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Suggested Reading

1. Rehearsal Rooms

Struggling to improve the acoustics in your band room? Check out how the Medan Band did it.

2. Concerned about playing swing music properly?

Check out my guidelines

3. Ear training exercises for bands

Unlike piano players, ear training is essential for wind band performers. But how many band directors bother to give their bands suitable exercises?

4. Intonation problems

While tuning is simple act of adjusting a length of tubing on a wind instrument (often by reference to a single note), intonation is an ongoing process in which a player strives to match the pitch of others in the ensemble during performance. 

5. “Blowing” a wind instrument

A common misconception among wind players is to believe that the air moves through the instrument in order to produce the sound. This is simply not true. 

6. Conducting – suggestions for home practice

The best way for a conductor to improve is in front of a live ensemble. The unfortunate reality, however, is that this is not always possible. Aspiring conductors therefore have little choice but to find other ways of honing their skills.

 

General Comments

Adam Gorb's Awayday is a high energy concert piece written in the jazz tradition. Unfortunately, it is not easy to play or conduct. As a result, young bands - as well as their conductors - sometimes tend to focus on overcoming the technical difficulties involved in playing the piece at the expense of trying to understand its many interpretative aspects. Structural analysis is certainly not easy. Key signatures are not indicated, and much of the piece is in any case written in constantly changing keys and modes. Moreover, while the work broadly follows the traditional sonata form, Gorb has broken it into sections for the convenience of rehearsal rather than formal analysis.

Analysis is very complex.
Sonata form has been typical of overtures and the first movements of instrumental pieces since the Classical period.  Typically, there are three sections – exposition, development and recapitulation.  However, many such works also have a brief introduction before the exposition and a coda after the recapitulation.  This is the general format chosen by Adam Gorb.  He also appears to have added bridging passages between the exposition and development, and the development and the recapitulation.  In fact, the whole piece is punctuated with little interludes and bridges, making analysis quite complex.

The following discussion assumes that you have a copy of the score in front of you and have at least some familiarity with the fundamentals of harmony and musical form. It would also be helpful to jot down the bar numbers on your copy for ease of reference, since I refer to both section and bar numbers extensively during the discussion.

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