is somewhere during the two decades and 97 iterations of Street Fighter 2. I was genuinely shocked to see that whatever game that screen grab came from is titled Street Fighter IV.
Noise, Piped-In And Otherwise
Apparently it's ND Nation week on MGoBlog. Eh.
This is, without question, a first:
I was there too, with a UM friend of mine. He was at the UM game against WMU the weekend before, and he said the music was not played that weekend. In fact, he said he's never heard music played at any Michigan home game. Yesterday was his first ND/Michigan game in the Big House. Maybe it's just something they do for us. Wouldn't surprise me.
We both thought it was bulls---. With those new press box/fan suite things they've built at the top of the stadium, that place got really loud. The Eminem songs only made it worse.
I guess that's why they call it home field advantage.
Leaving aside this guy's probably-fictional Michigan friend who went to the Western game and didn't notice the RAWK MUSIC, this is an opposing fan complaining about the noise level in the stadium. Even if this is just more complaining to complain, it's still a 180 from the usual laughter at the 110,000 quietest people in America or whatever. As a group of people naturally inclined to laugh at all things Michigan, statements like this are as close to proof as you're ever going to get about the effect of the new boxes:
I thought the place seemed so much more intimidating
by BigEND (2009-09-13 21:09:28)
with the skyboxes there. It was louder and felt like you were really in a "big house". I still can't understand why so many people complained when the plan was originally announced. That stadium will be 10 times better with those boxes finished.
You and me both, BigEND. Meanwhile, email from people who would know confirms the third-party impressions:
I attended the WMU game with siblings who are recent graduates and former band members. The word they got from contacts still in the band is that the on-the-field noise is significantly louder, even if it doesn't seem so to the layman sitting in the 67th row.
Without having any sort of technical knowledge, my guess is that the new structures are aiming sound back into the bowl. Clearly not all of it, but enough to make it louder the deeper you are inside. (That's what she said?)
So, it might not seem much louder to us, but clearly LOUDER FIELD > LOUDER STANDS from a competitive standpoint. In other words, my screaming is more directly helping Brandon Graham to murderfy Jimmah this weekend.
And this was just for Western. The initial take, then, appears to be that the optimistic projections this blog's scoffed at more than once are basically accurate. The luxury boxes are a huge aid to the noise on the field to the point where complaint-inclined opposing fans focus on it. This is a major win.
So, then, the other matter at hand. Last week everyone had a little conniption fit and I posted a poll about whether piped-in music should be slain out of hand or not. The results:
Of the 75% who care, respondents were evenly split between pro-and-con, but the con side was more strongly opposed. This was shocking to me, but I guess this blog's readership skews away from bluehairs. I also have one main explanation: it's the band's fault. Multiple band members have sent in emails about the shift in the MMB's focus over the last ten or so years, and 90% are along these lines:
I was in the band for the last few years of Professor Nix's turn at the helm, from 2003-2007*, and I would say that there was plenty of "blame" to spread around for the quieter band. During my years, we frowned upon bands like Notre Dame's that would sacrifice precision for loudness. I believe most of us felt this way, and while it's reasonable to say this mentality started at the top, which would mean Professor Haithcock, I think Professor Nix and his appreciation for the newer, drum corp influenced style of a marching ensemble was the biggest factor. And now, with Director Boerma, who also has strong drum corp ties, I'm sure that influence is just as strong or stronger. But, Haithcock did hire them, so we can just blame him.
I've got other emails claiming Nix was a huge proponent of loud and that Haithcock asked about making the band louder and etc etc etc and I don't care about who is at fault for what, all I know is that the main reason that poll above came out the way it did is because the band is not doing its job. Saturday I could barely make out the Victors on any of Michigan's touchdowns. About the only thing I heard at halftime was the drum corps. I've gotten plenty of complaints from kids in the student section who say they can barely hear the band and it's 30 rows away from them.
This does not have to be the case. I vividly remember going down to Auburn last year. I sat in the upper deck on the 40; the LSU band was stuck in the corner of the opposite endzone, and I could hear them loud and clear. They were blasting it. Auburn's band was also louder than the MMB. Click the link and see where we were, man… we were in orbit around a football game.
And then there's the SWAC:
That's Southern University making a strong argument for Michigan scheduling a SWAC school, any SWAC school, the next time it reaches into the I-AA ranks for an opponent.
