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Why are different ensembles and performances successful?

For BTEC level 3 Music
by

Alfie Wright

on 2 February 2013

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Transcript of Why are different ensembles and performances successful?

Venezuelan Youth Orchestra
Perpetuum Jazzille
Enter Shikari How different music ensembles are succesful The Venezuelan Youth Orchestra The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra (Venezuelan Youth Orchestra), named after the Venezuelan national hero Simón Bolívar, is the collection of the very best young musicians from the nation's network of orchestras. There are well over 100 members of the orchestra, which includes various sections such as the brass ensemble and strings ensemble.
The orchestra is highly organised, as it would need to be with this many members, and the organsation of rehearsal times etc is often carried out months in advance in order to ensure the presence of all who are needed. The organisation of the orchestra is so fundamental that serious penalties await members who do not attend rehearsal or arrive unprepared. Because of this discipline, it is very rare for any to miss a rehearsal. Once a schedule is made, it is kept to by all members of the orchestra.
Another important part of the orchestra is communication during a performance through and musical interaction. In the video we can see the orchestra performing Leonard Bernstein's "Mambo" in Caracas, Venezuela. Musical interaction between players and also between the orchestra and the audience is incredibly fundamental to this performance through "Call and Response": in the video we can see different sections of the ensemble playing the same tune one after the other which is successful as it shows contrast between sections of the ensemble. Furthermore, call and response is used between the orchestra playing a tune as a cue for the audience to shout "mambo" is highly entertaining as it gets the audience involved in the audible elements of the performance, meaning the audience is helping to create the spectacle of the performance. Other aspects of communication with with audience is the way the audience is encouraged to chant and clap along with the music and the way the sections of the ensemble who are not involved in certain parts of the piece seem to dance and sway with their instruments, which makes the overall spectacle and sight of the performance awe-inspiring. This also shows good listening skills, as the parts of the orchestra who are dancing need to listen carefully to know when to come in, as does the entire orchestra to keep time and composure during the performance. As part of the orchestra, rehearsal is very important to ensure a high standard performance every time. To rehearse, performers first practise at home individually before coming together in sections. Then, when each section is ready, the orchestra comes together as a whole. To make sure the orchestra functions perfectly on each performance, the rehearsal schedule is incredibly rigid and busy. Members of the orchestra must practise every day.
The repetoire of the orchestra focuses mainly on high impact orchestra pieces, such as the performance seen in the video, although it is not unknown for the ensemble to perform classical pieces also. This is a strong musical ensemble as each of the orchestra's performances manages to engage the audience in some way, and provides an incredible spectacle of entertainment. The Venezuelan Youth Orchestra Perpetuum Jazzile Perpetuum Jazzile is a Slovenian choir that performs jazz and popular music. The choir consists of both female and male singers and occasionally musicians from the RTV Slovenia Big Band will join them as well as Slovenian pop stars such as Alenka Godec.
As well as the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra, Perpetuum are also incredibly organised. In order to perform with composure and in correct timing, he choir uses a conductor, as does the youth orchestra. By using a conductor, the orchestra and the choir are both able to keep in time and the dynamics of the performances can be easily controlled. The conductor is a highly important person in the organisation of the choir. Organisation is also important in the everyday life of the choir when making sure everyone is able to attend rehearsals. Often, the choir will have numerous performances and shows to sing at in a week and it is crucial that the choir are properly organised to ensure each member of the choir is fully prepared for the performance.
This is where keen rehearsal is necessary. In contrast with the orchestra, rehearsal for the choir begins as an ensemble. This is because the choir perform massively varied interpretations of popular music, often A Capella. Therefore it is necessary for the choir's senior members to discuss how the interpretation will work before solo rehearsal commences. Once the choir members and any session musicians are fully aware of the structure of the interpretation, the choir will then rehearse individually before coming together again as an ensemble. Often, different choir members will play the voice of different instruments when the choir delivers an A Capella performance and one technique these members will undergo listening to the instrument play the song before recreating it using only the human voice, to try and give the best interpretation of the instrument as possible. Perpetuum Jazzile Perpetuum Jazzile's repertoire is primarily jazz and pop music, interpreted into either an A Capella version or a, instrumented-assisted jazz choir performance. Here we can see a pop song from the 80's, Africa by Toto, being recreated into a live A Capella performance.
One of the most important elements of any choir such as Perpetuum Jazzile is communication, mainly between the conductor and the members of the choir. Communication is highly important as it ensures the choir keep in time with each other, and it also means the conductor can adjust the dynamics of the ensemble accordingly, should he need to. At the start and end of the video we can also see some interaction between the audience and the choir, as the choir imitate the sound of a thunder storm in order to impress the crowd. This also shows communication between the members of the coir and the
