Ensemble Help

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Recently, I have been sort of roped into being a percussionist for my wife's Chinese orchestra ensemble. So far it has been fun, but it is starting to get tougher. We are playing a part with a break. The break is in 2/4, but it has a heavy 7 feel to it. The notation is in X's(strikes) and O's (rests), you can see it pretty easy. OXOXOOXX|OXOXOXXO|XOOXOXXO|OXOXOXXO|...
... da da da dum ... da da da dum... da ... da .. da dum ... da da da dum

What kind of makes my situation difficult(besides only knowing rudimentary Chinese, or chinese music notation), is that they really don't have a principle in the percussion section. I suspect this is why I was recruited in the first place. The erhu(fiddle) and souna(oboe)/dizi(flute) principles are sort of filling in as principle percussionists, and some of the other musicians guzheng(zhither) are filling in too. The part is pretty easy to play, but they seem to think I am not playing it exactly right. So they moved me from the big drum(dagu) to a smaller drum with faster fills, which I kind of like anyway. I think the problem is that the respective erhu(10 people) and souna(7 people) sections are prone to coming in off beat, and the respective principles while helping me with the parts aren't exactly coming in on time themselves. Any suggestions? I can play sevens over eights(not sevens vs eights, seven over eights). I wonder if added some seven over eight feel to the fills if that would help? I think inevitably some people in the sections are going to be playing sevens. I've done aux percussion for big band jazz and drums for combo's, but I thought a three guitar section was difficult to get in on time.
 
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whitecatcafe

Senior Member
Can you somehow get all these musicians to play in time, instead of working around the problem? I can't imagine what everything must sound like...
 

kyle

Senior Member
Get a metronome, set it to 30 beats per minute, and tell them we're going to do it like this until you can do it at speed.
 

whitecatcafe

Senior Member
Get a metronome, set it to 30 beats per minute, and tell them we're going to do it like this until you can do it at speed.
+1

I mean, like... come on!!! And quite frankly, if they object then I don't think you guys should even be performing this piece.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Can you somehow get all these musicians to play in time, instead of working around the problem? I can't imagine what everything must sound like...
I corrected it in the notation. I'm not the conductor and to some extent I think the conductor is somewhat limited by the size of the section, which I gather is par for the course in larger ensembles. Also, this piece has some tempo modulation in it, as well as meter modulation so the metronome would only help so much 2/4->3/4 3/4->2/4 It's actually a really cool piece, I am excited about playing it!
 

kyle

Senior Member
I corrected it in the notation. I'm not the conductor and to some extent I think the conductor is somewhat limited by the size of the section, which I gather is par for the course in larger ensembles. Also, this piece has some tempo modulation in it, as well as meter modulation so the metronome would only help so much 2/4->3/4 3/4->2/4 It's actually a really cool piece, I am excited about playing it!
Meter modulation is no problem. Its really as simple as setting the metronome not to accent the 1.
 
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