Sound! Euphonium 2 – Episode 05

You know those instruments you missed? Well have I got an episode for you…


To preface a little bit regarding the performance, i’ve not watched the movie cut of the full piece yet. I’ve only watched the TV version of the performance. From what i’ve been told, a lot of cuts from that movie edition made it into this episode’s performance. So I look forward to experiencing what this episode has to bring to the table!

– Taki uses a common cutoff for conductors, which is a closed fist. If you’re in band you know it means to stop playing. That the students don’t keep playing after he gives the cut-off (a very common thing in young players to want to finish the phrase or keep going) shows that they’ve got their heads in the game.

– To comment on Taki’s conductor stand and podium: The podium is the normal height and width. You’ll notice he uses a chair in the back. Most conductors I’ve worked with use raised stools so that when they sit they can still be level with their score while taking notes, and relax their bodies a little bit. The stand looks different from the ones the band members use because it’s a conductor’s stand. A conductor’s stand is made to hold the music on top while the ledge just below that is for whatever the conductor wishes. Sometimes when they switch from baton to hand conducting a conductor will store their baton down there. Other times they’ll set their writing utensils there (to pencil in what they’re telling their band members to do; all the notes a conductor gives an ensemble are notes they have to keep track of, not to mention their personal notes on their scores for a good conducting job too!). The flat bottom piece is where they usually will store their other scores or reference materials. In a normal band season (not competitive season) you’ll go through many more than two pieces for rehearsal leading up to a concert, so you would bring all the scores with.

– Horns at L refers to the (french) horns playing at rehearsal letter L. Saying more full notes means he wants more volume/body from them. A rehearsal demarcation (letter, number, symbol, etc.) is like a big designated spot in the music where something important happens (like a new phrase section, or a structural change occurs). It’s an easy way to keep everyone on the same page across all the parts. For the euphoniums, saying he wants them a little higher tells me that they tend to skew flat (where the pitch is slightly lower than perfectly centered). For more on this topic, see my impressions from S1 Ep. 13 where I discuss A 440 versus A 442. Kumiko has the part down!

– Some observations on this top-down cut: Taki/Advisors use an electronic keyboard hooked up to an amp at the front of the room. This is likely to demonstrate parts players are messing up, fix intonation issues (intonation is basically the act of getting the pitch to be right in the center, not sharp or flat), or to give a tuning pitch for the clarinet so they can tune the ensemble. It’s funny that they even went as far as to draw in the power chords going into the two sockets on the extension cable.

They use a traditional pyramid-shaped analog metronome in rehearsal. In my experience in ensembles, I’ve only seen electronic metronomes used, and those were typically hooked up to amps so that no matter how loud the ensemble played, the sound of the consistent tempo could be heard above all else (we were usually louder than the analog metronomes), and force players to adjust to a specific speed of playing.
Like last season, I like that they’re all in socks because they’re playing on top of blankets to deaden the sound. Even though the brass players are totally emptying their spit-valves all over the things, they still take their shoes off.

– Nooooooo, not Hashimoto and Satomi! All the kids seem bummed to see them go. Good thing Hashimoto is speaking last. He’s great at cheering everyone up! I wonder just how big an impact he had on the percussionists that we even got a little crying from hearing about his departure. A good teacher can make all the difference.

– Midori’s saluting seems to have rubbed off on others.

– The piece on the TV that’s being performed by the band Kumiko’s watching is Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, from the beginning of the piece. This is interesting to me because it’s totally a major piano piece on the level of a concerto (piano and orchestra in this case), but it’s being performed by a band (there are lots and lots of orchestra to band arrangements, though few capture the true spirit of the originals, in my opinion). Now that’s an arrangement i’d love to hear in real life, and judging by the lack of the sound of piano in the opening (the low brass was playing the piano’s notes from the opening of the original), it’s a band arrangement without a piano. I first performed the piece with an orchestra sitting 4th horn back in 2009 for a concerto competition winner’s performance. The music, composer, and composition title immediately came back to me just from those opening six notes. It’s an awesome piece, and you can listen to the full, original piece here.

