Symphony Self-Assessment 11/11/16

For this assignment you will listen to the attached audio file then write a MINIMUM of three sentences to self-assess the orchestra’s performance.  Please consider the playing of correct notes/rests, tone,

intonation, beat, rhythms, articulation, phrasing, dynamics, and more. When you listen, have your music out and take some notes.

  1. Please be specific.  (A comment such as “We were good” is not specific and will not count.)
  2. Include specific measure numbers when referencing sections of the music. If you have suggestions that might help the orchestra improve, please also include those.
  3. Please comment using your first name and last initial.  (Do not include your full last name!) Your comments will be moderated, so Dr. Laux will have to approve them before they will go live on the website.

This assignment will be counted as a homework grade.

Here is the audio:

41 thoughts on “Symphony Self-Assessment 11/11/16”

  1. There needs to be better balance of volume in places such as at measure 34 where the violas have their melody but the violins are playing too loudly. The cello solo starting at measure 114 rushes at the end so that needs to be held back. High points such as measure 57 and 125 need to be emphasized more. In general, the style is good but I think intonation can be improved and eighth notes can be longer.

  2. This is what I found: At measure 7, some of the cellos played C#s instead of naturals. Many of the entrances after rests were not very solid, such as measure 16 for the cellos. There were some intonation issues in measures 23 and 24 probably because of the C#. The very first g in measure 46 was out of tune for the cellos probably because of a shift from one on the G string to one on the C string in 4th position. There was no evident piano in measure 50(sounded the same as the previous measures). The B in measure 53 was out of tune(I think someone played a B flat but I’m not sure). The part from measure 63 to measure 67 was not together in the cellos(all of us have different parts there so it’s a bit confusing when you’re hearing other entrances and stuff while trying to count and play). Measures 114-119(and the measures with the same phrases for violins) had lots of problems with being together because people started to rush from the 16th notes and others fell behind because of inefficient fingerings- I think the best way for us to fix this would be sectionals for universal fingerings and reviewing the parts(We did some fingering stuff yesterday, but not all the cellos were there to go over the fingerings). Overall, I think the biggest areas of improvement are staying together/not rushing or slowing down, intonation(more of wrong note than out of tune), and dynamic contrast.

  3. The orchestra did well on the sound balance between the sections. For example, being able to clearly hear the 16th note passages. There could have been more clarity in the bow strokes, length, and vibrato in the 8th notes. In the cellos specifically, the phrases starting at 9 and 23 needed better rhythm and intonation. The dynamic contrast could have been more exaggerated, but the energy level stayed throught the piece. Measures 114-120 in the cellos needed to be better in tune and still follow the style of the piece; it seemed a bit awkward. The overall performance could have been better with more phrasing, the correct bow stroke style, and vibrato on more notes.

  4. from measure 114 to 118 everyone was rushing.
    from measure 91 to 98 2nd violins were very out of tune.
    At 35 to 45 the articulation was not good, we were not together.

  5. Right from the start of the piece, there was a slight intonation problem. Also, I think the beginning of the piece can use some more vibrato on the eighth notes because it sounds bland in the recording. In measure 111, the viola melody needs to be brought out more by all of the viola parts. The ending of the piece wasn’t together, we all need to look up and watch Dr. Laux to follow the slight retardando. Overall, it sounds pretty solid but it can still be improved in several ways.

  6. The song started off well with strong and loud notes with longer eighth notes and evenly loud notes at the first melody. However, at the end of measure 15, the first violins had slight intonation problems and it sounded off, which caused them to play quieter. At the middle of measure 40, the violins weren’t together with the sixteenth notes and that caused the articulation to become unclear. I feel like the second violins at the pickup to measure 78 – 80 could be projected more because they have some sort of melody that’s important. Lastly, the violins could be a lot quieter at around measures 114-118 because of the cello melody.

  7. 1. At measure one, we don’t come in together, and overall throughout the song, there is a lack of unity in playing (maybe because nobody breathes). Solution: practice breathing.
    2. There are no dynamics until measure 47, when cellos start to play more quietly, and it seems abrupt and forced. Solution: make and write in dynamics
    3. Measures such as from 67 to 70 aren’t together and places like these require people to breathe/look up to stay together. Solution: choreograph measures that everybody has to look up/breathe at

  8. In measures 7 and 8 it sounded legato-ish rather than something between staccato and legato. The violas really stood out at measure 71 and it was nice to hear. It sounded like there were some intonation issues in the violins at measure 109. The violas sound really shy and scared at measure 129 when they come in alone. I think the dynamics could be a little more dramatic, but I also like the natural swelling and diminishing that happens with certain phrases like at measure 73.