What's the point of a marching band? To be audible outside in a stadium of 110,000. If you want musicality, there are a dozen other bands on campus you can join. Scott Boerma and his superiors are completely missing the point, and if the band is being marginalized on gameday it is entirely their fault. Personally, I hate it. I want the band to be awesome and wish piped-in music would die a fiery death. But when "Lose Yourself" gets vastly more reaction than anything you do and large sections of the stadium can't hear you at all, that's on you. What the hell is the point of a piccolo when the only people who can hear it are the ones playing it? Have you ever thought about the poor schmucks in section 16 who have never once heard The Victors after a touchdown? Think of the children, and do this:
On the band: I used to play clarinet in the Ann Arbor Huron marching band. (Why? Beats me. I should have learned how to play guitar like Slash instead.) Clarinet, while fine inside, is a waste of time outside. It cannot be heard. Ditto the flute and the piccolo.
What the MMB needs to do is (1) get rid of all the clarinets, flutes and piccolos, and (2) add 150-200 more trumpets and trombones. Made the band bigger, and sacrifice a measure of technical proficiency (which 98% of the crowd wouldn't notice) in exchange for a big ol' Wall of Sound.
Or something. Your prime directive should be loud; if it's not no one can help you fight your slide into irrelevance.
PS: and dammit the hockey band director should dance, you communists.
I hope they didn't get rid of Vega. He and Chung Li were the only two fighters who could jump off the edge of the screen. I would hit opponents with a flying jump kick all day...it was my signature move and was virtually unstoppable. And nobody wants to be the girl.
It's the Japanese version of SF, in it, Balrog is M.Bison (as the name was intended to parody Mike Tyson, just like the character, but in America they were worried about a lawsuit), So the way it works is:
US Version ==> Japanese Version
M.Bison ==========> Vega
Balrog ==========> M. Bison
Vega ==========> Balrog
Now why they made the Vega->Balrog switch is beyond me, but that's how it worked out.
I was wondering the same thing. Used to play this game for hrs
There must be a US version, and a "rest of the world" version, because the names are written in English. M. Bison===>M. Tyson is the least creative thing I've ever seen. I always assumed the "M." stood for Major, as he seems to be wearing a military uniform.
The Japanese version of the game calls M. Bison Vega. Also note that Akuma is called Gouki.
It was switched around for the American release of SFII because they didn't want Mike Tyson to sue them. Since in Japan Balrog is called M. Bison.
I'm a winds player from way back, and hated the idea of all-brass bands out of pure bias, but I'm slowly coming around to the POV that woodwinds might be fine for high school games with 5000 people in the stands, but won't cut it for college football.
That said: Piccolo? You're going to call out piccolo as a quiet instrument? In their typical "marching band arrangement" range (essentially everything above the staff) they're as loud (and occasionally as shrill) as ref's whistles.
Now, there're plenty of other arguments to make against piccs, but I'm not sure volume is the first one you should be jumping on.
I'm not sure where in the stadium you can hear that damn band, it's a shame.
I usually sit in section 20 which is right across the field from the visiting band so usually that's all I hear. The Michigan Band? Might as well not be one because I can't hear it at all.
For Notre Dame I sat in my Dad's seats in Section 22, which is on the south-side 40 yard line. STILL could not hear the band, I was amazed. Notre Dame's band, OTOH, was LOUD AS SHIT. At one point it startled me when they blasted into a tune. WTF MMB get your shit together and stack some fucking paper.
...and the Band parties would be even worse. The only chicks that would be there would be flags and the (rare) female brass players.
Of course, since the introduction of a more "corps" style, the median BMI of the MMBers has been on the chair lift. So, no great loss, I guess...
Now ... when I was in the Band, well, the women weren't incredibly hot either, but at least they were fit.
And dude, Im thinkin you were a real stud....
Does the Athletic Department have no authority over the MMB?
The MMB is an ensemble of the School of Music (Theater & Dance). That doesn't mean the athletic department doesn't have influence, given they play at athletic events, but it does mean the AD doesn't necessarily get to call the shots.
If 50 years old is "bluehair", I be one, and take no offense. I don't quite get Brian's surprise that the hate voters outnumber the love voters as he points out that his readership is not bluehair. Are bluehairs supposed to like the piped in mix? How can you predict that any demographic group is going to like that bizarre, trashy mix of tunes? IIRC, we have heard rap, metal, motown, Michael Jackson, Niel Diamond, Anthem Rock, what am I missing?
Everybody in the world is going to hate something (if not everything) out of those genres.
I completely agree that the brass needs to replace the wind sections for some real volume for the band. Also, I'm a huge opponent of moving the band from facing the students to sitting with the students, but maybe they like it that way.
