Design Analysis FAQ

June 18, 2018


What is Design Analysis?
– This caption is analytical and structural in nature.
– It rewards the integration of staging development, body/equipment (dynamics & utilization) in a unified, seamless, artistic, audio-sensitive, and totality over time.
– It rewards the students for their technical, expressive reflection of all responsibilities and has a strong base in the structure of the music.

What is Composition?
– This is the architect’s blue print or “plan” upon which the program is “built.” It involves the arrangement of forms, lines, values and other pictorial elements into a moving design.
– This sets up the conceptualization of planned events through time; it guides when, where and why an equipment/body presentation will occur.
– This is where the artistic form of the show is planned.

How is this caption different from Repertoire?
– Repertoire is built based on the compositional plan. Repertoire is intended to evoke an emotional reaction, while Composition is the actual plan. Compare composition to the blue print of the house and repertoire to the more cosmetic additions to the design as the production value enhances the plan.

What is design?
– Design is the grouping or arrangement of the elements within a composition including plan, function, time and unity.

What is horizontal orchestration?
– It is the design progression through time, running from the first count of the show to the last.
– It includes the conceptualization & evolution of planned events (equipment/movement)
– It includes the design quality of transitions, and prop changes.

What is vertical orchestration?
– This is the design of body and equipment.
– It is the “event” that has been planned through the composing process discussed above.
– A series of equipment and/or movement moments, strung together without designed development is deficient in the composing process, even if the equipment/movement moments themselves are of good quality.
– Here the designer chooses which pieces of equipment will be orchestrated, and/or which type of movement will occur.

What are the principles/elements of design?
– The principles of design represent the small number of elements upon which the designer draws to compose the visual arrange¬ment.
– These elements include line, shape, space, texture, balance, emphasis, symmetry, asymmetry, dimen¬sion, unity and MOTION.
– Like the 26 letters of our alphabet serving as the basis for the entire English lan¬guage, these tools are the alphabet of visual de¬sign, and offer as many possibilities in how they combine.
– The unique blend and layering of these elements comprise the language of the visual script. In winter guard, we translate these principles from stationary to moving design.

How does one use elements of design in staging?
– Through the linear/curvilinear changes of shape.
– Through the manipulation of spatial changes.
– Through the contrast between line and texture.
– Through “mass” or “density” of forms in contrast to less weighted shapes
– Through the variations of motion that connect events.

How does one use elements of design in Movement and Equipment Vocabulary?
– Elements of line, shape, balance, emphasis, asymmetry, dimen¬sion, unity, etc., when applied to the orchestration of flags, rifles, sabers, props, arms, legs, and torso, provides a unique and changing design in space.
– Equipment/body design can be composed in a close kinesphere or a large kinesphere altering the spatial and dynamic presence of the moment.
– Choices of direction, plane and speed connect the lines and shapes.
– This aspect of design creates contrast, dimension and emphasis.

What constitutes quality of design?
– Clarity of Intent
– Variety
– Creativity in combining elements of design
– Reflection of musical structure both literal and non-literal.
– Detailing of Characteristics
– The absence of design flaw does not assure superior composition. Recognize the difference between thin/sparsely written design and more sophisticated efforts.

What constitutes depth of design?
– All of the above plus the inclusion of the following:
• Design layers that enrich the event
• Complexity of restaging or of equipment/movement vocabulary
• Simultaneous multiple events

Can an A Class guard have depth of design?
– Keep in mind that all of the components discussed are relative to the degree of development of the guard and the class.
– A Class guards are best served by focusing on QUALITY of design and adding layers for depth only as the students are capable of handling the added responsibilities.
– Characteristics are a layer that should always be included at all levels.

What is musical structure?
– Phrasing
– Time signature
– Tempo
– Voicing
– Dynamics

How does a design enhance/illustrate the musical structure?
– By following the components listed above, the motion/equipment and/or body mirror the sound of the music and provide a multi-sensory result that allows the viewer to see as well as hear the music.
– Even if the guard is performing to a “silent” segment, they still have the opportunity to demonstrate all the components listed above thereby creating their own visual music.