  9. Did not do a good job at keeping together. Parts sound messy, uncertain, and lots of scratchy noises (ex. 39-41, 47-52, 107-110). More dynamic contrast is needed, and the melody needs to come through more. Measures 72-74 there was a bit rushing going on, adhere to the tempo. Notes sound out of tune in many parts and needs to be worked on.

  10. At measure 2-8 the violins could have better intonation. At measure 53 violins need to play with more articulation. At measure 77-80, the orchestra is not together.

  11. The song began with a strong start but the cellos around measure 10-11 became spread apart. The cellos had slight intonation problems on measure 23. However, the 1st violins were on the beat on measure 29 and 30. Unfortunately, the 1st violins were out of tune at measure 44-45. The violas played strong at measure 58-60. The cellos at 114-118 need improvement.

  12. We started the piece with lots of energy, and in my opinion it was a good start. I do think that 1st violins needed to be stronger in measure 9. Additionally in measure 65, the eight rest was not counted therefore we were slightly off. Also starting from measure 91 to 97 the 1st violins needed to be together and the intonation needs improvement. Lastly, from measures 125 to 136 the violins were strong and loud, and the ending sounded great.

    Violins in general could be more quiet around 110-120 as the cello section has the melody.

  13. violins had some intonation issues in the higher range, as well as cellos and basses in the lower register. Violins are overwhelming in some areas. In measures 91 and 92 cellos and basses beware of the rests. Cellos are rushing measure 107. Cellos are dragging their section solo at 114-118. Violins not together at measure 133. be sure to watch at the end.

  14. The song started off pretty well, with the notes in each part sounding well-balanced and even, but there’s still some things to work on. In Measure 8, some players are playing an open D, which makes the overall D sound a little off. In measures 41 and 43-44, the string crossings are difficult to play, and it’s somewhat out of tune. In measure 56, the D# to C# entrance sounds out of tune, probably due to some players (including me) not extending the 4th finger far enough on the G string. As a whole, I think that the eighth notes in the 1st violin section should be slightly lighter and a little less rigid. We also did quite well in some aspects. The overall dynamic range is quite good, with sections playing softer to let other sections bring out their melodies. The beginning was completely together, and the ending sounded very good, as every note was articulated well and played together. Overall, I would work on tune the most.

  15. Many of the viola and cello and bass melodies are hard to hear because all the violins cover them up. For example from measure 33-35, the viola melody is covered up by the violins. This also occurs in measures 17-20, 101-103, and 113-119. Also, there is a lot of rushing occurring when there are sixteenth notes. This is particularly prominent in measures 30-31, 51-52, and 93-95.

  16. The beginning of Brandenburg was together and being played well. Focusing on the 3rd violins, on measure 11, there was apparent dragging. The 1st and 2nds seemed to be together during this part, further exposing this. Also on measure 31 for the 3rd violins, all of the third violins were not together. Finally, at measure 103, it seems that the third violins were dragging and some did not know the notes either. Because of the absence of confidence in 103, some dropped in volume causing an imbalance in volume. Overall the piece is coming together very well. The majority of the time the entire orchestra is giving much attention to the dynamics and intonation. It is just a few parts mentioned above that need work!

  17. We could use some work on the dynamics. The violins were consistently loud throughout the piece or at least I could easily focus my attention. The violins definitely need to be softer at the arpeggio eighth notes and the piano slurred sixteenth sixteenth eighth note (one example of this is in measure 51 of he 1sr violin part). However, this dynamic issue could have been a product of the microphone being closer to the 1st violins.

    Another problem is that in measure 42 (in the 1st violin part) to the end of the phrase, all the other sections were kind of jumbled together. This may be due to the mic, again, being closer to the 1st violins so I couldn’t really hear the other parts well.

    At the very beginning, I could hear a tiny bit of vibrato at the start of each eighth note sixteenth sixteenth. As we progress through the piece, the tiny rig is there as much and the notes just become legato. We shan’t forget this when we play.

