Sound! Euphonium – Episode 10

Kumiko’s face says it all.

– Drama time, let’s go! Auditions are some serious stuff, especially when you’re part of a microcosm like a band ensemble.

– What was that from Kumiko’s past? Yikes! Seeing how pissed off that other girl was, even to the point of the euphonium falling over… I instinctively cringed as I saw it begin to tip. That being said, if she played better, she should be the one performing. To see Kumiko’s past have an event like that is crazy.

– “What is Kumiko doing at that sink?” you may ask. She’s emptying her spit-valve. When brass players perform, spit accumulates in the instrument, and brass instruments are physically built to store and have release mechanisms for spit. Tubas and euphoniums usually accumulate the most, while trumpets and trombones have the least. When enough accumulates, the spit can actually distort pitch and can audibly be heard making a gurgling sound as you perform. It’s important to empty it out.

– Some ensembles have dedicated receptacles for emptying out spit, others just have hard-surface floors that are later just mopped up. Woodwinds don’t have this issue, and usually just run a cleaning cloth with a weight attached to a string on one end through their instruments at the end of practice to keep the moisture out.

– French horns also accumulate a lot, but the method for emptying those is significantly more complicated than the others. For double(french horn)-horn players, they have two spit valves (one for each key of the instrument; B-flat and F), and they have to take out all of their slides, empty them out by flipping them over, then putting all the slides back in, and making sure they’re at the right tuning lengths. They do this A LOT during performance and practice, and easily accumulate some of the most spit. If you ever go to an orchestra concert and wonder why the french horns are spinning their instruments in the air, it’s because they’re trying to move around the spit without removing their slides!

– Hopefully Natsuki isn’t mean to Kumiko like that other girl. She seems like she’ll be nice enough.

– I very much like this short cut of Taki-sensei conducting. They even show him using a gesture at the end of the cut with his left hand! Nice attention to detail. I also like how they show him handling the cutoff at the end of the piece, by just freezing in place. Usually most conductors will hold up to ten seconds after the end of a piece to properly let the sound finish reverberating. Depending on the room, this time could be extended or shortened just to accommodate the acoustics properly. Ensembles will also change their playing styles depending on the acoustics of a room too.

– What seems to be happening here is that they have a required duration for performance. Seems they’re gradually working on increasing the tempo to the composer’s specifications. As they practice enough, they’re sure to get there!

– Not even a second later after I wrote that above; Oh yeah, twelve minutes! It’s good to see that they’re working to best present the pieces within the time limit, but not go too much or too little in terms of tempo. If I had to guess, the other piece would be a march because that’s usually how these things go.

– Blankets? From home? Yep. They’re typically put on the floors to deaden the reverberation of the sounds, though they will sometimes be put on the walls too. More commonly they’re used on percussion the most because of how loud they can get, and because of how dominant their sound can be over most of the wind instruments. By drying out the reverberations from the percussion, the sound can be cleaned up a lot. Of course, if it’s a wet hall (lots of reverberation/echo), a floor with a really hard surface, or a hall with poor acoustics or poor soundproofing they are placed under the whole ensemble in order to better control the longevity of sound after notes are played. It also helps control volume, and makes it so that you have to play louder (but still controlled!) for the sound to have better resonance. It definitely helps keep the sound clean and crisp. Sometimes it’s used for spit too.

– Of course for this show, they may have another reason entirely. Maybe it’s for something flashy, or visually related, although that’s way more uncommon. We shall see!

– Uh-oh… What’s with this rumor circle?

– Seeing Kumiko express her trauma and spit out the shake was well-done. Seeing Natsuki be so nice is kind of refreshing. And then as I mentioned last episode, yeah, Taki-sensei totally saw through them with regards to the audition selections. Of course now we know it wasn’t just Kumiko he picked on. He knows where their weak spots are, being the conductor. But the resolution of this scene, Natsuki’s message on the music and her resolve got me misty in the eyes ;_; I really felt as Kumiko did in that moment.

– Kaori is handling this maturely. I’m not surprised, but man she seems okay. You can tell she knows that Taki-sensei wouldn’t do something like that, and that he just wants the best performance for what the ensemble told them they want to achieve. It seems that she wants another chance. Yuuko falling for the rumor (whatever it is at this point) brings her character flaws to the forefront. But that she doesn’t relent is kind of endearing in a way, despite totally being in the wrong. She only does it out of affection.

– And as I called, it’s for soundproofing. They’re even doing the walls! It’s good to see that Taki-sensei knows the hall, and knows how to best control the ensemble volume to have the best performance with the acoustics they’re going to be performing in. He’s just awesome, and you can tell he knows what he’s doing.

