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ABBA: How percussion is perceived and incorporated into the adjudication process

Published in General on 2013-06-19 by Empty Chairs

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The Association of Brass Band Adjudicators (ABBA) has reported on how percussion is perceived and incorporated into the adjudication process.

This follows the results in the Yorkshire Regional Third Section Contest and in particular the placing of the band awarded 3rd which only staged one percussionist from a requirement of four for the Goff Richards piece Hollywood. A heated social media exchange questioned how can a band be placed 3rd with so much missing in the percussion section.

Alan Morrison, the ABBA Chairman, investigated this result and has taken the unusual step of clarifying the position of adjudicators on percussion and this particular result.

"You raise valid points; however may I draw your attention to the PAC Document on the ABBA Website, were you will find the answers to all your queries are all covered. You will note that no special mention is made of percussion as we regard it as an integral part of the band, and no different to any other section. Therefore, if Percussion parts be omitted or otherwise , this is obviously taken into consideration during deliberations. Having read the thread on Facebook, I have 3 observations to make here:

  1. The band in question was placed 3rd. Having contacted both adjudicators, they felt that although light sounding and with missing percussion, the rest of the band played sufficiently well enough to warrant this placing but because of the obvious problems were penalised appropriately ie they didn`t finish 1st or 2nd so didn`t qualify. For me, this is absolutely acceptable. Yes parts were missing and noted, but why should the rest of the band be placed automatically last or lower when they obviously played very well?
  2. The question of open/closed adjudication. When you saw this band walk on stage, set-up and prepare to play. It was clear to you that they were short in numbers, and particularly in percussion. Your hearing of this performance may then have been seriously distracted, by that situation ,and as a result, it is also possible that you didn`t fully appreciate the good playing from the remainder of the band in their particular performance. The focus of the Adjudicators was concentrated on the overall performance, and it will have only become slowly clear to them as the performance progressed that the band were probably lacking in numbers, particularly on percussion. Adjudicators had no idea how many players were on stage and rightly so. Even so, an even handed and fair adjudication was delivered - taking into consideration all they heard (or did not hear), as against only what you could see.
  3. I would venture to suggest that your claim only 25% of the percussion part was played because there was only one out of four players is inaccurate. In my experience of this kind of thing, every effort would have been made to integrate as much percussion as possible onto one player therefore I would suggest that considerably more than 25% would have been played".

We all know that the discussion about contest results can be heated with frequent complaints about results that have not gone to a particular bands liking.

In this instance ABBA has hopefully reassured percussionists that their part is important and is taken into consideration, and that adjudicators should take account of what they don't hear, along with what they do.

Source: ABBA
Article tagged: ABBA, Adjudication, Percussion

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