– Azusa is calling Kumiko? Neat. It’s nice that they’re talking about the competition. I get where Azusa is coming from though, with the whole don’t talk to me tomorrow thing. The contests can get pretty stressful, and who knows what Rikka has going on at this point in time. I love how it’s shown that everyone handling the stress of what’s going on in their own way, or how different people are together through these times. Some of the expressions on the faces in the cuts tell the whole story of what their mental states are like at this point in time.

– Knowing what I do about Rikka… SILVER?! Woah… Was that following cut perhaps a tease for what could be a beautiful Rikka adaptation? I know i’m projecting, but boy do I want it to happen. The ensemble dynamics and the marching techniques are things i’m very versed in, and i’d love to share more about that in the future if given the opportunity.

– Seeing them in this situation now and the level of nervous anticipation… I can practically feel my stomach start to churn. The nervous breath to try and relax yourself, the nervous energy in the room, the levity of trying to calm down, and thinking of all the hard work you put in over the last few months… I’ve been there and I know what these guys are feeling right now. That state of consciousness during these moments right before it’s time to go out and perform is like nothing else.

– Asuka wants to talk? This is uncharacteristic. Yes, Taki is the best! Though she’s being really enthusiastic, I feel like that’s probably the most genuine she’s sounded this whole season, and probably the most responsible she’s sounded so far.

– This Mizore/Nozomi and Kumiko/Reina stuff backstage is great. Mizore’s being genuine, while Kumiko and Reina are being lighthearted about the whole thing. The way Reina is honest about what it’d end up like if she played for Taki was hilarious, and Kumiko playing off that banter was funny. Reina’s frank honesty is something I appreciate about her character.

– Kaori, don’t say that! You have to keep going! NATIONALS! C’MON!

– Look at Taki just soaking this moment in. The stage is probably super hot because of the lights, but the air behind him is cool. Being on that border between stage and audience is one thing, but standing in front of your ensemble up there is another thing entirely. I love how the second he puts his hands up you can hear all the instruments raising up to performance position. Really nice little attention to detail. The start of that conducting cut is so good too!

They nail the kinetic energy of his movements to what should be a strong first note. Look at the frames where you can see his mouth open slightly as he breathes in before the first beat of the piece. Conductors do this so that the performers know when to breathe together before playing their first note. Seeing the hands do this while simultaneously hearing the sharp intake of a breath from the conductor relays important information to the ensemble that’s critical to delivering an effective, coordinated first note. Getting that start to be flawless is very important. Even the expression on Taki’s face changes right at the end.

– Ah, so they skipped the required piece and are going to go right into the ensemble’s choice. Should be the full thing then!

– Listen to the little sounds that are made when they shift their instruments. Nice attention to detail and it helps add a little layer of presence. I love the breath before the first attack too. You can hear all the breathing in unison!

– Before I mention some technical things let me mention the following: When I say 1 2 3 or any combination (i.e. 12, 13, 23) that refers to the valves being pressed. To really simplify it for you guys, 1 is usually closest valve to the body, 2 is in the middle, and 3 is the farthest out.

Slide positions for trombones go from 1 to 7; the exact positioning is something you’ll have to look up a picture guide for, but basically 1 is closest to the body, 2 is between the 1 and the bell, 3 is at the bell, 4 is just past the bell, 5 is in this nebulous territory but you know where it is when you play the trombone, 6 is about as far as your arm can reach, and 7 is really stretching out.

As for the woodwind explanations ahead, just take my word for it. It’s hard to convey exactly what they’re doing with just numbers given the complexity of their instruments.

– [12:32] Reina’s hands are playing the correct notes at the correct time, and are playing the correct fingerings, for the most part. Since she has a solo, that would indicate she’s playing trumpet 1. So her notes would be G(0) F(1) G(0) A(12) G(0) F(1) E(12) E(12) F(1) G(0) E(12) C(0) E (0) D(1) (concert pitches F E-flat F G F E-flat D D E-flat F D B-flat D C). Now if you thought something was off in this previous sentence, you’re correct. If she’s playing the trumpet 1 part, or the top part of the divisi, Reina’s E pitches should all be open fingered 0 versus fingers 1+2 because the trumpets are playing in the higher register (high (4th space on staff) E is 0, while low E (first line on staff) is 1+2). E could technically be played with 12 since it’s at that point in the harmonic series, but it’s definitely not typical at all unless it’s a lip-trill.

