SWriverstone

SCV's show was an epic musical fail.

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9 hours ago, Jeff Ream said:

###### if I can't stop humming that ballad and closer

Indeed! I also find myself humming/singing/grooving to the tuba(contra :27_sunglasses:) portion of the dance piece.  My daughter just looks at me and I know any explanation (with or without video support) will do nothing to change her opinion of her father's actions...:biggrin:

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On ‎8‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 10:42 AM, SWriverstone said:

There's a well-known and studied psychological phenomenon called

There's a well-known and studied psychological phenomenon called Johnnie Cash. According to historians Johnnie may have been as bright as you. However he understood what the audience wanted and gave them just that, not a bunch of technobabble that alienated anyone with a lower IQ, goes w/o saying he was very successful. Could it be simply that is what SCVs  arrangers had in mind. Instead of arranging something that only top musical scholars would be happy with and appreciate they played to the audience and pulled it off flawlessly? A response now and then would be nice

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9 hours ago, SiFrySopUK said:

Great topic of discussion. I am a huge fan of 80's and 90's drum corps. The main thing about those shows compared to now is indeed the lack of emotion in the musical scores, and that a tune is rarely given more than 6 bars before moving onto the next musical phrase. As an example... Star of Indiana got it perfect...  they played a whole tune, were technical when required, but simple when it needed to be, very emotional and fantastic visually.

One tune that stood out for me this year was Spirits ballad. They did a great job and shows it can be done.

Speaking of ballads. I know there are many examples but one of my favorites of an extended "melodic" treatment of a piece of music is 2008 Carolina Crown's take on "Clair De Lune". Such a beautiful delicate performance with much emotion, 5:11 to 8:26 ..... I remember being at the Altanta show and being completely blown away by the control of this horn line. 

 

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WOW!!! Just when SCV became the darlings of the summer, and as always have been a classy group, people come out taking swings at them. The part about being moved the first time...what a subjective concept. I know that several different people could listen to music from multiple genres, and none be moved by the same songs. But ultimately, keep taking your shots at the accomplishments of some great young people, and try to tear down what they built.

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On ‎8‎/‎15‎/‎2018 at 7:53 AM, TerriTroop said:

First: I apologize in advance because I didn't have time to read 14 pages of replies. I literally have 15 minutes to try to reply coherently, and I feel compelled to do so now because this topic is of great interest to me, but my time the rest of this week is very limited. (inservice days and preparing my materials for day 1 next week!)

second: I have a BM and MM in Music Theory with a minor in music history. I am a choir director, band director, and I teach general music as well, all in grades 3-12. I also teach an 11th grade human aesthetics block called "History Through Music." I'm starting year 20 this year.

That said, I disagree with the original post on several fronts.

 

1) Music's "quality": It is well known in music theory circles that many researchers attempt to codify music for "quality." Schenker, for example, was a  German theorist who attempted to prove the "quality" of music based on its underlying harmonic principles, and music of "German" styles were, by his measure, meant to be seen as better in "quality." I won't go into the details, but spending a year in grad school working on Schenker graphs taught me that this method of discerning "quality" was often arbitrary and sometimes highly contrived. MY POINT: Music's "quality" is not something that we can codify completely by any particular system.

2) Musical "taste": I generally have a distaste for Mozart. Mozart's music is high in "quality" but low on my "taste" measure. I can hear the quality of it but I don't have to like it. Many people have difficulty recognizing or ascribing quality when music doesn't fit their taste. The more educated a person is about music (self educated can be just as good, IMO) the more they can accept this difference. I also don't like the Carpenters much, but I recognize the harmonic beauty in combination with creative melodies that sometimes suspend and resolve in unusual ways. So, the Blue Stars show wasn't as interesting to me from a musical standpoint (except for the more esoteric piece by Carpenter), but I recognize the value of the music. 

3) Regularity of rhythm is NOT a measure of quality: I'm not sure if I missed a detail in the OP, so I may be off base here. Regularity and irregularity of rhythm have certain effects, and neither is a requirement for "quality." The intentionality of the rhythm is what is important. Shostakovich, Stravinsky, and hundreds of other modern composers will play with rhythm in jarring ways for effect. Entire pieces are written without a sense of beat - "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" by Penderecki, for one very important example. Webern and others of the serialist style intentionally avoided beat. (and I struggle with taste in regard to those pieces, but their historical significance can't be overstated - the emancipation of music from long-evolving rules of harmony and form was needed, and that purpose was served by the work of serialist composers)

Now, to address SCV's show: I find most DCI shows to have the same problem of "chopped up" musical examples that flow somewhat poorly. SCV is no exception to that problem. It is very rare that I feel that a show flows so well as a whole that I am swept away into a musical landscape that feels whole. 2007 Crown (Triple Crown) is one example, along with 2009 SCV (beautifully rendered Appalachian Spring show with clear thought as to the original music and movement), and I forget the year but SCV's recent Les Mis show all fit those examples for me. FOR ME.