  18. I apologize in advance for being very critical.

    Overall the main issue with this piece is staying together and keeping tempo. In measure 31 the first violins are not together. This can be fixed by subdividing into sixteenth notes. At measure 47 the downbeats need to be felt so the entrances can happen at the same time. Subdividing here will also fix this issue. In measure 51-52, the second violin intonation needs to be cleaner. Try playing it backward as Dr. Laux suggested. Measure 51 could also use more movement from the violas. In this recording the eighth notes are boring. Put some sort of dynamic movement into this section. Third Violas in meausre 59 are inaudible. The entrance for violins in measure 64 was not together. Again, subdivide! First and second violins at measure 67-69 check intonation. Play it backward, or make everything a quarter note. Good trill violins at measure 72. Measure 90 and 108 had the most amount of rushing. The tempo picked up in these places. Here it would be best to subdivide and look at Dr. Laux when possible. Also at measure 132, everyone needs to know their entrance. In measure 16, the cellos need to work on entrance timing. And at measure 55, for the cellos, intonation with all the accidentals, as well as in measure 74. For the basses, measure 104 needs cleaner intonation.

    Everyone needs to pay more attention to dynamics. The places where we had piano, had the exact same dynamic as where we had forte. This can be easily fixed by paying attention. The measure going into the last measure was not together. We need to look up for the cue on when to play, so that we play together. Memorize the last few measures so we can look up.

  19. The piece began strongly. However, from 00:25 – 00:28, the some violins started to drag, creating a “blurred” sound. From 00:41 to 00: 48, I liked how together we were and I think it sounded nice. After that (00:49 to 00:51), we started rushing, but we were still together. Oh gosh 00:54- one note clearly stood out, it was out of tune. At around 3:36, I think the violins playing their arpeggiated solo-ish part should play out a bit more, while the other violins play more piano.

    I currently can not find my music oops.

  20. At measure 15, it seemed like the dynamics were different for each of the sections, and it made it sound uneven, where the cellos played very loud and the violins played very quiet. The violins were not together at measure 43 and some people rushed and some people slowed down, causing a ripple in the sound. From measures 91-96, there were a lot of intonation problems in the violas and they were rushing mush faster than the rest of the orchestra.

  21. 26-28 2nd Violins were too quiet for our magnificence to be properly heard, middle of 25 we are supposed to go back to forte and we don’t.
    41 violins either not together or wrong notes because it’s not harmonizing well.
    56 cellos not together and pretty exposed. Because of the lowness of their notes they blend together when not in sync which does not contribute to a pretty sound.
    86 Violin 2’s response/contribution way too quite to be heard unless you were listening for it.
    96 as the measure continues violin 1 gets out of sync and depends on the entrance to 97 to regroup
    114-> cello arpeggio played by very few and bottom slurred notes sound like one drawn out note
    133-134 this is supposed to be leading up to the ending of the piece which is not supposed to disappear into the night. sections scared to come in here so it is too quiet until we all come in at 134.
    Ending on a bright note, whenever multiple sections play forte together we play very confidently with good sound, need to be confident in our entrances and dynamics for the whole piece like we are in those sections.

  22. Overall, I believe the piece was played well, but there are a few spots that need to be fixed. For measures 24-28, I believe the 3rd violins should play out more; you can barely hear the 3rd violins’ part during these measures. Secondly, I believe for the 1st and maybe the 2nd violin, the intonation is a little bit out of tune in measures 40-41. The notes do not match up and they clash with each other. Finally, the 3rd violins need to stick more together and learn the notes properly again in measures 66-70. The 3rd violins are playing the correct notes, but they are not together, causing a big commotion.

  23. We started off loud and together creating a good introduction to the song. At measure 21 the quarter note was cut short by the violins making the phrase seem more abrupt and incomplete. In measure 65, one of the third violins came in a beat early, so we need to count and subdivide more. The third violins could also work on making sure the sharps are in tune in measures 67-71. Lastly, we need to look up during the last measure to make sure that we all end together.