The most likely explanation for the discrepancy would be that they used the fingering for lower pitched E. On trumpets, the E on the first staff line is played with 12. I surmise this is the most likey reason for this. The timings toward the last few notes of the cut are slightly off, but very hard to tell in motion. I basically had to go frame-by-frame to see exactly what was going on.

– [12:35] Timpanist starts with her right hand! You can see that she starts with her sticks nearly straight up, indicating that she wants to make a big hit on her initial strike. The first note she plays is a fortepiano roll into a crescendo (where the band hits the beginning of the held note loud, immediately gets soft, then raises the volume up to being loud again). It’s easy to tell where she plays softer because the stick heights are much lower than if she were playing loud.

– [12:38/12:40] Look at the reflections in the bells of the trumpets. You can see the outer stage area’s lights. So cool! With the next cut, I’ll never get tired of seeing the trombones bring their instruments up to play. It’s cool how it’s not just some canned animation that all four trombonists do exactly the same robotic motion, but takes into account the individuality of each player as they bring their instrument up to play. When they play their first note all the instrument levels become steady and they stop moving as much. The trombone E-flat is correctly shown as 3rd position.

– [12:46] Taki’s cue with his left hand (see more about cues from S1’s write-ups) is powerful, indicating he wants loud volume from the horns in this part (as that’s who he’s gesturing to). I can tell because of the importance of their part.

– [12:48] How can that horn girl read her music with those pictures covering up everything?! (lol)

– [12:49] Kaori’s fingerings in this cut should be D(13) D(13) E(12) F(1) G(0) A(12) G(0) A(12) C(0), not 2 12 0 2 12 0. It’s short a couple fingerings from the start of the cut where the audio indicates trumpets playing. The timing is basically correct though, and this was another instance where I had to go frame-by-frame to accurately judge what was happening.

– [12:55] Just gonna copy/paste what I said about the bass drum roll cut from S1 Ep. 13 because it’s just that good: This next cut is the best thing. This bass technique properly animated is so good! She does the single hits with her right hand and holds her arm over the drum with the left stick hovering above the bass drum head. With the left hand, between each hit with the right hand, the left hand’s beater is placed on the drum head to dampen the sound after each strike to avoid the reverberance bass drums are known for, making a clean, dry hit. And when she goes into the roll, the body positioning is perfectly animated! You can see the exact moment she switches the grip in her left hand to traditional grip (right hand overhand grip, left hand underhand grip) for the roll, as is correct bass drum performance standards. As the ensemble crescendos (gradually gets louder), the stick heights are also increased, which shows the physicality of the increase in volume as it would be on a real life performer. I LOVE the way this bass drum part is animated. She even has her sleeves rolled up as to not get in the way.

– [12:57] Horn fingerings, timings, and fingerings to pitches are all 100% correct. They are for notes E-flat(T1) D(T12) E-flat(T1) F(T0) E-flat(T1) D(T12) E-flat(T1) D(T12) C(T0) D(T12) C(T0) B-flat(T1) A(T12) B-flat(T1) C(T0) (the last note happens after it cuts from them) (concert pitches A-flat G A-flat B-flat A-flat G A-flat G F G F E-flat D E-flat F). The really cool part about these fingerings is that they observed how double-horn players play their instruments. When a horn player reaches their middle register (around mid-staff G-A), they depress their thumb-trigger, which changes the instrument to the B-flat tubing.

Ever wonder why it looks like a horn has so many tubes on it? Why it has two sets of tubes where the slides are? Since the B-flat horn’s tubing is shorter than the F horn’s tubing, pressing the thumb-trigger down when the horn gets into the higher notes allows the performer to play the higher notes easier because the air has less physical distance to travel through the instrument. Since the horns are playing in their mid-high range, it makes since that the B-flat horn fingerings are used versus the F-horn fingerings, which are totally different outside of the C and A in this instance. When the trigger is depressed, the instrument basically becomes an entirely new instrument pitched in a different key. This is a really awesome piece of attention to detail.