conductor as great timing and listening skills are needed when the choir members jump to create a rippling thunder sound effect.
As well as the orchestra, this ensemble has many strengths and few weaknesses. The choir are incredibly organised and manages to deliver an entertaining performance every time due to the abstract interpretations they have on popular music. Enter Shikari Enter Shikari are a British post-hardcore group formed in 2003 in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The band is named after a boat belonging to the lead vocalist of the band's uncle. Their debut album, Take to the Skies was released in the March of 2007 and in the official UK Album chart it peaked at number 4. The band has four members; Roughton "Rou" Reynolds (Lead vocals, synthesiser, electronics, acoustic guitar), Liam "Rory" Clewlow (Guitar, Backing Vocals), Chris Batten (Bass, backing vocals) and Rob Rolfe (Drums, backing vocals).
As a four-piece band, organisation is not as critical as it is with the orchestra and with the Slovenian choir, although as it is an important factor when considering the success of any ensemble, it still plays a part in Enter Shikari. For example, as the band use a lot of electronics during both recording work and live performances, it is incredibly important to plan sound checks etc in order to have the levels of the equipment properly set up. Also, it is necessary to make sure the band have all the equipment they need with them at all times. Roadies are a common way of making sure the band has all their equipment, and Enter Shikari are known to use them when moving their equipment from place to place such as from one concert to the next while on tour.
A key part of Enter Shikari's performances is the communication between the band and the audience. This can be seen in the video as, in order to engage the crowd the lead singer will often talk directly to the crowd, such as when he asks the crowd to put their hands in the air. This helps to increase the familiarity of the performance, which means the audience are more engaged. Also, as part of the structure of the song, there is communication between the guitarist and singer through shouting at each other, which creates a wild atmosphere that fits in with the band's genre of electronica-metal. Enter Shikari Enter Shikari Record and Perform a repertoire consisting entirely of original songs, and have a main genre of "post-hardcore" while integrating elements of other genres such as metal, rock and electronica. Enter Shikari have also been known to perform with other artists such as dubstep producers, Nero, when performing alternative versions of their songs. Also, The four band members form a parody Jazz band "Johnny and the Snipers" who interpret Enter Shikari's songs in a spoof fashion. The parody jazz band is named after of of Enter Shikari's songs, "Johnny Sniper". Rehearsal, as with any ensemble is important, and in Enter Shikari normally begins with each band member practising individually after the band comes together to write the song, and develop its structure. After this, the band comes together to rehearse before attempting some draft recordings in the studio. Within the band's genre, Enter Shikari are highly successful as a band because of their ability to experiment with the rules of the genre's "rules". Shikari are a band who are continuously in development, providing a fresh listening experience with each new album. A Bad Performance Here we can see a cover band making a terrible effort to cover Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb. There are several reasons why this performance is weak in comparison with that of the likes of Enter Shikari or the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra. Firstly, the band's members have little in the way of communication with each other, including the poor listening skills which they present. These two factors combined result in the poor timing you can hear between the band members in this performance. Also, it is clear that some of the band members are not even fully aware of the structure of the song or even how to play the chord progression of the song. This could be because of lack of rehearsal. By organising a rehearsal schedule and sticking to it, this band may have been able to improve their performance slightly.
As well as these elements, the band members clearly have little co-operation. This is seen in the way the "vocalist" looks at his back line in disapproval of the performance they are giving. Overall then, the performance is incredibly weak thanks to poor preparation and a completely dead-pan atmosphere to the performance. Also, of course, the lack of musical talent is a contributary factor. What makes a good one? High musical talent is not sufficient on its own to make a good performance. There are various others factors that affect the success of a performance also, such as organisation and preparation through rehearsal. Above all though, communication is key to securing a strong and entertaining performance. This can be communication through musical interaction between players, or even through interaction with the audience. High communication and satge presence can engage the audience, and make the performance much more enjoyable to watch. This is the reason why groups such as Enter Shikari, Perpetuum Jazzile and The Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra are succesful. Without just one of these factors however, the performance can become dry, or even boring. Therefore it is necessary for any ensemble to ensure high levels of organisation, preparation and communication aside from just musical talent in order to give a successful performance. Introduction In this presentation I will be exploring the various elements that are necessary in making a musical ensemble successful - some of these elements include rehearsal, communication and organisation. In order to better demonstrate what makes a musical ensemble successful, I will be using example videos of successful ensembles and explaining why they are successful. These example ensembles are Perpetuum Jazzille, Enter Shikari and the Venezuelan Youth Orchestra. However I have also included in this presentation an example of a bad performance by a less than successful ensemble, a poor tribute band who attempt to cover a number by Pink Floyd.
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