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Topic: corners

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  1. #1

    corners

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGGHH

    I am having a BAD day!!! Well some good but mostly and bad.

    Good: My crackles are gone since I turned hyperthreading off. That's the good part. :-) (timpani still cause the processor to max out and stutter tho)

    Bad: Long story - we had a 5-hour rehearsal scheduled for today and on the schedule was Alfred Reed's superb Armenian Dances. Now I don't know if it's part 1 or part 2 that opens with a huge brass line and cymbal crash, but I had massive problems getting the cymbals to behave. I hate those things. They're like my nemesis. I either got a dead air-pocket sound (i.e. massive movement but zero sound) or a loud sound but really awful tone (Ker-whump) or perfect tone (ka-rash-sizzle!) but at half the volume. SIGH. Anyway the conductor said he recently saw a Simpsons episode where Maggie was playing the dustbin-lids and that's what it sounded like. Then he said, obviously he wasn't suggesting I was Maggie, no, he sees me more as police chief Wiggum!!!

    Good part: the Dances are sounding awesome. Philip Sparke's Music for a Festival was also on the rehearsal plan and that is also sound fantastic. I finally got my tambourine thumb roll to be reliable 80% of the time.

    Bad part: I came home to work on the current composition (lovingly called "untitled marchy thing.cpr") and I've sort of written myself into a corner. I have a great intro, nice major-key A-section (rptd), and quite a lyrical cantabile B-section in the rel.min.. But I got carried away and built the B section into this huge tortured awesome wall-of-sound brass-strings-percussion passage. I need to find a way to get back to A without a big musical non-sequitur. Need to give that a coat of thinking about.

    Just offloading :-)

    Best,
    John Wiggum

  2. #2

    Re: corners

    Quote Originally Posted by John Hawksley
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRGGHH

    Now I don't know if it's part 1 or part 2 that opens with a huge brass line and cymbal crash, but I had massive problems getting the cymbals to behave. I hate those things. They're like my nemesis. I either got a dead air-pocket sound (i.e. massive movement but zero sound) or a loud sound but really awful tone (Ker-whump) or perfect tone (ka-rash-sizzle!) but at half the volume. SIGH. Anyway the conductor said he recently saw a Simpsons episode where Maggie was playing the dustbin-lids and that's what it sounded like. Then he said, obviously he wasn't suggesting I was Maggie, no, he sees me more as police chief Wiggum!!!
    Air-pocket: Always offset the center of the plates, at least two or three inches, vertically or horizontally (or both) in the general direction you plan on striking the plates together. The initial contact sound of the plates should always occur while still in the offset position. If you wait to make contact just as the centers of the plates align you will usually get an air pocket.

    Tone: For a big natural sound, keep the hands, wrists, and forearms as relaxed as possible. This can be difficult if the plates are heavy, but do your best. A good technique is to let gravity do the work for you. Try holding one plate higher than the other (this will also create the offset indicated above) and drop the higher plate through the lower plate, while the lower plate is simultaneously raised up slightly. Try to drag one plate across the other with a glancing motion instead of simply smacking them together, as this will produce a much fuller, more musical sound. The volume of the crash can be at least partially controlled by the distance the plates travel, i.e., wider arm movement + the acceleration of gravity will help produce a larger crash, while smaller arm movement and a closer starting point will create a more gentle sound. Another trick for big isolated crashes is to get the plates vibrating before the crash is to be played (sort of like with the tam-tam) by silently knocking one or both plates lightly against the kneecaps or elbows. I know it sounds awkward, but it can really help with certain uncooperative cymbals. Again, relax, relax, relax...

  3. #3

    Re: corners

    Quote Originally Posted by DarwinKopp
    Air-pocket: Always offset the center of the plates, maybe two or three inches, vertically or horizontally in the same direction as you plan on striking the plates together. The contact sound of the plates should always occur while still in the offset position. If you wait to make contact just as the centers of the plates align you will usually get an air pocket.

    Tone: For a big natural sound, keep the hands, wrists, and forearms as relaxed as possible. This can be difficult if the plates are heavy, but do your best. A good technique is to let gravity do the work for you. Try holding one plate higher than the other (this will also create the offset indicated above) and drop the higher plate through the lower plate, while the lower plate is raised up slightly. The volumes of the crash can be controlled by the distance the plates travel, i.e., wider arm movement + gravity will help produce a larger crash, smaller arm movement and a closer starting point will create a more gently sound. Another trick for big isolated crashes is to get the plates vibrating before the crash is to be played (sort of like with the tam-tam) by silently knocking one or both plates lightly against the kneecaps or elbows. I know it sounds awkward, but it can really help with certain uncooperative cymbals. Again, stay relaxed, relaxed, relaxed...
    Hi hi; yup, all noted - thanks! These are fairly old zildjian's and do require the warm up knock for anything above an f, which I do do if there's time. I already do the offset but it's not automatic and I can forget if I've just legged it over to the cymbals from some other part - that's what I need to work on. I've not had problems with other crashes, I don't know what it is about this pair :-) I listened to the principal percussionist play them later, and he also had a missfire or two and he's been with the band 15 years or something so he should know them. I think some of the problem is I hear all the air moving as well as the crash itself, so I get a different impression of the hit than the audience.

    Thanks again for the advice,
    John

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