I think the surprise was that the "hate" and "love" votes were as close as they were. I had suspected that the majority of this blog's readership was sternly against piped in music, and, like Brian, was surprised at the reaction.
As you can see by my mgopoints total, my opinions on the matter were clearly taken to be incorrect.
I sit on the east side of the stadium, section 41, I did not know the ND band was at the game until halftime. It was great to not hear their fight song all day long! I have never had an issue hearing either band in the past, The acoustics in the stadium are different this year.
This might not be an issue with our band.
It's all about where you are sitting. You couldn't hear ND because you were on the same side as them. Meanwhile, those of us in the UM student section directly behind the UM band can't hear our own band. The ND was loud as heck from our section. Things were much better for our section when the band was on the opposite side facing the student section, but those seats were deamed too valuable to give to the band.
Right across from visitors band and it stinks. Loved when the MMB was in section 40ish across from students back in my UG days.
I used to be against it. But at the WMU game, I saw how it pumped up the crowd and the players. I am sure this was intensified during the ND game. I know there are those that suggest we shouldn't need music to get the crowd going, but the fact is that it helps. And I don't understand how anybody, after the glowing reports about noise in our stadium, would want to change anything that helps that process along. Keep the music and let it get the crowd and players rowdy for the next play.
As far as eliminating the woodwinds, and going to a loud, all-brass-and-drums band, there is a band like that in the Big Ten. They think that they are without a doubt the best band in the conference. They are the Ohio State Marching band.
So if you want our band to be more like OSU, there you go.
And if you want our stadium and our game-days to be just like Spartan Stadium or Camp Randall, then by all means pump up da vol-ume on the loudspeakers.
I wrote to Bill Martin on this subject. I told him that I found it odd, and intrusive, a detraction and a bit of an affront to the MMB. I urge everyone who objects to the recorded-music intrusion to do the same. If you like the recorded music -- well just bring an iPod to the game or something.
I don't want to become OSU, but is there anything you'd agree with to make the band audible (making it bigger?)?
i don't think making the band bigger would be a viable option. that would mean either cramming more band members into the same space or taking away seats from students (or moving the band somewhere else and taking away seats from someone else)
Actually OSU (and most of the Big Ten, save Wiscy) has a pretty well-respected band, despite the rivalry. Becoming more like OSU in this matter would not necessarily be a bad thing.
Personally, I'd rather the MMB become more like the Texas band in terms of sound.. very clean and big sounding. I recall being blown away (almost literally) the first time I heard them. Interestingly, both Nix and Talley--the last hockey band director to dance--came from that band originally...
So what's your suggestion?
If OSU's band can be heard more than 50 feet away, then yes - I want our band to be more like OSU's.
You want to go to BCS GAMES? And WIN THE BIG 10? Do you know who does that? OSU. So fine, go ahead if you want our football team to be "successful" like OSU.
I'm a fan of the MMB, but the current Band arrangements/musical approach and the location of the Band render it meaningless during games. And it is really a shame. Unless something gets fixed with the Band, it will continue to get shoved out by RAWK music.
I don't know what the answer is to making the Band relevant again, but sticking to the status quo is a sure fire path to irrelevance.
Disruption bitches! GET ON BOARD THE TRAIN!
You realize the MMB exists because of football, not the other way around right?
"If you like the recorded music -- well just bring an iPod to the game or something. "
This is totally it. People just want to wear headphones, not participate in the atmosphere and listen to music. It has absolutely nothing to do with everyone in the stadium hearing loud music that gets them involved in the game. You know, like the MMB used to be like before they decided musicality and precision were the most important things AT A FOOTBALL GAME!
You gotz it Shocky
As far as lifting weights in the offseason, playing good defense, and deploying fast and athletic QBs, there is a team like that in the Big Ten. They think that they are without a doubt the best team in the conference. They are the Ohio State Buckeyes.
So if you want our team to win the Big 10 and go to BCS bowls and regularly have a shot at the national title, there you go.
And if you want our team to be just as good as Ohio State, then by all means lift those weights and run that spread option.
I wrote Bill Martin on this subject. I told him that I found it odd, disturbing, and a bit of an affront to all those 8-4 Michigan teams from the past. I urge everyone who objects to championship teams to do the same. If you like Big 10 championships- well just watch Ohio State or something.
I played tenor sax for four years in the MMB under Nix and we absolutely played as the "wall o' sound." Any of the other MMB alumni that played with Nix must remember at the end of each show when we'd hold the note, and then he'd shake his arms until he was about to fall off the ladder, but we'd blare it twice as loud.