And that brings me to my last point: it is good that people attempt to discern their measure of quality. We should all do that. But for hundreds of years music theorists have argued over musical "quality" and nobody has discovered a magic formula. Music's effect on the brain is simultaneously well documented and mysterious. But drum corps is about the whole package - visual intrigue, movement, showcases of individual groups, etc. I think it's clear to many of us who have followed the activity for decades that the days of "audio only" enjoyment are becoming rarer. Is that a musical "fail", or is that the nature of how shows must be designed to suit boxes evaluated by judges? I'm not sure I have an answer to that one.

My 15 minutes are up. Hopefully I'll have time to catch up on this discussion late this evening.

In my "uninformed" and "unasked for" opinion...BOOM!!  Well stated, and supported without the "ivory tower" limitations generally found in such discussions.  In the end, many who follow the activity simply base their final judgements of any individual corps' presentation on the basis of "I like it' or "It's not for me."  And there is nothing wrong with that.  Nothing whatsoever.  To me, it is there to be enjoyed and experienced as a product of what is in the mind of the creator of the work.  Otherwise, we might as all all assemble at the Louvre and argue over the Mona Lisa.  Well done, Terri.  I stand with you -- both philosophically, and as a fellow life-long TEACHER of music.

And for those who wish to argue the "good music" or "bad music" approach, research the early reactions by the so-called "experts" to Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring."  If the public at-large would have heeded those reviews, I would venture that the piece wouldn't have lasted 6 months in the eyes of the public.  Sometimes, the scholarly approach is among the very LEAST of bases under which it is considered to be of eventual success or failure.  

My sincerest apologies for the idiotic rant.

Edited by HornTeacher
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On 8/14/2018 at 8:42 AM, SWriverstone said:

There were no discernable, memorable melodies in the show—and by melodies, I mean a sustained melodic line lasting at least 8 bars (at the same tempo) that very clearly moves from point A to point B in an emotional arc. (Think of just about any Beatles song, any Rodgers & Hammerstein musical, or any Beethoven symphony.) Even after repeated views, I couldn't sing along with 2 bars of this show (and I have a good ear for remembering melodies).

 

Sorry....I am calling complete and utter BS on this one...there was plenty of melody -- the Metropolis section near the end comes right to mind.

And since SCV pretty much followed the SOURCE material verbatim, perhaps you should direct your arrogant ire at Peter Graham instead.

 

Seriously...did you even compare the source material with what SCV played??

 

You have no cred at all.

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On 8/14/2018 at 11:42 AM, SWriverstone said:

Clearly judges are more focused on difficulty (in the form of chaotic, disjointed shows packed with tempo changes and 32nd-note runs) than they are on emotionally connecting with audiences.

I was emotionally connected.  Sorry.  

Nice hot take though.  It's always amusing when a rookie pops up randomly tear down a championship show.

Welcome to DCP.

Edited by chaddyt

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On 8/16/2018 at 3:06 PM, ibexpercussion said:

WOW!!! Just when SCV became the darlings of the summer, and as always have been a classy group, people come out taking swings at them. The part about being moved the first time...what a subjective concept. I know that several different people could listen to music from multiple genres, and none be moved by the same songs. But ultimately, keep taking your shots at the accomplishments of some great young people, and try to tear down what they built.

When you hit the top you’re a target

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On ‎8‎/‎14‎/‎2018 at 10:42 AM, SWriverstone said:

There were no discernable, memorable melodies in the show

Just the unwashed masses again. Memorable melodies, music, lyrics are in the eyes of the beholder. Those of us that didn't dedicate our lives to dissecting music down to its roots. We loved the ballad that SCV played, it is the piece. Will we ever seek out the original piece, wonder if there are lyrics or dedicate10 or 20 years of our lives seeking a better thing SCV could have done in 2018, no.

Does that make us musical illiterates in your eyes and you come here to save us, whats your point? We all have professions but don't go on forums to belittle those that use our products but can't describe how an engine works just to make them look stupid, isn't that what you are doing?

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