What are essential efforts and dynamic range and how are they included in the design?
– All movement will have aspects of the essential “efforts” of space, time, weight, and flow.
– Changes or variations in each of the efforts of space, time, weight and flow create visual dynamics. The degree of change or gradations in each of these efforts is what creates the Dynamic Range. Without gradations within these efforts, the design would be at one constant tempo and speed and look sterile and lifeless.
– Change of spatial relationships will have a significant dynamic impact on the look of the staging/design. (Moving from close or tight forms to more open sets.)
– These qualities should be included in teaching the body/equipment or staging changes in effort. The students need to learn how to effect these changes together with the use of breath in managing the flow aspect of dynamics.
– A common failing in many guards is to write everything in 4’s disregarding the time signature. It makes a significant difference when done correctly. (It is common to hear these efforts and dynamic range referred to as “expressive efforts” and “expressive range.”)

Does the guard always have to be literal to the musical structure?
– A group might wish to work in opposition or juxtaposition to the music. They take on a huge challenge because in essence they are creating their own musical line that must blend with the existing soundtrack. It is a further challenge because most viewers are conditioned to see what they hear and comprehension of the concept may be compromised. Clarity of intent will be key to the success of this type of approach.
– Sometimes a minimalist music choice will prompt the designer to create an additional “visual musical line” to lie on top of the sound. Some aspects will still blend, such as phrasing and dynamics. This is not recommended for young or immature guards or designers.
What are characteristics, detail and nuance?
– Characteristics are those qualities (gesture, personality, musical style, etc.) that will suggest how the equipment and movement vocabulary will be written and performed. These characteristics might be important to the music, (voices, dynamics, etc.) or the character of the performers, or they might be designed to create expressive dynamics. They might also be a part of recurring motifs, which lend depth and interest to the design.
– Suppose the program calls for a playful personality. This will suggest the manner in which the equipment/movement vocabulary will be written as well as the manner in which the performer(s) will approach that vocabulary. It would be far different from a dark ominous personality with dark music where the approach to the vocabulary might be aggressive and strong.
– Detailing these important qualities adds a layer to the quality and depth of the designed moment and brings greater clarity/credibility to the design.

What is unity?
– Unity is the purposeful agreement among the elements of design.
– It implies that a congruity exists among the elements.
– The whole must be predominant over the parts.
– First see the whole design then see the in¬dividual elements within that whole.
– The aim of unity is to make the design coherent and readable.
– Unity provides a “harmony” or blend between multiple events and multiple musical lines that are being illustrated.

How is Excellence different from Performance Effect?
– Excellence involves technical skills and the application and understanding of dynamics.
– Performance effect employs theater techniques and expressive communication.

What constitutes spacing, line, timing and orientation?
– Correct interval, distance, cover and dress are the basis for accurate spacing and line.
– Moving through a phrase with precision and unison provides quality timing.
– Orientation is the ability to reset a form with understanding of how to move through space and arrive at the designated destination accurately.

How do the performers show a dynamic range of efforts?
– They possess the ability to control/alter gradations of space, time, weight and flow at both a body and an equipment level.

What is style?
– Style is the designer’s choice of “how” the movement/equipment vocabulary is written and performed.
– Style is most commonly understood through music and dance as recognized in the author’s personal approach to the creation.

How do performers adhere to style?
– By fully understanding the designer’s intent. This relates to the degree of information provided the performers by their instructor and translates to their ability to demonstrate that intent within the show.

How do performers demonstrate training, concentration, stamina and recovery?
– Training develops heightened qualities that transform the individual from a “pedestrian” mode to the role of “performer.”
– The conditioning of the mind and the body is first taught, then internalized, then performed. This is how concentration, stamina and recovery manifest.