Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Alex, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. I want to arrange a piece for a full jazz band. However, I really don't have much knowledge of concert pitch or how these instruments are supposed to harmonize. Help? :help:

    Hey! I'm just the bass player...
  2. what in particular do you need help with? saying " i want to arrange a piece for jazz band" doesn't really say what you're really needing help with. bit more detail would certainly help :)
  3. BassChuck


    Nov 15, 2005
    You would find a basic orchestration book a big help I think. Anything will do, and don't mind that there are instruments in the book that you don't need for jazz band, you might need that info someday for something else.

    You'll need to know the PRACTICAL ranges for the instruments, that is.... lowest and highest notes that are useable for the brass and woodwind instruments that are in your jazz ensemble. By 'practical' I mean the range of notes that are easiest for the players to deal with and get the best sound from the horns. Most wind instruments are capable of higher and lower notes than are regularly heard, but they don't have the characteristic tone of the horn and sometimes present some problems for players to produce.

    You'll also need to understand TRANSPOSING instruments and how to write (transpose) the notes for the players so that they will produce the correct pitch. That sounds difficult, but its really not... its just information, not skill.

    After all that, the rest is your musicianship, knowing what is best for a band and how to get that all together. By all means, after you've done some basic research about the information I listed above you should try to arrange some music and see what happens. Don't be afraid of failure, its a valid human experience and sometimes the best teacher.

    I would suggest that you at first arrange just one or two phrases of the song and then have the band read it and see how it goes. Without question you'll learn alot from that, and then you'll be ready to do the whole arrangement. Also.... make sure the parts that you hand the players are copied correctly and clearly. Take some time to look at the music they already have so you know what the players are used to seeing. If the parts have mistakes or are hard to read, the players won't have a lot of confidence in them and that will affect the way the music sounds. Having a good computer music printing program is a fantastic tool. Finale or Sibelius are excellent programs.

    Good luck.
  4. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    If you can, try to find the Berklee Press Arranging 1 book.
  5. Alright, I'll look into that. 1 step ahead of you on Finale!