For awhile now I've been on the quest to develop presentable Concert Band scores of some of my music. Through the invaluable feedback from Forum members Rodney "composingatnight," Graham "Plowking," Art "gogreen1," Jeff Turner, Yjoh, FrankD, and the enthusiastic encouragement from others such as Bill "wrayer," Cass Hansen, RichardMC, Phil "fastlane," jaynkate01, Richard "sururick, Larry Alexander, Max Hamburg, RichR and Sean Damon - the scores are getting in better shape for submitting to publishers.
But every day brings new questions. Here are some things I'm currently unsure about, and so would appreciate some input. I'll add to this thread when and if yet more questions arise.
Here's the score for "A Most Amusing Man" which was updated 6/30/13. I'm likely to have another update before the day is over, but this link will always take you to whatever the newest version is:
"A Most Amusing Man" for Concert Band
The score's gone through a lot of changes since I posted the first version in The Listening Room. It was re-notated from 4/4 to 12/8, it was dropped a full step to be in F instead of G, the extreme ranges for instruments were tamed so all notes are now in the "comfortable" range, rests and notes are now correctly grouped (as per the assistance I got on THIS thread, and I've consolidated percussion lines so they aren't taking up half the page!
On the Listening Room thread HERE, Graham has pointed out, I believe accurately, that I indulged in dynamic marking overkill when I notated short swells like this:
I wanted to make sure it was understood that there's a fast swell from mp up to mf and down again. But I think we can agree that I need to remove the middle dynamic and just leave the two hairpins. Right?
I keep wrestling with the danged percussion. Initially I just threw in all the percussion I wanted, not caring if it took a whole army to play all of it. But I can see in published scores that having just 3 percussion lines in a score is average, with 5 being the most I've found. I consolidated my original 11 lines - ! - to 7, but it's still too much. I need to thin out the parts so that even more percussion instruments can be played by single musicians. Right now there are sections where all of the extra percussion is playing at the same time, making these 7 parts the fewest possible, but I'm rather sure I just need to cut some bits here and there so I can whittle it all down to 3 or 4 lines. Correct?
Right now in the score, the order of the percussion is wrong. Once I started combining instruments, I was unsure of what the new order should be. This current list of percussion should probably be listed:
Timpani and Blocks
Snare and Bass ("perc 4")
Cymbals ("perc 1")
Perc 3 (triangle etc)
--Right? BUT - I can't find a single example of a score where the timpanist plays any additional instruments. I thought it could work in this case, with the timpani resting so often. I pictured the timpanist turning to the wood blocks so he could play those when needed. But that's just not done is it? If it is OK, that would be helpful, but I'm pretty sure it's unheard of.
I didn't give the woodblocks to one of the percussion lines because, as I explained above, they're already busy playing other things. So, once again - I'm probably facing the need to just cut some lines so that percussion 3 or 4 can also play those blocks. Is that right?
WOODWINDS 1 and 2
Looking at CB scores, I can see that usually, not always, but usually there are two parts written for clarinet and the alto sax, and fairly often also for flutes. I've always tended to write just one line for all instruments, and that's what I have in this "Amusing" score. That puts me in a quandary though. Because of a number of factors, I've been told this and my other CB adaptations are all "grade 5 or 6" - It seems that for a piece to be in that apparently professional category of difficulty, then it would be expected that there would be two distinct parts for those instruments, clarinets, alto sax and flute.
The arrangement works for me as it is. I can't quite imagine re-doing it yet again, adding 2nd parts for all those instruments. If I did, I suppose doing things like having one of the clarinets doubling the flute line an octave lower would be a starting point?
BUT if I do end up having just one line for an instrument like clarinet that usually has two parts, then is it necessary to still say in the score "Bb Clarinet 1, 2"--? Why say that if there's just one line? I have seen scores with single lines that omit the "1, 2" and that looks logical to me. Input?
Important caveat: Through the feedback I've gotten, I'm rather sure that this score and the others I've been working on, wouldn't be accepted by a publisher. They may show interest in what I'm able to do, but they're more likely to accept simpler things for the lower grades, and pieces that are more conventional in their structure. That being said, I'm still not deterred from wanting to submit these pieces at least as an introduction of myself to the publishers. Then, later on down the line when I have simpler, more traditional CB scores to submit, maybe it will have helped that I'd already made previous contact with these scores.
Input on anything I've brought up in this post would be appreciated - even on things I haven't brought up. What I'm wanting is to be sure I'm not submitting things to publishers that will be dismissed out of hand simply because I didn't lay the score out in an acceptable way.
Onwards I go!