideration TOGETHER EQUALLY!

well....i do not think musical considerations are taken by visual judges the way visual considerations are taking by musical judges. if you're judging music and you don't mention all of the visual demands, you get crucified. But rarely if ever do you hear a visual judge point out musical demands to say maybe why someone blew a form etc. In listening to some drum tapes last year, at times up to 40% of the commentary was related to visual demands

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well....i do not think musical considerations are taken by visual judges the way visual considerations are taking by musical judges. if you're judging music and you don't mention all of the visual demands, you get crucified. But rarely if ever do you hear a visual judge point out musical demands to say maybe why someone blew a form etc. In listening to some drum tapes last year, at times up to 40% of the commentary was related to visual demands

this is true...to some degree.....There are many visual tapes that constantly talk about how music is interp. ...especially relating visual to percussion,,, accents, highs, lows, etc etc

but youre right as far as the music people

Edited by GUARDLING
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We had a DCI Corps win a DCI Title a few years back where the entire percussion section ( minus the pit ) faced the backfiield in the right corner with their back to the fans and judges, stand at attention not moving their muscle for a full 25 % of their show.

The battery had no business playing at that part of that show (and the pit was playing plenty). It was aesthetically the right thing to do - and given that the battery then came out and played their arses off in the next segment of the show, it hardly put them in a position where they weren't contributing.

I'd be happy to see more corps embracing that approach, making musical decisions that are right without being afraid that they'll lose points because they did the artistically smart thing.

==

The current system hands too much control of the score over to the design team (the visual team especially), and more or less forces everyone into a design box where the shows have to hit certain design touchstones in order to be considered "good." If the visual geniuses who drive the judging standards process were really artists, they'd recognize that a system that allows for the greatest range of experimentation is actually the system that will provide the greatest variety of results, because it provides the most freedom to create.

Taking away points from the creative/effect side would actually increase the amount of experimentation going on. But that won't happen, as long as the current mafia of dominant voices in the room are who they are.

Edited by Slingerland
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The battery had no business playing at that part of that show (and the pit was playing plenty). It was aesthetically the right thing to do - and given that the battery then came out and played their arses off in the next segment of the show, it hardly put them in a position where they weren't contributing.

I'd be happy to see more corps embracing that approach, making musical decisions that are right without being afraid that they'll lose points because they did the artistically smart thing.

==

The current system hands too much control of the score over to the design team (the visual team especially), and more or less forces everyone into a design box where the shows have to hit certain design touchstones in order to be considered "good." If the visual geniuses who drive the judging standards process were really artists, they'd recognize that a system that allows for the greatest range of experimentation is actually the system that will provide the greatest variety of results, because it provides the most freedom to create.

Taking away points from the creative/effect side would actually increase the amount of experimentation going on. But that won't happen, as long as the current mafia of dominant voices in the room are who they are.

Thank you. You stated exactly my feelings that prompted the thread.

How can there be creativity and diversity of shows when all of the corps are expected to not only hit each box (as weighted towards visual as they are), but also "be like last year's winner"?

Trombones may not alone cause me to stop going to shows, but any-instrument, thunderous goo, visual emphasis, et al, AND BOREDOM (or lack of show diversity due to judging) might just cause me to rethink.

Flatening the judging seems such as easy thing to do add some diversity of show design, it's hard for me to see the reason judging is allowed to become weighted in any direction.

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Jeff nails it. And it's not just in DCI. In the related activities and sanctions, where simultaneous demand is a factor, music judges are a lot more consistent about factoring in how visual content impacts music demand and performance levels. The sheets are written balanced between vis and music. It's an adjudication issue, not a paper issue. Then again, it's only an issue if the member corps feel like it's an issue. Haven't seen much change on this front, so maybe they are good with the current training and application of visual adjudication.

With that in mind, I would like to better understand what you mean by "flat." Are you suggesting removal of verbiage related to simultaneous demand, environmental challenges and layered responsibilities? If not, then what?

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The battery had no business playing at that part of that show (and the pit was playing plenty). It was aesthetically the right thing to do - and given that the battery then came out and played their arses off in the next segment of the show, it hardly put them in a position where they weren't contributing.

I'd be happy to see more corps embracing that approach, making musical decisions that are right without being afraid that they'll lose points because they did the artistically smart thing.

I'd like to see a ballad in which the percussion section does all the playing and the horn line is tacet. Talk about something completely different. :tongue:

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Thank you. You stated exactly my feelings that prompted the thread.

How can there be creativity and diversity of shows when all of the corps are expected to not only hit each box (as weighted towards visual as they are), but also "be like last year's winner"?

Trombones may not alone cause me to stop going to shows, but any-instrument, thunderous goo, visual emphasis, et al, AND BOREDOM (or lack of show diversity due to judging) might just cause me to rethink.

Flatening the judging seems such as easy thing to do add some diversity of show design, it's hard for me to see the reason judging is allowed to become weighted in any direction.

It is not hard at all to see the reason judging is allowed to be weighted in one direction. Just ask Guardling and you will discover that, and I quote, "It is ALL about the visual". Somewhere down the line a collection of like-minded designers have maneuvered the activity into such a philosophy. Music is now considered as pretty much nothing more than ‘incidental enhancement’ of the most important aspect which is a visual channel of primary communication; thus music in the activity today is not supposed to be considered as a ‘communicative dialogue’ with the audience but rather considered as ‘background intensification’ of the primary goal of visual communication, visual story-telling, and visual artistry. My guess, and this is just a guess, is that it comes from the fusion of two genera: First is the Winter Guard genre where recorded music takes a way, way, way back seat to the visual artistry presented on the floor; and Second the concert productions, such as Madonna, where the visual presentations are so elaborate it is considered ok for the artist to lip-sync thus devaluing the musical performance in order to elevate the visual creativity.

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