Minor history lesson: Horns back in the day didn’t have valves, so the notes were played according to the harmonic series (all the open-fingered notes on the modern F horn), and the the right hand would open/close(stopped)/half-close (half-stopped) over the bell opening to adjust the pitch. To change keys (F horn, B-flat horn, E-flat horn, G horn, etc.) they’d change the tubing entirely. These pieces of tubing are called crooks. To change it they basically pull out this large crook out and put in the correct pitched crook for the piece they’re playing. The modern F/B-flat double-horn is basically an example of technology eliminating what was a cumbersome process compared to what we have now. I studied natural horn for about three years, so i’m always more than happy to explain all of this! For an informational video, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqbwGacYpew

– [13:00] The way Riko holds her tuba in this next cut is great because since she holds it upright like that, her left hand stays gripped to the tube on the back to leverage it up easier. You can see she does this. Goto too.

– [13:07] Midori’s fingerings are all fine too, though I can’t see her bow hand obviously. You can see which string she’s playing on.

– [13:10] Shuuichi shows off his trombone playing, and we finally get to see an example of the thumb-trigger on a trombone being used. The thumb-trigger on a trombone (left-hand thumb) is much like the french horn’s in that it changes the length of the tubing for the air to travel. On the trombone the trigger changes the instrument from B-flat tubing to F tubing. The notes and slide positions should be C(T1) B-flat(1) A(2) G(4) F(1) G(4) A(2) B-flat(1) B-flat(1) C(T1) D(4) E-flat(3) F(1). All the notes and trigger usage are 100% correct, which is crazy.

The way he holds the instrument is correct too, notably where his fingers are resting on both hands.The thumb on his left-hand is on the trigger while his index finger is near where the mouthpiece is inserted, which coupled with your shoulder steadies the placement of instrument in relation to your face.

The thumb-trigger on a trombone basically makes cumbersome notes a player would usually have to physically reach for more accessible. The pitch C (the C below middle-C) on a standard B-flat trombone is in slide position 6, which, depending on your body size, is roughly a fully extended arm. I have shorter arms so 6 was my max and I would have to twist my upper torso for slide position 7. The trigger gets rid of this large movement requirement allowing the player to stay in slide position 1, in as far as it can go.

– [13:13] Taki’s conducting continues to be engaging too. When they had those big hits at the end of the phrase you can see his motions becoming more exaggerated, to give the ensemble emphasis on the volume that’s appropriate for that section.

– [13:20] Can’t really comment on the clarinets too much as you can’t see their right hands, but the fact that the higher players have their left-hand keys depressed is correct for higher-register playing where their parts are currently at.

– [13:24] More good Taki cues. When this cut starts his left hand is gesturing towards the horns, emphasizing their importance about to come. With the way his hand is open, it indicates to the performers to be ready for their entrance, emphasizes the cue with his index finger, then drops his hand down to turn the page in his score with his left hand after cueing in the horns. Using a pointed index finger with a closed palm to cue the trumpets is a more direct cue to them since they sit in the back row near the percussion. Also take notice of the direction of his eyes as he gives each cue. You can see him look at the horns, then look down at his score, then look at the trumpets. He does this all while simultaneously giving his cues. Eye contact is a big part of effective conducting.

– [13:28] Reina’s notes are E(0) D(1) E(0) F-sharp(2) E(0) D(1) C-sharp(12) C-sharp(12) D(1) E(0) C-sharp(12) A(12) C-sharp(12) B(2). The fingerings are all correct, however the timings from the first C-sharp to the third C-sharp are off slightly (the 12 1 0 12). It’s hard to tell in fast motion, but if you go frame by frame with audio, it’s ever so slightly off by like, milliseconds. Concert pitches are D C D E D C B B C D B G B A. Yet again, hardly noticable in motion at all.

– [13:35] Taki looks cool with the closed fist cue. Notice his fist is under-handed. If it was an overhanded fist it’d indicate a cutoff, whereas an underhanded fist raised like that indicates power of volume of sound (give me more sound!), likely for the low brass in that section where the development section starts to break down the thematic material.

– [13:37] I appreciate them going the length to show how small Midori is compared to her contrabass, haha. I’m surprised she didn’t want to play with a stool like some do when they play with band programs. Yet again, how does she read her music with those pictures everywhere?! (lol)

– [13:41] More color-coded markings on her music too. The little drawings are cute!

