Archive for May, 2011

The Musical Chair

A good band can have a better sound by manipulating the seating arrangement! Which will make your band sound great!

Principle no.1
Wind instruments does not work like String instruments. That why in an orchestra context, you see the string sections will squeeze together, and the wind sections will sit far apart from each other. String instruments will still sounds good because it can cross-resonate, where wind instrument can’t. Wind instruments requires a certain “sonic estate” for individual tone to develop on stage before it travels out to the audience.

Try using your current seating plan but have the musicians to sit closer to each other. Play a hymn-like or chorale-like song. After that, have them to space out, probably a chair distance away from each other, and play the same passage. Be astonished! 😀

Principle No.2
Our ear does not hear every frequency evenly, even the microphone don’t!
Here a frequency response chart of a Neumann U87 (One of the best microphone in the world)

Here a chart that shows human ear does not response to all frequency evenly

Hence, whenever you have a melody that is doubled in octaves, you should make the lower octave sounds 2/3 and the higher octave sounds 1/3 in volume, which could simply means, if you have 3 equally strong player, 2 of them would play the lower octave, and 1 of them will play the high octave.

However, if you have equal parts for the same melody, which means 50%-50%, the listener will perceive as 2/3 top and 1/3 bottom.

Another problem with our ear is that our ear hold on to higher pitch for a longer time. So my solution to this is that never end the last note together, but play the last note together.


Here a recording before a wind band sings
Bb Harmony Part 1

Here a recording during a wind band sings
Bb Harmony Part 2

Here a recording after a wind band sings
Bb Harmony Part 3

Isn’t the answer obvious? 🙂

Why do you sing?
Singing helps you to internalize pitch. It gives you more confident when you are playing a piece of music. If you have the mental pitch inside your head, is like you know what going to happen = confident, and vice versa.

The solution to get a sonorous sound is by balance and tuning the chords to the fundamental of the harmonic series. Of course, with a listening ear from the musicians will do a better job.

If you can’t sing = you can’t play = you can’t perform!
If you can’t sing = you can’t buzz = you can’t play = you can’t perform (Brass players)

Of course, there are exception to it. But these are just general guideline for most secondary school band members 🙂