  24. The piece started off very strong, with good intonation and everyone playing together. However around measure 16 the violins became a little more timid and played very quietly, as if they were unsure of the rhythm, notes, or entrance. At measure 60 some of the higher notes were out of tune for the violins. However, the entrances were more confident and the tone very strong. From measure 70 to 74 the notes were slightly out of tune for the violins. Measures 91-96 for the first violins was really together considering how long and fast the section solo is. The viola solo from 101-103 could’ve been more prominent. The violin 1,2,3 solos at 108-110 were out of tune and sounded rushed. The ending’s (measures 135-136) rit. was very messy and not together. However, overall the piece was confidently played and relatively together and in tune.

  25. At measure 18, there was poor intonation throughout the orchestra when the sixth was played. Although the problem existed throughout a few sections and parts, it could be heard most clearly in the violin sections due to the high pitch that they play. The first violas were not confident on their entrance in measure 24 for the forte, and they were not together. On a positive note, the sections have improved on “inviting” other parts to come in by working to blend sounds. However, the orchestra could play more in style with more correct articulation and be more together in intonation and rhythm.

  26. The beginning of the song was well balanced but around measure 43-48, the violins were having intonation issues. The Basses tend to sound mushy when ever a they have to play 16th notes in quick succession. The whole orchestra seemed to be out of tune between measures 66-70, but we quickly got back together. I feel that in general, violins have a hard time staying together in various spots throughout the whole piece. Lastly, the Cellos seem to be too quite in their entrances.

  27. Violins have some intonation issues at measures 20-22 and 67-69. Cellos need more movement when playing straight eighth notes, especially measures 81-86. This can be done by putting accents on the first note of each phrase. Cellos need to have the quarter notes together. They are not always perfectly in tune and not together. It was obvious that not everyone was sure when the notes began which lead to its slight delay.

  28. I think our intonation is by far the area we need to improve in most, perhaps by slowing the piece down in rehearsals. Especially in the violin sections, exposed notes such as those in 8-9, 15-16, and 97-98 seemed pretty off despite the rests before them. Sections also need to work on keeping their faster notes together and with a cleaner tone, notably in places like 30-32 for the violins and 56-57 for the cellos. Even the third to last note didn’t quite sound all together. Although we have a lot to work on, I think we’re playing mostly the right notes at this point and the piece is beginning to truly take shape.

  29. I agree with Anna Z that there were intonation issues in the violins in measures 15, 16, etc. Rhythmically the piece was very strong- especially the beginning, but throughout, all the rhythms synced up well. At this point my only issues would be intonation, particularly any place with sixteenth notes (for any section). Overall, rhythms were great, balance was good (could be better), and intonation was all right (needs some improvement, especially on higher pitched sections and when there are sixteenths).

  30. We sound good but to improve I think that we should work on not sounding too robotic when we are playing and there are some sections in the music that we need to check intonation. When cellos should play their part at measure 114, I think that we should play louder and fix our intonation.

  31. The entire orchestra started out clearly and had a nice forte. The eighth notes sounded long and even because people were using the correct part of their bow. In measures 8-10, where the violas were passing off the melody to the cellos, it seemed that the violas were not exactly confident in their part which made it sound quiet and unclear. The intonation also seemed off. In measures 33-35, the violas should be louder because the quiet playing makes the music seem unclear and the articulation was messy. In measures 54-55, the violins should play a little bit quieter because the violas and cellos are not easy to hear. Finally, in measures 88-90, the violas do not sound clear because of the rushing.

  32. The piece started off really well with a good sound, but as the piece progressed, it was clear that many things needed to be corrected and improved greatly. To state a few, measures 5-10 should have more dynamic change, and the changing notes should be brought out more instead of the repeating D note. Measures 37 to 43 need more accurate intonation in the first and second violins. The sixteenths and eighth notes in measures 67-72 should be tighter together as a group and with more articulation and more accurate intonation. The second violins should play together and have clear bow strokes in measures 103-109. Overall, we need to work the most on playing collaboratively, in tune, and deciding where the melody is so we can bring it out more and make sure we don’t overpower each other.

