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The "black box problem"

Discussion in 'It's SHOWTIME!' started by SOTSDO, Sep 10, 2014.

  1. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    My groups use "fronts" produced by Embee Ideas out of Saint Louis. They are light in weight, hold together well when erected, and look consistent and professional.

    Mike Brooks counseled me when I bought my initial set that I should use the small ones (24" high, I think) for the front line (in my group, the saxophones). I told him that I and others had problems with these due to the distance to the music on the stand. He said that I would learn.

    And, learn I did. If you use the intermediate height fronts (32", I think) when performing on a stage, take the time to go out to where your audience sits and take a look at some of your musicians sitting at their point in the front line. You will quickly learn that all that can be seen of the front line of the group is the tops of their heads. After I noticed this, I immediately went and bought a set of the shorter fronts for use on a stage. (If you are at the same level as the audience, the taller ones will work.)

    However, there's still the "I can't see the music" issue. And, the answer to that is you (and the others) need to have the eyes to see the chart at the great distance. If this means glasses (as it did for me), you get a set and your music reading problems are at an end.

    Many of the guys that I have worked with are reluctant (for whatever reason) to acknowledge that they need visual help. But, if you don't use the short stands, your band looks like a jumble of boxes and chairs. And, visual appeal is a good part of the image of any musical group.

    When you go to the optical people, take a recent refraction from your ophthalmologist, and tell your optician that you need glasses specifically designed for reading music at whatever distance you need them for. You won't be able to see other things clearly when you wear them, but the music comes back into focus and you can use the short fronts.

    Of course, if you all are ugly, then the taller stands might be the way to go…
     
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  2. retread

    retread

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    My old eyes don't like short fronts, but when we use them a 2x4, slightly shorter than the width of the front and placed at the bottom of the desk raises the charts 4" toward the top of the desk, to a more eye-friendly height.
     
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Regarding eyesight, by the time I was 5, I was legally blind (without corrective lenses). I inherited this from my mom and my kids inherited it from me. My oldest hates glasses and rarely wears them. She can drive without glasses. Can't really read, tho. My youngest can't see without them. She went through about a month of wearing contacts and realized they were too much of a hassle. She's now wearing glasses again.

    Fashion or vision? I'd go with vision any day.

    One of the things I've been told to wear, ever since they came on the market, is quadfocals. These used to have four "squared off" sections of the glasses so you could see close, far, middle, and something else. The last time I got glasses, they "acci-purposely" gave them to me. They're no longer "squared off" sections, but they're four blobs of lenses. I went back in to the glasses place and said, "I'm getting seasick. It's like there's a blob on each lense that focuses differently." He said, "You're right. We accidentally gave you quadfocals. Your doctor recommended them."

    I also have a UV-reactive tint to my glasses (Transitions lenses). If I was on stage more, I'd definitely consider getting lenses that darken in response to UV and light. Those are a bit expensive, but it's worth it not to get blinded by the spotlights.
     
  4. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Terry,

    Is Mike Brooks still with us? I know he was seriously ill a while back. I do see that the Embee web site is still up.
     
  5. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    I went by two summers ago, and he was wain looking but otherwise up and around. Of course, with cancer, one never knows - my father had a blood borne cancer and he was fine (except when receiving treatment) right up to the point that he resolved to stop eating and starve himself to death. (No assisted suicide in MO at that time or currently, as far as I know.)

    We're in Saint Louis now, but I've not had any time for social calls on others, having a greatgrandson who we are getting set up to play ice hockey. I might have time to go by later this week.

    (I went to high school with his wife, although we barely remembered each other. (Translation: she was a cool Ivanowski daughter, and I was a geek who played the bass clarinet.)
     
  6. saxhound

    saxhound Moderator Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Hope he is OK - one of the good guys. He was very generous with his time and knowledge when I ordered stands for our big band. The band leader was skeptical about the construction, but after ten years of hard use they still look great, and it sure beats carrying around those heavy masonite stands.
     
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