Brass Expo on October 22nd, 2016
Information for the 2017 Dublin Youth Brass Band Spring Course coming soon!
The Dublin Youth Brass Band is an exciting opportunity for middle and high school students of any musical level to experience brass banding in a comfortable environment.
For more information about this group, contact Dr. Patrick Herak, Dublin Youth Brass Band Manager, at DublinYouthBB@gmail.com.
What is a brass band?
A traditional British brass band calls for a specific combination of brass instruments along with a percussion section.
Unlike traditional wind bands which use trumpets and French horns, the brass band makes use of cornets and E-flat tenor horns for these voices. The design of all the instruments in the brass band can be simplified to say that they are all different sizes of essentially the same conical-bore instrument. with the obvious exception of the trombone.
This homogeneity allows for a rich and balanced sound that cannot be duplicated in other ensembles. Interestingly, part of the tradition calls for all the parts for brass band music to be written in the treble clef. from soprano cornet all the way down to tuba. The only exception is the bass trombone, which is written in the bass clef.
One of the reasons for the very specific instrumentation of a brass band is the very strong and popular tradition of contesting and competition. In a brass band contest only the set number of players are allowed on stage.
Contest types vary across not only Britain, but the world. Competition serves not only as a yardstick to measure an ensemble’s quality and progress, but also as strong motivation for the musicians to improve as individuals and stay at the top of their game.
In these competitions bands are ranked based on performances in previous contests and classified into what are called sections.
In the lower sections, as bands continue to develop, the March & Hymn contest holds a priority, as it allows groups to choose their pieces and work on the fundamental sound of a brass band.
The top contests often require all the bands (often numbering from 12-25 competing groups) to play the same “set piece” or “test piece” of music, in order to create a more level playing field.
The other high-profile contest format is the entertainment contest, in which bands are rewarded for fine playing, strong soloists, and innovative performances.
Cornets – Trumpet players can easily switch to the Cornet. Students may audition for Solo Cornet or Soprano Cornet.
Flugelhorn – Trumpet players can easily switch to the Flugelhorn. Students must audition for this part.
E-flat Tenor Horns – French Horn and Trumpet players can switch to the Tenor Horn. Students may audition for Solo Horn.
Euphoniums and Baritones – Euphonium and Baritone players can choose which part to play. Students may audition for Solo Euphonium and 1st Baritone.
Trombones – Trombone players. Students may audition for 1st Trombone and Bass Trombone.
E-flat and F Tubas (also called Basses) – Tuba students can choose to play either part. Note: A tuba pitched in E-flat or F is not required.
Percussion – Percussion students will rotate parts around the section. Students may audition for Principal Percussionist.