SCV's show was an epic musical fail.


Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, SWriverstone said:

Thanks for all the good replies everyone. Of course—everything I say is my opinion. It's my hope to sway some people to my way of thinking, and I know everyone won't agree. 

To those who asked, I've NOT watched other shows from this year yet, but will—and am happy to offer my thoughts on them. And you'll never hear me attack anyone (or their opinions) personally—though sure—I have no problem with calling SCV's show a musical fail.

And there are probably some who'll say "well if you haven't watched any other shows then shut the eff up because your opinion is meaningless." I think much in these conversations is timeframe-dependent. Most younger drum corps fans by default will think only the last few years of shows is important and everything earlier than (to pick a year at random) 2014 is ancient history and lame. LOL

 

I'm reading this thread with much interest.  I only saw SCV's show once and I'm intrigued by some of your points.  But, I'm really curious if the problems you note having with the SCV show are typical of all drum corps music at its current style of design or unique to SCV.

Your critique begs the question of which corps you think wasn't a fail, if anyone.  It would really help me understand where your coming from.

When I read most criticism, I like to have a sense of the critic's tastes.  While you mention some composers you like, drum corps isn't an orchestra playing a complete piece of music as it was intended to be played.  As others noted, most corps just play snippets of music to portray a mood in the story they are unfolding.  In some ways, it's like soundtrack to a film.

Your opinion is far from meaningless.  I think it's intriguing.  I just wish I had more drum corps-based context and that you could apply the same principles to some of the other shows and tell us what you thought.

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 346
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

No.

As someone also studying for his BM, I’m confused how someone could go to Juilliard and come away with such a two dimensional sense of what good music is. I’m Confused with several of your points, esp

There's a well-known and studied psychological phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect (also called the familiarity principle). It means people develop a preference for things merely because they a

4 hours ago, Fred Windish said:

For many, they only get one shot!

Here is where the disconnect is, I think.  While many people only see the show a few times at most, the corps are programming for the judges, who see the show time after time after time.  As a result, shows have a tendency to overwhelm on first viewing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, SWriverstone said:

ALSO: I should have clarified a few things in my original post: first, as others have said, I think the individual performances of the corps members in SCV's show is amazing. And I'm making no comment whatsoever on the quality of the choreography, the execution of difficult moves, etc. The core of my argument is that everything else in drum corps depends on the music—if a corps went out on the field and did nothing at all but stand there and play great music, I'd be willing to bet that people would enjoy that show a lot more than one where the instruments got left on the sideline for the entire show while the corps ran and danced their butts off doing amazing physical feats in perfect synchrony.

To sort of jump on this, I remember watching a standstill of SCV and being surprised at how much I was thinking the show was just "meh". This is just my personal opinion with their music, and I appreciate the OP's post and opinion on it, but I actually do tend to agree with him on SCV from the music side of it. As a whole, I thought it was a great show and was entertained each night I watched it. I was just surprised how much of a difference a standstill made for me.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, HockeyDad said:

Well, he DOES have a BM from Juilliard. 

 He does make some interesting points.. but he perhaps fails to realize we all have our own prisms through which that we watch and listen to things in the music realm. Nobody can quantify and objectively state on a scale of 1 to 10 what constitutes " great music " and what does not.

 Heck, some of the world's most esteemed music composers of all time have even written in their own biographies for us that what other critics and audiences thought was their " greatest " work of music compositions, was not what they.. the composer themselves... thought was their " greatest " work, nor that they even considered that particular piece " great music", they wrote in their biographies at the time. 

 He might have been better served to have left out the diploma waving mention in his commentary too, imo

 Image result for music degree.. ... gifs

Edited by BRASSO
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi again all—dipping in and out of the thread throughout the day while I get real work done. :-) 

The highly critical nature of my OP was calculated to get some attention—but unlike a lot of clickbait, I'm trying to elevate/extend the convo beyond "Gotcha!" In hindsight I could have been softer in my opinion of SCV's show. Putting some people on the defensive is never a good thing (because some people lash out and aren't receptive to anything else). But the truth is, a lot of people have been saying what I'm saying for years—and it hasn't made a bit of difference (again—in my opinion). 

IMO, from a musical perspective, drum corps has gone down what I think is the wrong path—that is, taking a longer original composition and trying to edit it to fit 11 minutes. That's like trying to show only 25% of DaVinci's Mona Lisa—it doesn't work, and results in fragmented music with rushed transitions. On the other hand, there are plenty of original compositions that are 11 minutes long (or shorter) that could make great shows. No—I don't have an example off the top of my head...wait, I do! another great SCV example: Shostakovitch's Festive Overture (1985). 

A good friend of mine suggested that I should never use examples like that from drum corps' past because it'll just brand me as an "old fart" who is irrelevant now. But (with respect to my friend), there is a LOT we can learn from the past. (And it's interesting that nobody has commented on my earlier example of another fantastic SCV musical opener, The Canyon.) There is no law that says drum corps must "innovate or lose." Judges aren't required to reward innovation—they can also reward meaning and emotion, which are entirely independent of innovation. (I'd suggest meaning and emotion are more important than innovation.)