  33. The beginning of the piece started off well, everyone played on the correct beats, and the melodies were spread out evenly, no one section plays over the other. There could have been a bigger crescendo measures 5-6 (maybe start off softer). In measure 14, the sixteenth notes start to sound a little blurry, but they ended together so that’s good. I think measure 17 (where the piano is) should start off softer, so when the forte comes, there is a bigger contrast. In measures 34-36, the violins play too loud and you can’t really hear the viola’s (or is it cello’s?) melody. 51-54 sounded very together, and you can really hear the dissonance. However, in 87-90, it sounded like every section was playing their own little song, didn’t sound blended. Pick-up to 102, the people playing eight notes should be a lot more softer and quieter because they play over the melody. The same thing happens in measures 111-113, you can’t hear the melody of the sixteenth notes. All in all, I think each section (especially the violins) should listen to what the other sections are playing, (and to remember that 1st violin doesn’t always have the melody!!!)

  34. There were many open strings being played, this created contrasting tones which sounded off and took away from the airiness of the piece like in measure 8. Cellos need to work on intonation in measures 55 and 56, notes were not together making it sound extremely muddled. Second violins need to work on 109 and third violins need to work on 110, due to the fact that the intonation and timing was off in these two measures, the following three measures of eighth notes were not together. Violins need to be confident in the entrance in measure 133. The crispness of the notes and strong entrances created a great overall tone.

  35. The beginning of the song was strong however on the first page there were a few intonation issues around measure 15 to 16. The first violins should definitely be louder for measures 47 to 50, but I feel this is mostly because of the lack of confidence during these measures. Moreover, I feel like we continue to be in first position when we could shift to second or third position for a more thick and vibrant tone such as in measures 51 to 53. The C# in measure 62 was out of pitch, and we sometimes miss our entrances and play on rests such as in 64. The repetitions from 67-70 do not have a consistent pitch. In measure 81, there was one violin that started dragging and playing separate from the group. In measure 109, the forte does not really come out as much as it should, and we should try to keep certain notes on the A string to prevent piercing, high pitches during measures like 108 where there is pianissimo. We need to learn our entrance in measure 133 and remember to follow the conductor near the end where there is a ritardando. Another important note is to manipulate the dynamics, so the sections with the melody can come out more.

  36. I think beginning is great but as we get further in the music it dies out. There are certain parts where we need to focus on like measures 17 and 18 when violas have the melody. Violins need to realize that there are more of us so we need to play extra soft. Also in measure 34-36 violins need to back off so we can really hear violas. Overall I think we should go over who has the melody in which parts in the song. At measures 87-90 i would like to hear more cello and bass at that part. Every section needs to know what dynamics at parts because it just sounds loud throughout the whole song. Its like we are all playing like soloist in a way. We have some intonation problems and we need to watch the conductor at the end of the song.

  37. Down page 3 at measures 147 the first 4 measures of the cello part were weak. As the section of music progressed it evened out but this part definitely needs some practice to fix. Also the cello section does not seem fluent at the 16th notes sections such as that which follows the section of my previous comment. This is most probably due to the fact that if a couple notes are missed, the player loses the flow of the 16th notes and is left stumped or guessing where they are. This can be easily fixed by knowing the parts well and practicing from awkward points of the phrases such as from a measure in to the phrase or from the middle of measures.

  38. The articulation in the beginning of the piece was very good, with the eighth notes being light and clear. The ending was also pretty together and the last note was sustained well. However, one thing we could work one would be better entrances (for example, the violin entrance at measure 10 seems hesitant). Also, we should work to be more aware of where the melodic line is throughout the whole piece. Overall, I think we should work on being more together in entrances and this piece will turn out well.

  39. We do not follow the intonation. Whenever there is a piano we play it as a forto. Also we don’t have a balance between instruments, I could not hear bases at all. First violins needs to work on their cross string parts, because it’s not on point yet. We can improve by practicing.

  40. The beginning of the piece started relatively strong with precise articulation. Overall, the dynamics were not very clear though, specifically m. 43-47. Also, something that was glaringly obvious with the violins was the disconnected string crossings. Being a 3rd violin, I know that clarity and precision is what we are lacking such as in our m. 66-69. As the majority of the piece is under our fingers, I think it will benefit everyone to listen more to the music outside of the classroom to bring in a more musical approach to this. Once the phrases, dynamics and style are precisely together, Brandenburg will sound so much better.

  41. There are some intonation problems around 29-35 in all violins and in 56-58. We are not making really good use of our dynamics in the beginning. We start to rush in measure 114 which makes us start to fall apart a little and we do not sound together. It could have sounded better with people counting in their heads, which I am sure some were but we get off a lot and don’t sound together in parts of the piece.

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