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Author Topic: Military/NATO Alphabet  (Read 741 times)
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trombonejb
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« on: Nov 16, 2017, 10:17AM »

If I was able to and had one thing to say in the Band Director's FB page, I'd say this.

Anytime you have a letter of the alphabet for a rehearsal marking, Avoid saying the word for the letter such as "B" ("Bee"). This can be confused with C, D, E, G, P, T, V and Z.
Instead, use the Military/NATO Alphabet. You instantly make it that much easier for musicians who are hard of hearing like me to hear what the conductor said.

It's a good skill to learn if you want a job in communications!

"why do we need to do this?"

For the short answer. Scroll down in the link to where it says in big red letters "The Need for the NATO Alphabet".

Thanks and have a good Thursday.

http://militarytimechart.com/military-phonetic-alphabet/
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Andrew Meronek

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« Reply #1 on: Nov 16, 2017, 03:37PM »

Agreed. That alphabet was designed specifically to be phonetically recognizable over terrible audio media. Pretty useful.
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harrison.t.reed
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 16, 2017, 03:55PM »

Hey, I do this!  :D
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 16, 2017, 04:24PM »

Alfa Bravo, or Able Baker?

Alfa Bravo was put together to be more or less independent of the interlocutors’ first language, at least within NATO. Kind of like how legend has it that most US radiotelephone operators in the 1940s were from Ohio, since they could understand and be understood by just about everybody else.

I know for a fact that in the eighties some military VHF voice radios had to have not just enough bandwidth for intelligibility in the noise,, but enough for speaker recognition. That was yet another layer of verifiability, since maintenance on some strategic systems was coordinated by crews who talked to each other all the time, and could be expected to know who was supposed to be on the other end at any given time.

pip-pip til the ack emma...
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Doghouse Dan

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« Reply #4 on: Nov 17, 2017, 07:58AM »

"Please take it from letter "E" as in "euphonium"
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 17, 2017, 08:37AM »

Largely unnecessary, if you can get them to pay attention.

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« Reply #6 on: Nov 17, 2017, 09:15AM »

"Please take it from letter "E" as in "euphonium"


"But it doesn't go to letter U" Evil
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 17, 2017, 11:17AM »

Proper response would be:

One Delta.

Ten Tango. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 17, 2017, 11:41AM »

Proper response would be:

One Delta.

Ten Tango. 

Sounds like operator headspace, or what sparkies would call a short between the earphones.
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JohnL
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« Reply #9 on: Nov 17, 2017, 12:16PM »

Sounds like operator headspace, or what sparkies would call a short between the earphones.
Chair-to-keyboard interface error or a wetware malfunction.
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« Reply #10 on: Nov 17, 2017, 01:17PM »

"Foxtrot" is quaint.

I'm surprised they havn't replaced the three syllable words with shorter ones.

"Whiskey" will get a parent complaint.  Bad dog.  No Biscuits.

You think I'm kidding.
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« Reply #11 on: Nov 17, 2017, 01:57PM »

"Foxtrot" is quaint.

I'm surprised they havn't replaced the three syllable words with shorter ones.

"Whiskey" will get a parent complaint.  Bad dog.  No Biscuits.

You think I'm kidding.

I've always use Fox rather than foxtrot.

Also, I never say whiskey.  I say wisk-y.  The wire kind.  "A wisk-y motion, as though scrabbling eggs."  If you listen closely, you can tell the difference.   Evil
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Stretch Longarm
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« Reply #12 on: Nov 17, 2017, 02:31PM »

Trombonist's phonetic alphabet:

Awkward
Blat
Clam
Doit
Easy
Faceplant
Gliss
Hiccup
Inversion
Joke
Key
Loud
Mangle
Noise
Ouch
Punch
Quiet
Rest
Spitvalve
Trill
Upbeat
Valve
Wonky
Xcellent
Yell
Zinger
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« Reply #13 on: Nov 18, 2017, 12:11PM »

Largely unnecessary, if you can get them to pay attention.


I would have to disagree: As an older musician with poor hearing no matter how hard I pay attention I often hear letters wrong, B sounds like E, or G etc.  This would definately help me be in the right place.  As part of a community band that includes lots of seniors I can also tell you I'm not the only one with the issue. 
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harrison.t.reed
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« Reply #14 on: Nov 19, 2017, 07:21AM »

"Foxtrot" is quaint.

I'm surprised they havn't replaced the three syllable words with shorter ones.

"Whiskey" will get a parent complaint.  Bad dog.  No Biscuits.

You think I'm kidding.

It's not about the starting letter so much as being able to always identify the word representing the letter. One syllable words can easily be garbled away on radios that really aren't any better than the ones from WW2.

The NATO alphabet makes it easy to recognize letters by using weird words. "Fox" can be eaten up by the radio, but "--xtrot" will still be understood even if the soft F sound gets eaten up.

'INDIA' is three syllables, but it is unmistakable. Saying "'I' as in 'is'" is not as clear.

It seems weird and funny but when you're actually having to give a 9 line medevac order over an ASIP, and the guy on the other end gets it in one go, you think "ah, I get it".

So if you're working with kids and not over a radio, it doesn't matter. You can say "letter i, as in 'I'".
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"My technique is as good as Initial D"
T-396A - Griego 1C
88HTCL - Griego 1C
36H - DE XT105, C+, D Alto Shank
3B/F Silversonic - Griego 1A ss
pBone (with Yellow bell for bright tone)
trombonejb
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« Reply #15 on: Nov 19, 2017, 07:57PM »

Love the positive feedback guys! SPread the word when you can!
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elmsandr

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« Reply #16 on: Nov 20, 2017, 05:13AM »

I would have to disagree: As an older musician with poor hearing no matter how hard I pay attention I often hear letters wrong, B sounds like E, or G etc.  This would definately help me be in the right place.  As part of a community band that includes lots of seniors I can also tell you I'm not the only one with the issue. 

This is kinda right, however I have to say that it is largely unnecessary to use extraneous words to call out starting places...

If you cannot tell where you are starting by the context of what has just happened in the rehearsal, W.T.H. is the director calling out that as a starting place?  Similarly, if you are moving to a new topic and trying to get an entire band to follow you, that should be explained with enough time to visually select the location and know WHY you are playing there.  The communication of the letter where starting is probably the easiest part of this, having a thought out method to rehearsing the music is the hard part and THAT is where the failure of communication is.

FWIW, I kinda like the directors that like to say P for pneumonia and such.  Again, if the communication of WHAT and WHY we are rehearsing is sufficient, the WHERE is easy.

That said, if the rehearsals are so noisy that you cannot hear the director, it probably doesn't matter if some of the group knows where you are starting or not.

Cheers,
Andy
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Andrew Elms
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« Reply #17 on: Nov 20, 2017, 09:20PM »

Incidentally, this phonetic alphabet has been in existence for 65 years.  It isn't like learning Esperanto.  To nearly everybody alive today who has had military experience, it's already familiar.
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« Reply #18 on: Nov 22, 2017, 09:40AM »

Incidentally, this phonetic alphabet has been in existence for 65 years.  It isn't like learning Esperanto.  To nearly everybody alive today who has had military experience, it's already familiar.

Very true, also the listener doesn't need to learn the alphabet to know that Foxtrot stands for letter F, etc.
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