– [13:48] Horn notes are A-flat (23) F(1) G(0) A-flat(23) B-flat(1) A-flat(23) G(0) F(1) G(0). Concert pitches are D-flat B-flat C D-flat E-flat D-flat C B-flat C. The F should be 1 or T0, but is drawn as 23. Could be an alternate fingering that i’d have to check, but assuming they’re sticking to what 99% of people do, that note was missed. It’s only the first F as the last one is correct. the 0 1 0 is correct, but the 1 23 1 stuff in the last few notes is off. G can be T1 versus 0 so that’s fine, but the F is off.

– [13:51] Beautiful tambourine technique. Look at the curvature of the hand, the way the fingers are poised. When he does the roll he starts from the bottom and moves up like should be done, vibrating the instrument as the hand slides up. I wrote more about this in the S1 Ep. 13 impressions.

– [14:03] Taki’s cue is to emphasize the woodwind phrasing should increase in dynamic as it reaches this part of the phrase group. Appropriate cues being put in appropriate places as a real conductor would do.

– [14:09] The piccolo fingering is almost correct for the low register D. The right hand has 123 pressed. The left hand has 23 and the pinky key pressed. Should be 123+pinky on the left. The fingering shown is for an E (23+pinky, 123).

– [14:11] The trumpet fingerings A(12) G-sharp(23) are correct. Concert pitches G F-sharp. By the fingerings alone you can tell the two players in this shot are playing the lower harmony.

– [14:16] Tenor sax notes are F-sharp G-sharp A-sharp B C-sharp. Concert pitches D E F-sharp G A. The timings are a little off here too, but without trying to come up with my own nomenclature to describe which fingers are supposed to be pressed when, i’ll just say that it’s almost there, not exactly. The cool thing about this cut is that you can see how when the keys are pressed all of the rest of the mechanisms/hole coverings that move in the background behind the front tubing looks really fantastic, and shows amazing attention to the mechanical movement of the instrument.

– [14:18] All of the glockenspiel notes are hitting the correct notes at the correct timings with the correct placement. Really awesome and I love how the smears help convey the motion.

– [14:24] Good fingerings by Midori with the timings on again. The closeup on her right hand indicates she plays with a German grip and is holding it with correct technique. They even show the string vibrating, and it corresponds with the string she’s currently moving her fingers along with her left hand.

– [14:28] Timpani hits start off with the right hand, which is correct technique.

– [14:29] The cymbal crash is done well too. Good start to the hit, crashes down low and close to her body. Where usually the hits bang one tip into the other cymbal, this is a more symmetrical crash. Notice after the hit she immediately raises her arms, spreads her arms out, and twists her wrists outwards so that the full circles of the cymbals face the audience. This is so the sound isn’t muffled by her body, and by raising them up high and turning them out towards the audience, the sound can travel above the ensemble and reverberate more fully for a longer period of time rather than deadening the sound with her chest like one would do for a short crash.

– [14:30] Really nice conducting animation and an engaging cue from Taki.

– [14:34] Next horn notes are F(T0) E(T2) D(T12) C(T0) D(T12) E(T2) F(T0) G(T1) E(T2) G(T1) A(T12) G(T1) A(T12). Concert pitches are B-flat A G F G A B-flat C A C D C D. In the mid-range cut it looks like at the end they’re doing G(0) A(T12) G(0) A(T12), which is correct and alternate fingerings. The timing is basically dead on with the closeup, and in the mid-range shot it’s off by literal frames that it’s impossible to tell in motion. I like how you can see them take a breath in after they move the mouthpiece away from their mouths. Impeccable portrayal of these instruments.

– [14:43] Another super-cool Taki cue. Look at him drive the energy.

– [14:55] Snare player hits his notes closer to the rim. Given the decrescendo (the sound gradually gets softer), it makes sense that he’s playing that far from the middle.

– [15:11] This dreamlike state where everyone is just in a trance playing is so cool. Really helps set the tone of the band’s mindset.

– [15:19] Another cymbal crash, this time when she lifts the cymbals up she hits the crash and moves them horizontally. So it’s at a lower dynamic and the sound reverberates up and down instead of forward and backward. She still separates her hands so the ring of the crash has a tail to its sound.

– [15:31] The two fingerings shown before the camera cuts from the front of Reina were correct. G(0) F-sharp(2). Concert pitches F and E.