It's also a mistake to assume the most technically demanding shows are the most difficult. That's complete BS. Ask any professional musician what's harder to SELL to an audience: a blistering-fast piece filled with 16th-note runs and technical fireworks? Or a slow, sustained piece that builds to a climax after several minutes. Most will say the latter is FAR more difficult to do well.  I'm not suggesting music shouldn't be one or the other—both are good. But DCI has been sucked down the same vortex of the Olympics: if some is good, more is better (More speed! More acrobatics! More props! More everything!) 

And what happens when human limits are reached? Several good pieces have appeared in the media lately pointing out that this is exactly what's happening in the Olympics—the limits of human performance are here—and times (for timed sports) aren't getting faster. So now what? What's a drum corps gonna do when you can't play more notes or have more props on the field?

BariGirl78—you ask some good questions. I still need to listen to the other shows from the top 12 this year. (Stay tuned.) As far as my musical tastes go, they're incredibly broad—which is one reason why I think my opinion is well-informed. I love classical (from every century), jazz (whoever mentioned jazz failed to recognize that "jazz" is about as broad a category as "classical"), pop and rock from every decade (but particularly the 60's, 70's, and 80's), gospel, blues (both the Stevie Ray Vaughan kind and the Mississippi John Hurt kind), African gyilli music from Ghana, Indonesian gamelan, Latin music of all kinds, 20th-century minimalism—the list goes on and on. I listen to all this stuff on a regular basis.

On page 6 of this thread, MarimbaManiac suggested that composers like Persichetti, Sessions, Cage, Stravinsky, etc can't be considered avante-garde anymore. I disagree! Maybe they aren't considered avante-garde in music schools, but (in case you didn't notice) the general public never got as far as any of those composers. So in that sense they absolutely are (still) avant garde. (Maybe in another century the public will catch up—who knows?) You think John Cage is "old school?" Try performing his Third Construction flawlessly. And what about a piece like Frederic Rzewski's Les Moutons de Panurge? You think that's old school??? It's every bit as "innovative" as anything with that label today.

I've gotta go for now, but maybe a good related question is: who is the audience for drum corps? And more importantly, who should it be? Clearly a lot of people think the audience for drum corps shows is made up almost entirely of music school students or graduates who are drum corps fans. Because if anyone thinks the general lay public is going to love a piece like Metropolis 1927, you should spend some time listening to FM radio. (I think DCI would be shocked to find out how quickly their fan base would grow if shows were more accessible to average audiences-which could easily be done without dumbing them down.)

More later!
Scott

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry—forgot to add: I really don't think my Juilliard degree means much, and shouldn't have mentioned it—because it clearly derailed parts of the conversation. I only mentioned it to show that I'm not a musical amateur, but someone with somewhat high-level musical training and professional performing experience. That's it. If I thought my Juilliard degree meant so much, I wouldn't have abandoned music as a career 25 years ago and launched a now-very-successful career in marketing and communications.

Scott

Edited by SWriverstone
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
23 minutes ago, jthomas666 said:

Here is where the disconnect is, I think.  While many people only see the show a few times at most, the corps are programming for the judges, who see the show time after time after time.  As a result, shows have a tendency to overwhelm on first viewing.

While judges do see the shows several times, I think they are intended to judge the performance that is in front of them.  At some point in every season, they are seeing a corps for the first time.  DCI tries to rotate judges to different captions over the course of a season.

There were two judges in Finals--Rothe and Romanowski--that only judge three shows prior to Finals.  Rothe saw SCV twice before.  Romanowski saw them only once prior to finals.

I don't know to what degree judges watch shows when they aren't judging.  Are they supposed to?  But, it's not a given that they've seen the shows more than the fans have.

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, skevinp said:

Now that I know I wasn't supposed to, I feel so foolish for feeling such a passionate emotional connection to this show.  My only solace is the thousands of screaming fans with whom I can share my embarrassment.

 I guess I'm stubborn too for preferring and liking SCV music perhaps more than I should have. The judges must have been mouth breathers too, for appreciating and rewarding such" an epic music fail". Maybe, we need a further reeducation as to what is " great " and " emotional "., and what is not. Can I take any inexpensive Music Appreciation classes that can make me objectively determine that 2018 SCV Music is decidedly not " great " but instead an " epic fail " ? I want to be much more ready and prepared for the 2019 season than it now looks like I was here in 2018 regarding on a scale of 1 to 10, what is objectively considered good music and what is objectively considered bad music.

Edited by BRASSO
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, BRASSO said:

" greatest " work of music compositions, was not what they.. the composer themselves

There are interviews with some very successful performers that state there were shows that they were very unhappy with that night. Then months latter the tracks were totally amazing and selected then for albums. One went on to say that his mood had a lot to do with how he rated his performance that night, but was still knocking the audience dead and learned that the hard way feeling bad about it.  

  • Like 1
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.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.