– Yuuko… Oh, what? Why? Don’t go there. Taki-sensei is handling it as a pro would. You can see that Yuuko acting in that manner is unknowingly rubbing in for Kaori, and it’s totally making Kaori sad despite Yuuko’s good intentions. Hell, it’s making me sad. With the way the ensemble is being run, it’s talent first with regards to auditions. No emotions, no personal ties, no favors owed to upperclassmen. It’s clear in this case that Reina had the better audition. Reina was ICE COLD!

– Reina in this scene is golden! It’s one of the first times she really loses her cool demeanor. Just seeing her run out and yell out her frustration instead of taking out on Yuuko is kind of hilarious, and you can see even she has her own breaking points too, especially with band drama. NOBODY IS SAFE FROM BAND DRAMA. NOBODY. EVER. It’s good that Kumiko was there to help her.

– I’ve been in a situation similar to this before too! When I was a freshman in high school, I auditioned for our Jazz Band and ended up getting 2nd trumpet (a spot I kept for four years because I was great at soloing and improvisation). Significance? 2nd Trumpet is the part that has the solos/improvisation parts in high school jazz bands (because high-schoolers are obviously not professionals). In pretty much every jazz chart there are always solos. My upper-classmen were all upset at me (I was the only freshman that got in from the auditions), and I totally pulled a Reina to their faces even though I was a bit shaken by their initially oppressive attitudes, something I confided in with my friends. My director and the guy who did the auditions handled it for me, and helped resolve everything. My talent ended up saving me, as it was apparent to them why I had the part once we started rehearsals. This whole situation brings back a fond memory 🙂

– And now we get a little backstory on Reina and Taki-sensei’s connection. Besides the fact that Taki-sensei is awesome, it’s nice to know why Reina holds him in such high regards. Seeing Reina open up like this is great! Her motivations are finally known. Very nicely done here. Reina and Kumiko’s interactions here are fun, and they play off each other nicely. Super cute.

– I like Reina’s determination and how serious she is. It’s cool. Another small takeaway from this scene is that Reina’s dad is a trumpet player. I don’t know why, but usually most of the parent/child (wind) musicians I’ve interacted with over the years usually don’t play the same instruments. Either the children want to play something different, or more often I see the parents not wanting their children to play the same instruments as them because then they’ll feel compelled to want to teach them directly, when it’s best to not get to personally involved for sake of a lack of being objective or afraid to be too hurtful. I’ve only mostly noticed this for wind players and percussionists. Piano and string players are usually a different story, in my experience.

– Oh no, Taki-sensei is losing it a little. A slight crack in the armor. Though they should not have put that stuff away because the setup should stay the same, he definitely came off a little aggressive here.

– But this following conversion about the doubt is interesting. I don’t know if Asuka will be the most tactful person in a delicate situation such as this this, though I feel that she can at least communicate her ambitions and intentions clearly. Hopefully she doesn’t rub people the wrong way if she ends up being the one to fix this mess. She can be quite self-centered. This seems like a nerve-wracking situation to be put in, and Kumiko definitely expresses that sentiment quite well, haha.

– Is Kaori practicing the solo because they’re going to do a re-audition to try and fix this? I wonder if they’re going to do a blind audition. If they go that route, I wonder if they’ll vote on which solo was the best by ensemble opinion versus Taki-sensei and Matsumoto-sensei’s opinions.

– Asuka with the water-bottle is hilarious, haha.

– Kumiko is rather forward here. It’s cool seeing her get serious, even trying to cut through Asuka’s outer-shell. Asuka’s answer here is about what I expected, especially after the previous episodes. She’s self-centered, but serious about performing, and doesn’t give a damn about this drama. It’s cool to see that she’s above this stuff, despite being kind of harsh and narrow-minded. At least… I think she is.

– I wonder what Haruka is up to.

– Also interesting is that Matsumoto-sensei seems to know about Taki-sensei as well. All these connections are slowly being revealed, and it’s interesting how this is unfolding. I hope we get some Taki-sensei backstory soon!

– Good on Haruka taking charge. Hell yeah.

– I don’t know if having them play visibly in front of everyone is a good idea because of bias, maybe it will be a blind audition. Either way, HERE WE GO. I hope Reina wins. Not because I don’t like Kaori (I like Kaori), but because this was a crappy situation all-around. Honestly, doing something like this shows a lack of professionalism from the band. Yet again, they’re high-schoolers so this isn’t unprecedented. I understand where Kaori is coming from, especially in her position of seniority. She doesn’t want to leave any regrets. Despite the way the re-audition came about was probably not how she wanted it to happen, she’s still going to take another chance since it’s all she has left. Depending on how it goes, I hope that both trumpet players take the high road on this one.

Phenomenal episode that covered a ton of ground. I loved all the character interactions and the way the story moved forward this episode. Super engaging episode all-around! Next episode will probably make me get a massive feeling of anxiety in my stomach during the re-auditions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s