That said, there MUST be video of Nix and the band doing this somewhere. I think Boerma better start watching some tape...
Are you by chance Tad or Frankie?
haha, thats rich.
moar dat sound plz
Nix did the arm-shakey thing, but we should have been that loud in the first place.
Maybe it's worse now, but I distinctly remember being blasted off the field by the Wisconsin band in '06. The problem is older than Boerma's tenure and stems not only from stylistic choice, but also low numbers of certain instruments, and the fact that half the band doesn't memorize their music.
Ummmm, how does memorizing music make you louder?
PS Revelli and Cavender's bands did not memorize, had lots o'woodwinds, sounded exquisite, and were LOUD.... hmmmm....
memorizing your music makes you louder because you'll actually play the music. the band doesn't carry the music on the field, so if you don't memorize, you're not going to play it. DUH.
Hmmmm. Revelli/Cavender: carry music/loud(and good)
Recent bands: memorize music/quiet(and good?)
I dont think your causation hypothesis carries much water there....
MMB 83-88 (ya, I carried, and I was loud.) DUH
that's all I was trying to say. If you don't memorize it and can't carry it, you can't play it. You end up with situations where many people only know half the notes.
The band loves to rip on ND for carrying flip folders, but it might help.
Oh ya, and they MARCHED.....
Brian, you just described exactly why I have not trouble with piped in music as a result of not being able to heat the band.
Folks, same seats since 1979. But, i went from three full years betwen games from 2002-2005, and when I returned "home" was quite shocked to find out I could no longer hear the band. MY ENTIRE SECTION MAKES FUN OF THE BAND BECUASE WE CANT HEAR IT THE WHOLE THIRD QUARTER PICK A SONG IS A JOKE BECAUSE WE CANT HEAR YOU!!!!
Anyway, it was compelling to notice how my section is 100 percent on board with RAWK music. Even people twice my age I saw getting into the music for two weeks in a row.
Also, there was a post of a homemade video of the final drive, taken from the student section. You cant hear our band at all, yet you can ehar the ND MB from the other side of the field clear as day.....watch the game on DVR. All you hear is the ND Band, never ours.
MMB, get you act together, play louder and maybe once play Bullwinkle when you come to section 14
this post - bring back bullwinkle you stiffs!
He is correct. But then when THE GOAL is to play quieter, you can say they have succeeded at least at that.....
First, let me say that I love the band and vehemently oppose any piped-in music played after pre-game warmups. The other day, I did what I normally do when I get bored at work, namely, I was perusing the venerable Wolverine Historian's youtube page, when I came upon the following gem:
What struck me watching the video, beyond the awesomeness of Michigan football in the 70s, is the band. They sound downright militant. The drums pound, the horns roar, and the tempo pulsates with a Barwis-like urgency. This is the sound of a marching band, i.e., a band that is marching into battle. Listening to the music, it's clear this recording did not come from the Big House; the reverberating wall of sound and crowd participation has the pep-band feel of a Crisler or Yost. But this illustrates what Nix may have had in mind-- a band that strives to meet the challenge of its environment.
Also, note the white pants at 2:32. Sweet.
reminded me that, at the WMU game, I could hear the students "You Suck!" at the end of Temptation...but not Temptation! There are issues.
is it cheating to mic the band so that everyone can hear them, but they don't have to blow their brains out and sacrifice musicality?
I'd like to see the band get louder and if that means more brass so be it, but getting rid of the piccolos would mean getting rid of the distinctive "trill" in the middle of the "The Victors" which I can't abide.
Back in the good old days of loud band-ness, I distinctly remember the quiet verse of The Victors when the piccolos are blasting their tiny little hearts out. I still hear that little bit in my head when they play The Victors, despite the fact that they are now all but inaudible. Contrast is the key. If the band is blasting, then that quiet verse where the piccolos are all out is even better sounding. Make the band louder, but not by subtracting the actual instruments that make the song the best one around.
"Contrast is key"
I just saw this morning the annarbor.com notebook http://www.annarbor.com/sports/notebook-receiver-greg-matthews-makes-up-...
It says that the piped in music is due to the players requesting it. From that article
"We need music that we can listen to as a group, you know, for our age group," senior tailback Brandon Minor said. "We keep playing music for alumni, but we weren't really feeling it. Last year, (the music) was just kind of dull and we were just going through the motions.
"But when we get music for our age group, we start bouncing around and feeling it."