Do you play in pit orchestras?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by ErnestTheBass, Apr 27, 2018.

  1. jmlee

    jmlee Catgut? Not funny. Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Bob_Ross and CGremlin like this.
  2. pdbass


    Jan 2, 2007
    Reviving an old thread...with a new vid.

    Pencils, Page Turns, and Prep: Marking Up a Broadway Bass Book
    CGremlin likes this.
  3. Billyzoom

    Billyzoom Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2011
    Bay Area
    My playing is the pits, if that counts.
  4. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Did a dozen or so pit jobs when I was young in my twenties in the 70’s (now 70’s in the 20’s), fun gigs. Memorized the score so I would just play along watching the antics on stage as the actors made faces and goofed on one another during the show.

    about 10-15 years ago I did “Menopause” at a small theater, had some good bass lines too. Don’t miss it particularly but it is one of those reliable gigs where you punch in, lay down your lines and go home.
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  5. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    I've always photocopied the book first so it stays clean. I can also do physical cuts, inserts and rearrangements on the copy. Digital editing produces the cleanest parts.

    My theatre work has usually been in small pits, where there are far too few instruments to cover all the parts, so I typically ask for other bass-clef books and look for passages to supplement the bass part and cover more of the territory. Tuba of course (if there is one), bone, bass clarinet and sax, cello, baritone and French horns, and guitar parts can provide important, tasty bits where bass is otherwise unoccupied. Again, I'll copy them and edit them into the bass book. This may seem like a lot of extra work, but a clean book in front of me reduces opportunities for confusion and simplifies the whole show. I still keep those pencils on hand, of course.
  6. smeet

    smeet Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Just before the pandemic hit, I was about to start rehearsal for a local production of Seussical (the Dr. Seuss musical of course). I decided to get hip, so I got all set for the first time with an iPad, Firefly page-turning pedal, Apple pencil for markup, yeah.

    Maybe it will happen again soon...
  7. Steven Ayres

    Steven Ayres Supporting Member

    Mar 11, 2007
    Northern Arizona
    I have a biggish tablet, but It doesn't seem anything like big enough for most scores. I want to have at least two pages up, pedal or not. Does the tablet work well for you in that regard?
  8. smeet

    smeet Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Woodland Hills, CA
    I never got to use it in outside my practice room, so I can’t say for sure. I can see two pages if I turn it sideways, but then the notation gets pretty small for my olden eyes. At home, running through the cues with a recording, it seemed fine. But my face has to be relatively close to the screen.

    So it’s great in concept, but it would be much nicer if I had an ultra wide 17” iPad. ;)
  9. Pat Harris

    Pat Harris Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2006
    Austin, TX
    I’ve played in many pits at various levels— high school productions to touring productions like “Wicked.”

    There’s a certain zen headspace I like and appreciate about playing the same thing, 8 shows a week, and trying to always make it perfect and tight.

    If the score calls for a drum kit, and the drummer is on point, it’s going to be a good time.

    The only potential drag is that sometimes the scheduling looks great on paper, “All of November is booked with this show!” and that’s when the big money one-off gigs decide to call and you have to pass.
  10. matthewbrown

    matthewbrown Supporting Member

    Jan 7, 2003
    Harwich, MA, USA
    I enjoy the work, although it's not what I'm best at playing. I find the usual pit orchestra setup that I get to play doesn't allow enough time for rehearsal. Pit gigs for bassists around here don't play particularly well, because it's all community theater work or school work. I played one classic musical for a private school that was ...sad. I felt sorry for the kids, because they had not rehearsed enough, didn't know their lines or the blocking and the show went off the rails. Also, the drummer was on his cell phone during some of the tunes...
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