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Topic: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

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  1. #1
    Mayor
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    Jan 2005
    Location
    nr Manchester, England
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    138

    Smile Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    Hi everyone,
    I received my copy of Gary's wonderful Concert & Marching Band library recently and I've now had a chance to explore it a bit. I was 'doodling' at the keyboard recently, when I came up with a tune I haven't heard for some 40 years and I thought it would be a good exercise for me to check out this latest library. I grew up in several British Brass Bands before I went on to study tuba at the RNCM in Manchester, and so this piece is scored for GB Brass Band.

    It's an wonderfully sentimental old 'tearjerker' called 'Smiling Through' and I was fortunate enough to hear it played exquisitely by James Shepherd with the world famous Black Dyke Band on a few occasions back in the 60s when he was their Principal Cornet Player and I was still at school.

    This short Intro & 2 verse version is my own - (although maybe subliminally somewhere close to the old version Dyke used to perform), extemporized track by track in Sonar, and all instruments are the solo versions except the 2Tuba ensembles. Reverb is the Large Hall in Pantheon.

    In, general British Brass Band players play with varying degrees of vibrato, - it's one of the things which characterizes them, so I've used the very useful CC17 and poly aftertouch (simply entered in the piano roll view) to approximate this. (Not on the basses (tubas) though.
    Anyway - get your hankerchiefs out and get ready to dry your eyes while listening to my rendition of Arthur A. Penn's (1918) song, Smiling Through

    Best regards,

    John

  2. #2

    Re: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    Ah now that was just great, John - sniff sniff - It really is a sweet old tune.

    And you have your new CMB library sounding very nice here. Isn't it the greatest fun?

    I appreciate the background you gave us on the music, and how you noodled your way into your first project using the new library.

    Great stuff--Thanks for posting it!

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)

  3. #3

    Re: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    Very nice rendition. Very sentimental, which is not something I usually associate with a brass band! Keep 'em coming.
    --gary shannon
    Spooks! - The Movie

  4. #4

    Re: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    Nice job. I like it. Thanks for posting.

    The vibrato sounds very unnatural. It's too strong and "warbly". Live instrumentalists don't use vibrato on EVERY note as you have done. Notes of short duration require NO vibrato.

    Regards,

    Larry

    Larry G. Alexander
    www.alexandermusic.com

  5. #5
    Mayor
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    Location
    nr Manchester, England
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    138

    Re: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser-
    Ah now that was just great, John - sniff sniff - It really is a sweet old tune.

    And you have your new CMB library sounding very nice here. Isn't it the greatest fun?

    I appreciate the background you gave us on the music, and how you noodled your way into your first project using the new library.

    Great stuff--Thanks for posting it!

    Randy B.
    (rbowser)
    Thanks Randy, yes it certainly is fun - It's got great hidden depths. Hope the old tissue didn't get too sodden!

    Quote Originally Posted by fiziwig
    Very nice rendition. Very sentimental, which is not something I usually associate with a brass band! Keep 'em coming.
    Thanks too Gary. Ooh they can be ultra sentimental... in fact they can (and do) perform right across the spectrum - there's many a lump in the throat in a brass band concert

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry G. Alexander
    Nice job. I like it. Thanks for posting.

    The vibrato sounds very unnatural. It's too strong and "warbly". Live instrumentalists don't use vibrato on EVERY note as you have done. Notes of short duration require NO vibrato.

    Regards,

    Larry
    Glad you liked it Larry. I guess you wouldn't be too keen on GB Bands though because that's exactly what they do. The old warble's there from beginning to end. There must be 30 bands in a 10 mile radius of where I live I've probably played in most of them! ) and the wobble's there. You only get rid of it when you move into orchestral circles - it's frowned on there of course. Tubas don't do it - although as a Euphoniumist prior to doing Tuba at college & professionally, I had to stop the vibrato when I made the change.
    The night before I started this piece, I'd just hosted a Championship Section Brass Band concert at my Town Hall, and I listened very carefully to the band's individuals with an eye to capturing the effect as closely as possible, - and don't think I'm too far away.
    Thanks for your comments.

