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Revisited - Pelham Goddard - Thoughts on Panorama and Judging

The following was forwarded to When Steel Talks by veteran arranger Pelham Goddard


Pelham Goddard challenges the qualifications of the judges


It is the view of the public-at-large that panorama music today has become the judges' piece and does not have the sound and feel of arrangers' music of long ago. Recently I read a comment on When Steel Talks in which the person spoke about the real panorama hit tunes of years gone by.

Pan Trinbago is conducting seminars in which arrangers meet with the judges who will guide the arrangers in producing their work for the market. This is bordering on insanity since these very judges are unqualified to guide any arranger as they are generally NOT arrangers. Judges are usually selected from musicians whose specialties and certifications do not include arranging, orchestration and composition. How then can these judges guide arrangers who are, more likely than not, more skilled than they in the area of arranging?

Arrangers are usually more knowledgeable and creative than the judges since they must know all their chords, harmonic progressions, voicings in all keys, counter melodies, counterpoint, modulations and so on. I will like to see or to hear or, as a matter of fact, go to where these judges perform their work; at the least, they should provide examples to the arrangers.


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Nice, very nice..........I am not a musician, panist or arranger, but the judging scenario in Steelband has been questionable for a long time now...Your view Pelham, is a real world point of view.....the governing body has to correct the judging systems, policies and procedures, even though this is merely one of the issues that is screwing up Panorama as a whole
Well said brother. Its about time that pan trinbago in conjuctions with a panel of arrangers select judges based on their own arrangement of a panorama tune.

Quote"Pan Trinbago is conducting seminars in which arrangers meet with the judges who will guide the
arrangers in producing their work for the market."


There is nothing wrong with the product. The arrangers do not need help with the product.


The problem is with the marketing! 

I have always maintained that Pan Trinbago's Priority is how much $$ we making this year... So let's look at that in comparison to wht the steelpan fraternity needs..

In Pan Trinbago Mind;


1. Judges of proper ilk and standard = $$$

2. Proper seminars with Musicians who can actually make a worthy contribution to current arrangers = $$$

3. Formulating BEST SUITABLE Criteria for Panorama Judging = $$$


All this equals LESS $$$ in Officials pockets.. do you really think they would risk that for the benefit of PAN????


I think not....

One way to deal with  this situation is for Pan trinbago to supply their pool of judges and the arrangers choose who  they want to judge. Some people think that it is time to bring foreigners to judge, what's your take on that? I'm against this for the simple reason that there is capable people in Trinidad. Do you think bands should be rewarded for changing the timing in a panorama tune?

Depends if it "works" or not.

If you're referring to Huggins-Watts and Valley Harps, it worked.

- Big Sid

Panorama is not music festival, it's music for the road that is why it's around the carnival season, "chip chip chip to the beat of the steel band" as someone sung in the past, you realise  that this is going to change panorama as we know it.

That's a good point, but I don't think so.

It was only a syncopation on the theme. It was an underscored wail to "do something for pan". Then they came back very nicely to normal panorama tempo.

But you're right, it probably wouldn't translate too well to the road.

- Big Sid

Our Panorama is now heading straight for the La Basse.


In the early Sixties upon completion of one of our first Steelband Music Festivals, Renown and Well Respected Adjudicator Professor John Russell said to our Steelbands, "WHEN PERFORMING A CALYPSO, PLEASE PLAY A CALYPSO"

What next???????..........Swan Lake at next year's Panorama?
You make a good point. I agree there should be limits ... only new tunes for the current carnival season.

Beyond that, let the arrangers do what they want. What "works" will be emulated. What doesn't will be discarded.

We should not put prior restraints on the arrangers. That means that no one can predict how the art form will evolve. But it also ensures that it would not fossilize. And every generation will get to put their own stamp on it.

Btw if we emphasize music "literacy" for panists, what do you think will happen to the art form? Will it become more internationalized in its expression, less, or stay the same?

I agree with whoever it is said that the only constant is change. All we can attempt to do is to steer it a little, or slow it down a little. But embrace it we ultimately must. The arrangers will propose, but it is the public that will dispose.

- Big Sid

Also, as to foreign judges, the result will be to steer the music in a more international direction, that is in a direction away from T&T cultural roots. For example, would a foreign judge appreciate a T&T-style "breakaway"? Maybe. There is a lot to music that is purely technical, but also a lot that requires aesthetic value judgment, which is mostly cultural, and an acquired taste.

- Big Sid


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