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Topic: Books about "Arranging"

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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Lincoln City, Oregon
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    194

    Books about "Arranging"

    There was a topic about books and references for orchestration and now I, anyway, would like a list of books about "arranging", since someday (soon I hope) the Garritan Jazz and Big Band Library will be out and I need some information about how to use them, too.

    My understanding is that "Orchestration" is the taking of a line of music and a chord progression and making that into something that is suitable for playing by a symphony orchestra.

    My understanding is also that "Arranging" is the taking of a line of music and a chord progression and making that into something that is suitable for playing by a group other than a symphony orchestra, including for piano, a jazz or other duo, trios, etc. up to and including big bands.

    So what I want/need is a list of really good books for learning about how to do arranging.

    Thanks,
    Tom

  2. #2

    Re: Books about "Arranging"

    Tom

    The best books to learn arranging, and in particular big band/jazz arranging are-
    Inside the Score by Rayburn Wright and if your harmony is not up to speed, The Jazz Piano by mark lavine. I am a drummer who read them and now makes a living a an arranger! There are also the Sebesky, Grove and Mancini books that have lots of examples but none cut to the chase like those 2 books. You also need to transcribe. This seems to allow you to learn much more about what was done to the tune than just seeing it in a score. By using your eyes you have turned off your ears.

    BTW Orchestrating is when you take existing material and add or change the instrumentation but do not really change the form or the harmony etc. In LA it means taking a sketch be it a mocked up sequencer file or a pencil sketch and making it work for the ensemble. Sometimes it is very creative and you go from a piano to full orchestra, others it is a simple as putting in the articulations and dynamics. Arranging is when you start to create new lines. It could be adding a string section to a pop song or startiing from scratch with a tune and harmonizing it and creating your own setting. Has nothing to do with Jazz or classical.


    Obmit

  3. #3

    Re: Books about "Arranging"

    You also may want to have look into "Arranged by Nelson Riddle" - by, you guess it: Nelson Riddle. Without going into too much detail for a beginner, it covers arranging and orchestrating in jazz/pop environments.

  4. #4

    Re: Books about "Arranging"

    Here's a post I made a few months ago for someone asking for advice on jazz theory. I included a handful of arranging books and resources. Incidentally, the entire thread is here: http://www.northernsounds.com/forum/...ghlight=Mingus


    "The Jazz Theory Book" by Mark Levine is an excellent resource that has just about everything you'll need.

    Also his "The Jazz Piano Book" will fill in some other details, especially when it comes to chord voicings.

    Those books are great for understanding the pure theory... When it comes to instrumentation and arranging (which is just as important, if not more, for capturing the flavor of jazz), here are some great books to check out:

    "Inside the Score" by Rayburn Wright
    "The Professional Arranger Composer" by Russell Garcia
    and the arranging books by Sammy Nestico and Don Sebesky

    I have a little handbook by William Russo called "composing for the jazz ensemble" which packs a lot of great information into a little book. I would use it as a supplement, but not a main resource for learning.

    There's a book called "More than Just a Fake book" with scores and manuscripts and rough drafts of Mingus works.

    There's another similar one with Gil Evans scores, which I think is just called "The Gil Evans Collection"

    Most importantly, study standards... Listen and follow along with lead sheets, play through them, study how one chord flows to another, find patterns in how certain alterations are used (#11, b13, etc). Buy some fake books and go to town!

    These books will help you capture the jazz "flavor" -- as in, things that "sound jazzy" because of the chords, rhythms, instrumentation, feel, voicings, etc. Ultimately, what makes jazz jazz is the improvisation, the spontanaeity, the live performance aspect of it...

    Still, I'm foaming at the mouth for the Big Band module...

    chris.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Lincoln City, Oregon
    Posts
    194

    Re: Books about "Arranging"

    LOL, I've already got a more than knee high stack of fake books ranging all the way from The Ultimate Fake Book to 1000 Hymns. What I'm looking for now is how to translate those lead sheets into things for big bands, etc. to play and I'm calling that "arranging".

    I had talked to Dick Grove on the telephone several times during the year before he died, so I found his book on arranging concepts available through Amazon.com, and I just ordered it. Next month, after I pay some bills, I'll get some more books, most likely the Rayburn Wright and Mark Levine ones and then start reading and getting ready for the BIG DAY when the Garritan Jazz and Big Band Library becomes available.

    Thanks,
    Tom

  6. #6

    Re: Books about "Arranging"

    Just so you know, the Levine book doesn't have much (if anything) on arranging. It's an extremely good resource for jazz theory, but if you're looking specifically for big band arranging skills, it won't have what you need.

    If I were to recommend 2 books, I'd recommend the Wright Book and the Garcia book. The Sebesky or Nestico books could be substituted for the Garcia one, as they're a bit more modern, but I still think the Garcia one is my favorite.

    chris.

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