– [15:56] The next cut Reina’s hands in it go B(2) A(12) B(2) G(0) F(1) E(0) F(1) G(0) A(12) E(0) G(0) F(1) C-sharp(12) D(1) E(0) F(1) F(1) E(0). Concert pitches are A G A F E-flat D E-flat F G D F E-flat B C D E-flat E-flat D). All of the notes, fingerings, and timings are absolutely impeccable. It’s really incredible just how flawless this looks. The way she moves her body with the instrument as she gets into playing the solo really add that human performance element when it comes to physiology of performance. It feels like watching a real person perform a solo like this. The big breath she takes before she starts is so good too! I’d recognize that sharp intake sound any day.

The solo hitting the climax of the phrase on the high C with the flashbacks and accompaniment going down that half-step then eventually going to that B-flat major chord really makes me feel emotional to the point where I always feel some tears come on. It hits so good. There won’t be a time where that solo doesn’t make me feel like shedding a few tears from the emotional buildup.

– [16:37] Pictures over the music! (lol) Yes, yes… I get why they’re there now. I was just being facetious all this time! I love how it each of the pictures represents what band means to them, and the relationships they’ve come to cherish as they spent more time with their bandmates than their families. Can’t lie, the way they cherish each other and the bonds they share really makes me all warm inside, and yet again, teary-eyed. I remember what those feelings felt like, and the nostalgia from my high school performance days is really out to hit me at full force. These band members are so great ;_;

– [16:40] The timpani roll was done accurately. Starts with the right hand (cut starts in the middle of the roll on the left though the audio cue was slightly before). Notice how on the last strike of the roll she lifts the sticks up in the air away from the drum. This is to let the sound reverberate instead of being dampened. Also take note of the different timpani mallets behind her. The heads are different. The more round one is for softer, reverberant playing. The flatter one is for louder, more accented playing that has a clear start and is probably used when playing a part that will have to be dampened. I bet if they did a closeup of them they’d indicate what materials they were made of too (soft, fluffy, smooth, cushy, hard etc.).

– [16:51] This Mizore solo ;_; Look how she moves her body when she plays now. She’s gotten more into it and the playing is more expressive and less robotic.

– [17:07] Asuka solo too!

– [17:20] The seating arrangement for the ensemble is standard here too. I was waiting for a shot that showed most everyone before commenting on this. The first rows are all woodwinds (piccolo, flute, clarinet, with saxophones on the left side). This is because their sound doesn’t carry as far as the brass sound does, so putting them in the front allows them to be heard better. The low woodwinds (bassoon/fagotti and bass clarinet) are in that middle, third row.

The fourth row has the four horns and euphoniums (centered, instead of spread over the sides and arced, which is a specific setup for sound distribution). The tubas and contrabass are on the side near the saxes too, and have their own little section. The trombones in this next cut are in the fifth row, as are the trumpets. What’s interesting about this is that trumpets are seemingly behind some of the percussion (really just the edge of the timpani), which is odd as far as my time in ensembles go. Depending on the cut, there are just a few small continuity errors with regards to the exact positioning of the trumpets in relation to the ensemble.

That said, the brass is all concentrated in one area, and is in lines instead of arcs. That’s a much different sound approach and one that’s very direct and powerful. The percussion is on the side instead of centered. The tubas and contrabass are on the side. These are all very deliberate decisions and ensemble setups with direct correlation to sound production and the way it carries.

– [17:28] Good snare and timpani cuts! The smears on the sticks really add the sense of movement and speed to their playing. On the timpani cut you can see her move her right hand to play the second of her two notes in that quick buildup to the last section.

– [17:30]The xylophone is drawn so accurately and so good. Even down to the patterning on the bar’s sides is there. The notes/animation line up correctly with the music, are the accurate notes hit, and have correct timings.

– [17:34] The clarinet fingerings are correct. You can see how she holds it properly too, and when she puts her left-hand thumb down is when she plays down the scale. All accurately drawn.

