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Austria Music off the beaten path

Help!
I'm doing a research thesis on Austrian Marching Bands. This is totally out of the way for normal touring. I need to get out in the country to do this. I'm thinking about spending 4-6 weeks next spring & summer visiting Tirol, Carinthia, Steirmark & Upper & Lower Austria basing my self out of Salzberg or Innsbruck. My traveling would go to various towns in different Districts to attend their Music Fests, parades etc. & get first-hand information that I require to complete the project. I'm looking for tips or advice. As an alternative, I'd like to correspond with anyone that has been there & may answer some questions I have.
Allan Z.

Posted by
3 posts

I've been using that site & it's helped me with a lot of technical & administrative data. Plus I've been visiting various band web sites. However, They don't give me much on day-to-day things, (traditions, culture etc.) that pertain to the band culture & other cultural websites are too general. My questions are quite nuanced (e.g. significance & purpose of Marketenderinen, What constitutes a Music Fest, how do they recruit youth). My attempts to contact them have generated no responses (I've tried both in English & German) except from one person that hasn't replied to my last letter of a month ago.

Posted by
3 posts

P.S.
Do you or anyone know of a contact in South Tirol? They are a part of this also.

Posted by
6854 posts

On one visit to Tirol, I was tuning the radio on my rental car. My wife commented that these people actually listen to this om-pah music. Off the beaten path in Tirol, Northern Italy, Switzerland and Southern Bavaria, it's like going back in time where the accordian is king.

Posted by
1464 posts

This is the funniest and craziest (Austrian) brass band I have ever seen, maybe not quite suitable for your research:
http://www.mnozilbrass.at

Look at their itinerary; if you have the chance to get a ticket for one of the performances, I recommend it.
(Other than my wife, I like this kind of humor.)

There are several videos of that band on YouTube.

Posted by
1168 posts

As far as I understand, larger wind bands are usually attached to an organization - be it a military corp, a fire brigade, the workers of a public service. Smaller bands are usually village bands and are often linked to a voluntary fire brigade and to Schutzen (free shooters) - no public fest in a village would be complete without the marching band a Schutzen firing a volley.

I do not know the philosophy of Marketenderinnen - I have just observed that two of them always march in their full Trachten robes at the head of the band. If the band is just marching their role seems to be decorative (now you are likely to find girls playing in the band, but fifty years ago it would have been more difficult and the Marketenderinnen would have been the only girls in a quasi-military organization). If the band gives a concert they will have a small wooden barrel and they will tour the public selling shots to finance the organization. - As for the Trachten robes, some smaller bands may dispense with uniforms as people would have plenty of Trachten to wear at home, and Trachten is always worn in festive occasions.

Two musical tracts I have observed is the distintive series of Austrian flugelhorns that seem to me a little different from standard flugelhorns (but remember that Germans have their distintive wind instruments, for example orchestra clarinets play the old Muller instruments, not the more modern Boehm fingering; wind band trumpets seem to use standard trumpets while orchestra players must use a Viennese model); and the way some melodic phrases are played, leading to a very accented and staccato note, completely stopping the sound, that seems to give great pleasure to players.

I do not have contact for Sud Tyrol bands, had you a look to the Toblach wind band web site?

Posted by
12792 posts

@ AllanZ...In June I had the luck to see in Vienna a Blasmusikfest, the first Sat in June. Seeing that (my first time) in Vienna was pure coincidence since I learned of the event from a brochure at the Tourist Office. Blasmusik is not played by an ompah band, more involved and intricate than that.

That event had bands from practically all over Austria,.. Salzburg, Upper and Lower Austria, Graz, Tirol, Kärnten , Steiemark, etc. If you know that sort of repertoire, (it was Austrian, no German pieces), they played the classic pieces like "O du mein Õsterreich," " Wien bleibt Wien, " " Hoch und Deutschmeister Marsch," and , of course, at the end of the ceremony, the "Radetsky Marsch" was played....all very fitting.

What was the attendance? Crowded, the last one and a half hours took place in front of the Rathaus.

Posted by
4645 posts

Most festivals happen in Spring and Fall. In the summer, you will not find festivals as everyone goes to Greece and Croatia. You might want to pay more attention to your timing.

Posted by
3412 posts

A comment about Lachera's remarks pertaining to flugelhorns ( ie trumpets ) - Brasswind instruments in Germany and Austria usually operate with rotary valves as opposed to piston valves ( up and down motion ) . Combined with different bore dimensions , they produce slightly different aural colors than piston instruments ( notably , a somewhat warmer and richer sound ) The exception is the French Horn , usually equipped with rotary valves , the Viennese horn has valves similar to pistons ( pumpenventil ) which provide a very smooth transition from note to note , unique in this instrument . Even in the USA , the players in orchestras like NY , Boston , and Cleveland will often use rotary valve brasses , like trumpets , when performing Mahler and Wagner . Waiting in Madrid airport now , for my flight to Munich , and killing time with this trivia .

Posted by
3412 posts

Fred , in Munich for the coming week , then to Vienna , looking forward to the military museum .

Posted by
12792 posts

@ Steven...Yes, I heartily recommend going to the HGM (the Army Museum). Be prepared to spend, ie devote a minimum of three hours, most of it focused on the special WW1 exhibit. If you have a good reading knowledge of German, all the better in reading the realia in the displays. See the Kuppel from Przemysl in the horrific battles in 1914 around Lemberg (present day Lviv). Check out the shop for refreshments and the book selection. It gives you a different perspective on the historiography of WW1. Outside is the "tank garden."

If you want to take pictures with a flash, buy the "Foto-Erlaubnis" ( a permission slip) so that upon shooting a flash, you can show the attendant that.

Posted by
1168 posts

Steven, even in Italy the better orchestras will have a set of German trumpets for playing German romantic music. What I find entertaining is that German orchestra players will use those instruments even when a non German instrument would be better. The color of the sound is unique, but they are so wide bored that they do not climb easily to high notes.- I remember a Berliner Philharmoniker first trumpet struggling along the Petruska solo on his German trumpet, that would have been much easier on any standard C trumpet.

But this is a story mainly concerning symphony orchestra. In wind bands, I cannot tell if they use Muller or Boehm clarinets. Trumpets are mostly standard B flats. All the set of wind band flugelhorns seem to me to be a German variant. The barytons are much similar in shape to Wagner tubas.

Posted by
3412 posts

Lachera , quite true about the Petrushka example . While I am not certain , it has long seemed that the Muller style instruments reign in Germany and Austria . I don't recall what they currently use in Berlin . I am headed to Vienna soon for three weeks and hope to encounter some Schrammelmusik up in the Wienerwald . Sometimes , there is the inclusion of a sopranino clarinet in G or Ab , I would love to hear that in a live setting !

Posted by
1168 posts

Steven, you would not love to hear a G sopranino clarinet, whatever the settings :-)

Posted by
3412 posts

Actually , there is a wonderful video on YouTube of a Viennese ensemble called Philharmonia Schrammlen , about eight minutes long , one part of which , features that instrument , expertly played ( the musician has great control , and does not allow the instrument to go flat , as an often be the case with the higher pitched clarinets ) . I would post the link , but doing that on a tablet has me confounded . The title is something like " the scent of the wine " . Somewhere , I recall reading that the players are members of The Vienna State Opera Orchestra . Two violins , diatonic accordian , contra guitar , and the one section includes the piccolo clarinet . Beautiful playing , Lachera , please give it a listen , I am sure you will lov e
this .