Why is third part so important?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by JZSYami, Nov 8, 2012.

  1. Cornyandy

    Cornyandy Fortissimo User

    Jan 9, 2010
    East Yorkshire
    Have you tried asking the band director why you are stuck on the third part it could be something that you can practice on specifically or it could be that they feel you are too shy and maybe need a confidence injeciton.
  2. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    These comments make perfect sense if you assume that 3rd is any less important than 1st chair - have you not understood all the other posts in this thread? 3rd chair is a musical ingredient not a ranking of accomplishment. Consider, you may well have been the very best musical ingredient for your particular band - don't add salt when sugar makes the mixture better.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2012
  3. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I most always find the tonic of chords boring. It's the third, fourths (augmented), fifths (flatted/sharped), ninths that color the sound. The third part adds color. Without color, you just get the sound of black and white.
  4. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    It's real easy to play the lead melody, but a challenge to play to play the 2nd, 3rd, and sometimes a 4th part harmony well and IMO only better players can do the latter as such should be played. So many lead players "burn out" (or graduate).
  5. schleiman

    schleiman Piano User

    May 12, 2010
    Austin, TX
    Ask your director if you can try 2nd or 1st, or at least ask for copies of those charts so you can practice playing that part and you can sub if anyone goes out. People don't usually give you raises, you have to make it known that you want them.
  6. edfitzvb

    edfitzvb Forte User

    Jun 10, 2008
    Woodlawn, VA
    SO MANY good comments here. This has turned into a great thread for younger players to ponder. Supporting parts are more fun than scales and arpeggios. They are a wonderful way to develop attacks, phrasing, dynamics, etc. in the context of the chord stucture and melody. Enjoy it while you are continuing to improve your skill set.
  7. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Part of the problem is that schools put the better players on the higher parts and the weaker players on the lower parts, almost without exception. When my band director took the top six chairs and put two on first, two on second, and two on third... that was not popular at all, even though it made perfect sense.

    Tom (third chair at the time)
  8. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    Has anybody mentioned intonation? Inner parts are what make the chords ring (or not). You have to listen carefully and adjust your pitch so that your sound complements the overtones in the 1st players sound. Does your band director uses chorales for warm-ups? You can really hear, experiment with pitch until you hear that magic sound of all the partials locking in. It takes all the players listening to do this and it is a wonderful sound and feeling.
  9. jengstrom

    jengstrom Pianissimo User

    Oct 17, 2009
    Rochester, NY
    As previous posters have pointed out, there is an art to playing the lower parts. They fill out the sound harmonically. Done correctly, they make the first player sound better and actually make it easier on him/her. Third part, in particular, can also have movement that 1st and 2nd don't, making it a very interesting part to play. Those of us who are harmony junkies love it.

    That said, there is a tendency for band directors to put the people they consider the best on 1st, then 2nd, and finally third. A caste system is created. Everyone knows who the top dog is, and if you're not the lead dog the view is always the same. This is true not only in public schools, but in colleges and community bands too, and this is unfortunate. Directors who do this do their own bands a disservice because they could be so much better with fuller, stronger sections. I like the idea of rotating parts (and I play first almost all the time). The lower stuff is fun and satisfying unless you're shuffled there as part of the caste system.

  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Did I miss the reference or is there gender bias, or other bias/prejudice, in part assignments. Does Sammy play first part because his father bought the band a new Sousaphone, or that Sammy is the son of anypone employed by the school system? Perhaps, Sammy is the son of the auto dealer that gave the band director an extra 'discount'. I for one am not gullible or naive, such has already happened in some bands and there is the propensity that it will happen in more.

    I apologize for the usage of the name "Sammy", but in this context it is used ficticiously without bias or prejudice.

    Thinking back, I asked myself why I was in the high school band when I was only in 8th grade and have concluded that such was only because I had been given additional private tutoring by the band director and that there was a need ... but I played 2nd, 3rd and 4th parts for the following three years ... but I was elated just to be a member of the band.

    I still don't think a school board would allow part assignments be given based on the draw from a deck of cards or a draw from the hat, but the 4 boys I'm tutoring agreed to, and thought it was fun to draw straws to play the 4 parts for their upcoming performance Christmas eve ... their first time playing 4 part music and only in the second year they've been studying to play the trumpet. This is an arrangment, that was piano music that I've transposed for Bb trumpet including the conversion of the bass clef to treble clef. (Yes, I've found that sometimes this latter works ... and sometimes it does not), but in classical music, occasionally I've encountered where the composer did it OK.

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