    Regards

    John

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2004
    Location
    Wilton, NH
    Posts
    2,450

    Re: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    I’m not familiar with the tune, but I like this arrangement. Very well done. The vibrato did sound different to my ear at first – very heavy, almost a tremolo – but as I got into the song I realized I had heard that type of sound before and I did enjoy it.
    Trent P. McDonald

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    May 2006
    Location
    Penfield (Rochester), NY
    Posts
    1,719

    Re: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    John,

    This is a really great brass band rendering. Even though I am not familiar with this tune I must say that you have applied the CMB supurbly here, right down to the heavy vibrato so characteristic of the British brass bands. Thanks for sharing it with the forum.

    Gary

    www.garybricault.com

  8. #8
    Mayor
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    nr Manchester, England
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    Re: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    Quote Originally Posted by trentpmcd
    I’m not familiar with the tune, but I like this arrangement. Very well done. The vibrato did sound different to my ear at first – very heavy, almost a tremolo – but as I got into the song I realized I had heard that type of sound before and I did enjoy it.
    Hi Trent,

    Thanks so much for listening and I'm grateful for your comments. Glad you enjoyed this piece.

    Best,

    John

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryBric
    John,

    This is a really great brass band rendering. Even though I am not familiar with this tune I must say that you have applied the CMB supurbly here, right down to the heavy vibrato so characteristic of the British brass bands. Thanks for sharing it with the forum.

    Gary

    www.garybricault.com
    Hi Gary,

    Thank you for your positive comments - really appreciated - especially with your well regarded experience & expertise in this area. As I said, I haven't heard the tune myself for about 40yrs but I suppose it's still played in BB circles and I know there are one or two vocal recordings still around (from googling info about it).
    The vibrato thing is really all down to what you're used to. I suppose it could come from the fact that there are no woodwind in the our bands (OK we do have military bands too but they're far fewer) and the bare brass without Vibrato, especially to British ears tends to sound quite flat (not pitchwise) and lifeless without more tonal texture of the w/w to play with.
    I'm not sure whether the brass in military bands here play with vibrato - it's a good while since I heard one - but I suspect they may possibly do.

    I corresponded with Gary on the subject of British bands' instrumentation and I'm really excited that he agreed to consider doing an 'upgrade'. I suggested that he's already almost given us a full complement of individual instruments for the British Band writer - the only ones 'missing' are two individually sampled 2nd cornets, two third cornets and a Repiano cornet. With the inclusion of those, as I say we'd have a full set of individual players with all the individual expression that would make possible - quite breathtaking.
    He said he'll talk to Tom about it In any event it's a superb library (as are all things Garritan)

    Once again thanks for your kind comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the piece.

    Best regards,

    John.

  9. #9

    Re: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    Very nicely done, John! I really enjoyed it.

    I must point out to Larry and others that this vibrato style is not unnatural - it is very idiomatic to British brass band music, and John has imitated it amazingly well. It can sound strange to us Americans - but don't blame the library or the arranger! This style has been in use over there for nearly as long as we've had concert bands over here.

  10. #10

    Re: Smiling Through - A GB Band version using C&MB

    I'll second that about the vibrato.

    Though they use LESS these days than I heard on recordings from the 50s, the vibrato is still a characteristic of the brass band style.

    When I lived in Lincolnshire in 1989-90 (or was it 88-89?) I got to play solo euphonium with a couple of bands, including one that rehearsed in the upstairs of a pub. The conductors always wanted MORE VIBRATO from me when I had solo bits to play.
    Also--when I played with the band that rehearsed in the upstairs of the pub, I used to BEG to play 2nd baritone because it had so much rest, and the proprietor of the pub kept our pints full during rehearsal. For those who understand such things, this band NEVER advanced above the 4th section while I was there!

    FWIW, I played with a section 4 band in Grantham and a Section 2 band in Aberystwyth...man was that band GGGGGOOOOODDDD!!!

    Jim
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

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