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Playing in an orchestra

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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Well done Kev. Its a big step, specially in a totally structured set up where you cannot employ tricks of extrication or even pretend that you "meant to do that."

On a course at Benslow Music, my downfall was counting bars, always got lost somewhere and had to wing it a bit, often crashing.

So congrats to you, I envy you the big sound of all the musicians. I am not sure anymore that it is a thing I will ever experience.

Mike
You make an interesting point. We were talking about what it's like to play with a big group this afternoon. Although I play tenor in a big 50 piece wind band, I mostly play cello in groups of various sizes (chamber orchestras mostly of around 30 players).

There is a definite thrill when it comes together and you get 'the big sound' of a large ensemble.
 

jeremyjuicewah

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I had a chance a couple of years ago to sit in on a big swing band on a regular basis as second tenor. My reading at that time was just about up to it, I had access to the pad for prep, but because I lacked the confidence in the reading dept I let it slide till the opportunity was gone.

My son told me not to pass it up or people would stop asking me, he was right.

Good luck to all you ensemble and big band guys.

Mike
 

Jeanette

Organizress
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I had a chance a couple of years ago to sit in on a big swing band on a regular basis as second tenor. My reading at that time was just about up to it, I had access to the pad for prep, but because I lacked the confidence in the reading dept I let it slide till the opportunity was gone.

My son told me not to pass it up or people would stop asking me, he was right.

Good luck to all you ensemble and big band guys.

Mike

Never too late Mike, just let them know you are interested now :)

Jx
 

swhnld

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62
It is also what and where you play. I played in a 76 person orchestra in big halls, but also with a 25 person party band in smaller places for carnaval. Both have their own types of energy and satisfaction.
 

jeremyjuicewah

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It is also what and where you play. I played in a 76 person orchestra in big halls, but also with a 25 person party band in smaller places for carnaval. Both have their own types of energy and satisfaction.

76 is more like a mob than an orchestra. Huge!

Is there safety in a 76 piece orchestra for the odd clock up? I am assuming these were not all trombones that oompahd up and down the square.

Oh, dear, for you younger things it was a song.

Mike
 

swhnld

Member
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62
76 is more like a mob than an orchestra. Huge!

Is there safety in a 76 piece orchestra for the odd clock up? I am assuming these were not all trombones that oompahd up and down the square.

76 in a Fanfare is huge, but it went smooth, we were playing at the highest class possible for an amateur orchestra. Our setup contained Bugles, Trumpets, Cornets, Trombones, F Horns, Tuba's, Base Tuba's, Euphonium, Sop Sax, Alt Sax, Tenor Sax, Baritone Sax, a strong Drum section, and 1 hard working conductor in front.
 

Nick M

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You speak the truth Kev, in high school, I had been the first sax to play in the full orchestra in many years, and let me tell you, it was very strange playing in 5 or 6 sharps, and having the violins pushing the tempo, not realizing the sweat dripping from my beat red face. This was also when I learned to transpose and play at the same time (not many alto parts are written sadly. But no matter the struggle it was a great experience and now I have acquired some decent skill in some not so decent keys.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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We're lucky, we get the french horn parts and our conductor transposes for us. So far I've not been past 4 sharps, but the guy next to me on alto always has more.
 

Jay

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1,342
Like @Nick M , I play tenor in a community orchestra, so I regularly end up with pieces in 5 or 6 sharps!! And occasionally transposing from a concert pitch part at sight. I can nearly do this if it's slow, but I can't do it from anything other than concert pitch, treble clef yet (oh, or tenor clef).
 

Reed Warbler

Senior Member
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618
Thinking about going back to big band myself. I'm not in love with the format but it does throw up stimulating challenges at the weekly workouts. Without a doubt, playing with better musicians than one's self is a fast track to improvement.
Biggest band I played in was at a military tattoo with army and marine bands and dozens of pipers. Playing in the midst of hundreds of musicians was a gob smacking experience!
As for following scores and avoiding clock ups, Handel's Messiah has the ultimate trap in the Hallelujah chorus. After singing what seems like a million hallelujahs everything suddenly and dramatically stops just before the final one. Pity the poor chorister who sings one too many in that cavernous, empty space.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
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10,279
Last edited:

Jay

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MWO played a great concert on sunday 'Proms in the Park' music from the movies & shows we got a great review from the local paper :)

http://www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/southport-west-lancs/13-great-images-proms-park-9775092
I'm famous to the left of conductor Phil ;) I'm the grey haired one :(
Pic 1 behind flutes
Pic 12 playing my part

Edit...Another review
http://kingsgardens.sefton.gov.uk/blog/2015/august/02/the-evening-of-proms-in-the-park-.aspx
Looks like a very posh affair - great fun!
 

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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@trimmy - looking good.

Transposing instruments playing in orchestras is the opposite problem to the one I had playing in the orchestra I left at end of last year - string parts always in 4 or 5 flats. The keys of G and D are straight forward on strings, but means 3 or 4 sharps for Bb and 4 or 5 for Eb instruments and you really don't want to be in E or B major in the string parts...
 

Ivan

Undecided
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MWO played a great concert on sunday 'Proms in the Park' music from the movies & shows we got a great review from the local paper :)

http://www.southportvisiter.co.uk/news/southport-west-lancs/13-great-images-proms-park-9775092
I'm famous to the left of conductor Phil ;) I'm the grey haired one :(
Pic 1 behind flutes
Pic 12 playing my part

Edit...Another review
http://kingsgardens.sefton.gov.uk/blog/2015/august/02/the-evening-of-proms-in-the-park-.aspx
Yes you're clearly visible @trimmy

(Took me while before I twigged you weren't wearing the black mask)
 
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