– [17:36] The next euphonium cut has that fated part that Kumiko worked so hard on! I’ll be a little spotty on this part because I can’t see her 4th valve (down low), however i’ll my best! The notes (already in concert pitch) are B-flat(0) C(13 or 4) D(12) E-flat(1) F(0) G(12 or 3) A(2) B-flat(0) C(1) D(0) B-flat(0) C(1) E-flat(1) D(0) (rest) B-flat(0) C(1) D(0) E-flat(1) D(0) F(0) D(0) C(1) B-flat(0) C (1). The visual timings are slightly ahead of the music. For the first part of the phrase the valves being pressed on screen are 0 2 12 1 0 12 2 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 (rest) 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.

The only weird note I think was just the C in the first run (2 versus 0 or 4 or 13 (depending on 4th valve)). I apologize for any errors in this section but I think I got most of it right. I love how her and Asuka make eye contact near the end of the phrase.

– [17:43] And look at the smile on Taki’s face! He seems genuinely happy in this moment.

– [17:47] That panning shot that shows Taki from the floor level through the chairs is SO COOL! His conducting is so lively and the way the camera pans around through the group is awesome! The cue and the cut off for the simultaneous ascending and descending scalar patterns was so cool. He used a flat hand to cue them in, and a quick upwards fist to keep the last note short. During the crescendo (gradually get louder) it’s so cool how he emphasizes the unison by using the same motion in parallel with both hands, and slowly raises his ictus from the podium up to near his shoulders, with more exaggerated motions as the dynamic gets louder!

– [18:02] Yeaaaaaahhhhh cymbal girl!

– [18:10] Really good/accurate xylophone animation that perfectly line up with the audio. Notes are B-flat A B-flat C D E-flat F. The animation uses smears again to portray the agility of the player. The right hand starts on B-flat, as it should when playing up this scalar passage. The detailing on the instrument is superb, and you can even see the holes in the bars on the sides as well as the cylinders below the bars. Then there’s the string between each of the bars that holds them together, the brackets for what would be the black keys on a piano, and even the holders and spacers between what would be the white keys. Such an elaborate and accurate drawing of the instrument.

– [18:11] The next horn cut is A(T12) A(T12) F(T0) F(T0) E(T2) D(T12) C(T0) D(T12) C(T0) B(T2) (concert D D B-flat B-flat A G F G F E). Fingerings and timings are all accurate.

– [18:15] The next trombone cut is A(2) C(3) B-flat(1) A(2) D(1) D(4) E(2) F-sharp(5) G(4) A(2) G(4). Accurate slide positions with accurate timings. Flawless.

– [18:18] Trumpet cut is E(12) E(12) C(0) (concert pitches D D B-flat). [18:22] Next note that shows them is their E-flat(2) (concert D-flat). Correct fingerings to the audio with proper timings.

– [18:25] Good flute trills! Look at the way the hands move! The roll between the two notes on the xylophone is good too and I really like the camera angle.

– [18:28] On the timpani notes, check out how she strikes each hit with her right hand with full swings and dampens the head of the drum between each hit with he left hand.

– [18:29] Good oboe trill animation too! I don’t play oboe so I can’t speak for the accuracy of her fingerings after the trill, but they seemed alright judging by my orchestration book. The hand animation just looks so realistic too. They really nailed the feel of the movement of the hands.

– [18:36] Notice how Midori’s hands move up the instrument as the line descends. Right on with pitch.

– [18:40] Trumpet fingerings are on point with the B(2) C(0) D(1) E-flat(2) C(0) D(1). Reina’s hand doesn’t look like it fully presses down the first D, but her finger does move. Trombone slides are good too. The fingerings on Kaori’s cut have the timings slightly off.

– [18:57] The chimes player is using correct technique and correct notes.

– [19:00] Clarinet animation looks soooo good as they play that passage! Seriously, just look at the way the hands move over the keys. The positioning of the fingers and the hands and the spacing of the fingers is done so well. The way the fingers move when they play note-to-note is just perfect.

– [19:03] Euphonium notes and animation are spot on. Pitches are C(1) B-flat(0) C(1) D(0) C(1) B-flat(0) A(2) A(2) B-flat(0) C(1).

– [19:11] All these quick cuts through all the characters at the end of the piece are so awesome. Look at how each of them wear their feelings on their sleeves. So good.

– [19:14] Look at the reflection in Yuko’s bell!

– And done!

– WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HHHHHHHHHH! Everyone looks satisfied. Monaca is crying, and i’m tearing up a little too! Look how tired they are! They put so much hard work into that performance!

