EXPLORING JAZZ ARRANGING
USING GARRITAN JAZZ & BIG BAND
INTERACTIVE EDITION

by Chuck Israels




Lesson 17 - Writing for 4 or More Voices (Cont.)



A WORD ABOUT TRANSPOSITION.

Transposed scores show the instruments in their staves in relation to their ranges, and they represent the parts as the individual musician sees them. Learning to read and write a transposed score saves either score layout or part layout time.

Concert scores may be easier to read at first, but they have range problems. (There is no convenient clef in which to write concert tenor saxophone parts except for the tenor clef, which reads like the normal tenor transposition – just as much work for someone unfamiliar with that clef. Otherwise, tenor parts will require frequent switching between treble and bass clefs.) Working with concert scores using music preparation software, like Finale or Sibelius, seems convenient, since it is possible to switch between concert and transposed views, but there are layout changes that will require considerable adjustment and editing before either finalizing a transposed score, or preparing a transposed score for part extraction. In the end, it is more efficient to learn to work with transposed scores.

CHANGING VOICING TO ACHIEVE A CHANGE IN TIMBRE

Here’s an example of a reason to use an unusual alignment of the saxophone section in order to produce a special effect (transposed score):




Score References & Musical Examples Using JABB:

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As long as the lines are within the ranges of the instruments, it is possible to rearrange parts within the section. This example could also have been orchestrated with a tenor lead and the altos on the 2nd and 3rd parts.



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Here is still one more way to orchestrate this passage. In this case, the lead line is an octave higher in the soprano saxophone spreading the voices even further apart and making the jumps in the lower parts still wider, perhaps enhancing the effect of the change of timbre.




Score References & Musical Examples Using JABB:

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There are other possibilities, of course, and the choice ought to be governed by considerations of range and the character of the music that precedes and follows the passage. In each of these examples, indicating alternate fingerings in the lead line, as Lester young played in the solo that inspired this excerpt, would add to the effect.
(This is a good example to show the advantages and limitations of Garritan JABB in attempting to demonstrate how a band might sound. It takes considerable tweaking in a sequencer to make the computer produce a reasonable approximation of what a good saxophone section can play, and sounds driven solely by a notation program will not render the full effect.)
Sometimes it is useful to use the saxophone section to create a widespread harmonic pad. Here is an example of how tadd Dameron voiced the saxes for this purpose:




Score References & Musical Examples Using JABB:

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This passage could be orchestrated with a trumpet or flugelhorn on the 1st voice, and a trombone on the 3rd voice, but this kind of wide spread benefits in smoothness by the blend of the saxophone choir. It would also sound good orchestrated with 4 clarinets and 1 bass clarinet, though the low A in the 3rd measure would need to be moved up an octave into the 3rd voice. Everything else works fine as written.

Here is an example written for a lighter, more transparent sounding group of instruments. The lead is orchestrated in three octaves, played by the flute, clarinet and guitar. Everything is harmonized in 5 real voices except for a moment of 4 way close, doubled lead at the beginning of measure 12. This excerpt shows several choices for dealing with non-chord tones; planing, secondary dominants, and diminished chords, as well as passages (like mm. 12-14) where the choice of which notes to harmonize as chord tones and which ones to harmonize with secondary approach chords required considerable thought.

The melody of this chorus was written first with careful attention to balances of rhythm, range and register, conjunct and disjunct motion, pitch choice at the points where the line changes direction – all the things that make a memorable and satisfying melody. This work was completed before any choices of parallel harmony were considered, and all of those choices were dictated by the desire to bring out the character, and maximize the emotional impact, of the line.

The accompanying trombone parts have been written to fill rhythmic gaps in the melodic line with short contrapuntal lines and occasional percussive chords. The melody and the accompanying trombone line extend through the “turnaround” and overlap the joint into the following chorus.



Score References & Musical Examples Using JABB:

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Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s work provides multitude of examples of inventive and colorful ways to use the saxophone section. There are countless passages in that repertoire that are worthy of study. Here are two beautiful choruses of the blues, written by Strayhorn for the saxes with a clarinet lead. The first chorus emphasizes the two outer parts in their extreme registers, with the other three voices gathered into a closer grouping that is more or less centered between them. This draws particular attention to the clarinet and baritone sax parts with the three middle parts serving to blend them together. The second chorus sounds more powerful, even though only the baritone is in a particularly strong register, because the compact voicing has more impact. With parts written like this, it’s no wonder that Harry Carney developed his stentorian sound. The effectiveness of this passage absolutely depends on that kind of strength in the baritone part.




Score References & Musical Examples Using JABB:

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Here is a passage from David Berger’s “Monkey Business” in which the saxophone parts are written with interesting octave doublings, a little contrary motion, and finally 5-part harmony. The passage starts with a 2-part texture in contrary motion for 5 notes, settles in to parallel motion (mostly in 10ths), and breaks into 5-part harmony at the end. The first three 5-part dominant chords have the root in the lead part, and the #11th in the second voice, creating a tritone between the upper voices. In this case, this is the sound the composer hears and wants, and it is not a problem. The final chord appears in a more stable voicing with a perfect 4th between the upper voices.



Score References & Musical Examples Using JABB:


Click on Play Button below to Play from the Score



Used by Permission from David Berger




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Coming Next Lesson: Lesson 18 - Writing for the Whole Band