Monday, April 21, 2008

An Alternative Form of Brass Chamber Music

Quite a few years ago two of my friends and I formed a euphonium trio. It was for a one time concert, the second half of a senior recital. This trio was a little different from traditional chamber groups, meaning we got our music from 1980's heavy mental/rock bands.  This group consisted of five members: 3 euphoniums, 1 drummer, and one singer. The way the arrangements worked out was the first and second euphonium's would play the guitar parts and the 3rd euphonium would play the bass part (I was played the third part). 
We called ourselves Il Dissphonio.  We wore ripped up jeans and torn Megadeath and Black Sabbath T-Shirts and we rocked out.  
We came up with this idea one day in a car ride over spring break. We were listening to some music and jokingly came up with an idea of  "How cool would it be to play this stuff on our euphoniums?" The more we thought about it the more were actually liked the idea. About a year later we made it work.
The arrangements were crude at best. We would all gather around the CD player and listen to the form, bass lines, guitar lines and figure them out and played along with the recordings. There was a lot of improve involved.  We even experimented with using a silence brass system. We would hook the silence brass system to an amp and we were able to get some really cool sounds. The problem that came up was that the cords we were using weren't the best quality, and the slightest movement would cause feedback. So we joked that this performance was our "unplug" performance. 
I'll admit that the performance wasn't the cleanest thing I've ever played in my life, but it was definitely one of the funner moments I've had on stage, at times you almost felt like a rock star. It had a lot of energy and the crowd loved it.
The three pieces we played were:
Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne
Cats in the Cradle by Ugly Kid Joe
War Pigs by Black Sabbath

You can listen to these pieces on our my space page.