– My stomach is churning thinking about these results. These moments always feel like they last FOREVER.

– Time for the results. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH GOLD AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH THEY’RE MOVING ON AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH DON’T CRY ME DON’T CRY NOW LOOK AT THE ELATION ON THEIR FACES THIS IS THE BEST MOMENT!

– Mizore ;_;

What can I even say about this episode? I was really into the buildup of getting to the performance. Then the performance happened and well… it’d be an understatement to say I was absolutely floored by the the entire thing. Absolutely outstanding work and the attention to minute details and accuracy are insane. Even more insane than the all of that is the fact that human beings made this. Like, how the heck is something like the performance in this episode even possible in the human realm? The attention to detail is absolutely phenomenal, and accurate to an almost inhuman degree. Then all of that is matched up with the sound design, and the presentation of the performance of the piece is presented really well too? I hope Kyoani never goes back to their home planet because they’re needed here.

The fingerings, the timings, the postures, body language, facial expressions, animation, mechanical animation, the reflections, the solderings, spit valves, tubing, instruments themselves… To call something like the artistry on display in this episode a staggering work of talent and attention to detail is selling it short. It absolutely boggles my mind just how good this is and that the attention to detail is at the level it is. From what I saw of the movie’s version of this performance a little after I wrote this, this version of the performance wipes the floor with the movie version. Much better use of cuts, MORE cuts, and no repeated cuts like is in the movie. The movie version uses a flute cut around three times, or Taki’s conducting doesn’t always line up as well. This TV ANIME VERSION does. It’s nuts.

I hope all of the examples I’ve provided help some with understanding how it all works. If you can’t read music, just look up a chart that shows how to read notes. Even inferring the general shape of how the phrases look should help too. All of the examples I listed above are transposed so they can be played by the instrument that is performing them. When I mention concert pitch, that means it’s the untransposed pitch; the sounding note.

I feel like I could ramble on and on about how amazing this episode is, but i’ll spare you. Just know that I was absolutely astonished by how good it was, and I thank the universe that something like this is allowed to exist during a lifetime where I get to experience it.

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8 thoughts on “Sound! Euphonium 2 – Episode 05

  1. Hey I absolutely love your blog, as a fellow musician and anime lover! I’m sharing this post on my tumblr. However I just want to point out a minor detail: the clarinet fingerings at 17:34 are incorrect because those are Bb clarinet fingerings, but the character is playing an Eb clarinet. Amazing job picking up so many details though! Thanks for taking the time to write this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, thanks for the heads-up! My main areas of performance are primarily with brass and percussion, and I only played most of the woodwinds for a few months each for teaching classes (though I did do alto sax for about a year). Needless to say, I didn’t get to E-flat clarinet in those introductory classes! And I totally thought it was a B-flat clarinet at a glance. I really appreciate the insight.

      Also, thank you for reading! I’m glad you enjoy the writeups!

      Like

      • Lol that wasn’t really your fault, Kyoani didn’t draw the clarinet small enough haha. But in the novels, the character (Maina Kase) does play Eb, and in the movie poster you can see her playing Eb.

        You know, in the novels she was actually supposed to squeak and almost cost Kitauji their gold medal, but kyoani cut that out haha. I was jittery for the entire performance because i knew that spoiler and kept expecting to hear a *SQUAAKKWKWWWK*

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Giavasan » Sound! Euphonium S02E05 – Crescent Moon Dance

  3. Hi…

    The episode was amazing for a person like me that I´m not a musician. I agree with the detailed animation in this chapter, so gorgeous, so brilliant…

    I feeled that intensity and nervousness when they were playing, I really was encouraging them for win the gold.

    Only a few anime chapters (from many series that I have seen) has made me feel like that.

    Thanks for that review, is good to read the comments froma a well informed person in the matter of music, you have all my respect.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very good blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost
    on everything. Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for
    a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m
    totally confused .. Any suggestions? Kudos!

    Like

    • Honestly, just find something you’re passionate about, think about why you like it, and just write about it. I just jot down a ton of notes about things I want to write about when i’m doing these entries, and figure out the best way to present them after I just do some stream-of-consciousness writing.
      Wordpress seems to be just fine, though I know other people like tumblr too. There are paid options through wordpress too, should you choose.

      Like

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