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In the pit for my "Concert in Oz"

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Pause, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. Pause


    Jun 4, 2003
    Miami, FL
    So I've landed a gig with a theatre affiliated with my university. It's called "Concert in Oz". It's going to feature songs from "The Wizard of Oz", "The Wiz", and "Wicked." The other day I got my great big book of music... piano scores.

    "Just read off the bass clef," is what I was told.

    As I can read very well, this isn't a problem. It just means that I have to turn pages a lot and transpose octaves. Does this ever bother anyone else?

    Also, has anyone here ever played in the orchestra for any of these musicals?
  2. matt bass

    matt bass

    Apr 28, 2003
    Staffs, England
    Have played the Wizzard of Oz in my schools orchestra. It was my first time in a musical orchestra, but it was a great time, and really helped my reading, although i still cant sight read to a great extent.

    Have fun

  3. Dynna


    Oct 23, 2004
    Sure would be nice if the musical director was on top of it and actually knew something about your instrument besides the fact that the bass notes are hidden somewhere in the bass clef. Maybe they'd actually spring for a bass score, as opposed to walking into the music store and saying..."Oh yeah, we have a bass player too. Make that TWO copies of the piano score. He'll be fine. His part is on the bottom right?"
  4. Pause


    Jun 4, 2003
    Miami, FL
    Well, for musicals, I have come to understand that the instrument scores are always rented. When I did Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, and Oklahoma!, they were rentals and there was always writing in them already from previous users.

    It's not a musical, but a concert with songs from those three musicals.

    But yes, it would be nice if more effort was made to get the other instrument scores.

    Oh, I also found that the guy who I got this gig through wants me to play for Little Shop of Horrors in the spring. it's awesome; i'm doing the only thing i liked in high school except getting paid for it this time
  5. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    the wiz is cool. did it last november.

    Sounds to me like its just bits of music they've cobbled together from various sources w/o paying any fee from hence why you don't have a propor bass score.

    I would do the following (if you can be bothered)

    Get hold of songs you are doing off cast recordings (I have all the wiz ones if you need).

    Listen to them thru with the piano score and just rescore your own parts using sibelius or summat.

    Pos quite a bit of work but it'l save you just doubling the piano bass part(boring!) and probably be quite a good little exercise in transcription etc

    Failing that just ring up the MD and tell him to stop being a loser and give you a 'real' score...

  6. I played "The Wizard of Oz" in community theatre this time last year. Can be fun, can get very monotonous after you've played it ten times. Well, that's true of just about every show too, but not all.

    Hopefully your Dorothy can sing! Nothing worse than an insipid or bad rendition of "Rainbow". (I'm spoiled from hearing Eva Cassidy singing it- it will never be the same.)

    Typically, theatre groups have one licensing fee they pay to get the scores for a show- and they get ALL of them- you normally can't get the scores ala carte. I remember a piano-utility keys-bass-drums show I played several years ago, and the music director had three big boxes of scores sitting there during rehearsals- saying "What a waste!" It depends on which of the music houses the scores are rented from. I think both Tams-Witmark and MTI require the full set of scores for most of their shows.

    It's very annoying to have to play from a piano score. I completely agree. I've done it before for select songs in a show, but I've never had to play a complete show from a piano score. I think I'd go mad.

    Your group had to do it from piano music, obviously, because what they are mounting is a compilation show. No way could they have rented the scores.

    Yeah, there's just too much extraneous information. Shows can be demanding enough as it is. Having to constantly think what the notes are that are written down below low E. Tied notes played with sustain pedal on, and chords written in bass clef. You have to wade through all that and decide what notes to actually play.

    I would suggest photocopying the piano part, cutting out the bass clef sections and taping them onto blank or waste letter-size paper. Write in the names of the notes below low E. Put the taped-together score pages into plastic three-ring binder sleeves and into a binder. It's a lot of work to do, and only do this if you are playing many performances. It will save you a lot of aggravation. Make sure they reimburse you for your expenses.

    Yes, copyright laws, etc., but I know many musicians who copy scores- NOT for posterity- but just to be able to perform shows with lots of cuts, transpositions, and so on, with some modicum of fluidity.
  7. dodgy_ian


    Apr 9, 2001
    Newcastle, UK
    yup, all v good advice which I second MichealVee and probably should have added onto my post as I've had to do it as well in the past....blooming compilations shows!

  8. I play off piano scores quite often. If I have page turning, octave transposition or key transposition problems, I'll use Finale notepad to write out a bass part for the song.

    Finale notepad is a free download from Finale and will do most everything I need, except allow time signiture changes within a single file.

    It usually allows me to get the bass part on one or two pages, avoiding page turns.

  9. How would it hurt to buy or download the tunes and learn them as if you were learning them for a band gig? Then take that background into the pit and read what you can but fill in with your previous woodshedding from the recordings. I suppose that matching up keys could be a problem but maybe not.
  10. Pause


    Jun 4, 2003
    Miami, FL
    I was given a CD with the songs we'll be playing. Unfortunately, not all of the keys match up and for several songs the sheet music doesn't even match the CD regardless of key. Some are extended versions, some are shorter. Oh well.

    I have my first rehearsal tonight for this. Now I just have to pick up my friend's amp. I really need to get my own