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Topic: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

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  1. #1

    "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    I just worked on this arrangement today based on the well loved hymn "Amazing Grace." This work is not done yet, but I still wanted to share. The work lacks the percussion and the polishing. However, I hope you will still take a listen to the woodwinds, brass, and the counterpoint!
    ~Rod
    https://www.box.com/s/18c45d5d9b11babf9a0c

  2. #2

    Re: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    If Snor comes by tell him there are some great Euphonium lines in this, LOL.
    ~Rod

  3. #3

    Re: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    Rod,

    I must compliment you on a number of things...

    One, a very important issue with a midi "mock up" has to do with the attention to detail of many things, and one of them being,,,
    not overusing dynamics to a point where the listener has to constantly adjust the volume control. You did an excellent job!

    Second, your mixing balance between the various instruments (at least to me) is spot on!
    Harmonies and counterpoint are exactly where they belong, and the melody is never too loud or soft.

    Your choice of sounds and the arrangement is really nice.

    Just a great job overall Rod!

    Dan

  4. #4

    Re: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    Rodney! I just got through thanking Passagio for his hymn posted this morning, and I commented how unusually Sundayish it is here today, with his post and yours - A nice coincidence that you both blessed us this way today.

    Posting a work in progress - What a good idea. That doesn't happen very often here, but I think it's an excellent way to use The Listening Room. To share in each other's projects while the work continues gives me more of that good ol' community spirit that the Garritan Forums are able to have, used to have more often. So thank you for that aspect of your post.

    Listening to what you have so far made me realize I'm not familiar with the verse of this extremely well known hymn - I didn't recognize "Amazing Grace" until you reached the first refrain about half way through. I'll look up a simple version of it to get my bearings on the melody line.

    When you say "I just worked on this arrangement today"--you can't mean you Started the work just yesterday? There's so much development in this already, I can't imagine it taking less than several days of long hours. Made me curious.

    You're going for that extremely big, dramatic production number-like sound that I notice being used more for religious music nowadays. It's quite a tremulously emphatic tone to sustain for so long, but my imagination is picturing how the final version will be in that category, with percussion, and whatever else you're planning. It may be a bit more constantly Epic than I'm comfortable with, but I can still admire the goal.

    Which brass instruments are you using? I think it's mostly or all the SAM brass instruments? There was that big, fat, constantly aggressive sound to them that sounds like the SAM sounds to me. And in the first half, there seem to be so many instruments staying in the lower registers, it was sounding bottom heavy and crowded to me, with some voicings so close together there was a muddying effect. But with this being a work in progress, I could be hearing something that will end up sounding different in the finished recording.

    It's quite a project, Rod - I sense you're having a very rewarding time working on it. Thanks for letting us in on what you have so far!

    Randy

  5. #5
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    Re: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    I especially liked the transition from the moto perpetuo into the Scottish bagpipe at the first statement of the tune figure. The horns / euphonium adds a reinforcing sense of home as you explore other phrasing. A successful start. I can imagine that some organists might like to get their hands on this...it would make a terrific voluntary or extended intro.

  6. #6

    Re: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    Amazing Grace is one of my all-time favorites, Rod... and
    this very considered arrangement of it is particularly well
    thought out -- it develops the material with a subtlety
    that recognizes the source material fully, but without
    beating the listener over the head with it.

    I'll be very interested to hear this as it develops further.
    There's a lot of promise here if you continue with the same
    steady but largely referential outlook.

    All the best,



    David
    -----
    David Sosnowski
    www.DavidSosnowski.com

  7. #7

    Re: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    Quote Originally Posted by composingatnight View Post
    If Snor comes by tell him there are some great Euphonium lines in this, LOL.
    ~Rod
    Snorlax is in the building.

    Snorlax has listened.

    Snorlax enjoyed mightily what he heard.

    Snorlax wishes to learn from you how you get your sound!

    (BTW, those suspensions get me every time!!)
    Jim Williams
    Professor of Capitalism
    N9EJR
    Indianapolis Brass Choir
    All Your Bass Sus&Short Are Belong to Us.

  8. #8

    Re: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    Quote Originally Posted by snorlax View Post
    Snorlax is in the building.

    Snorlax has listened.

    Snorlax enjoyed mightily what he heard.

    Snorlax wishes to learn from you how you get your sound!

    (BTW, those suspensions get me every time!!)
    Well, thank you kind Snorlax for stopping by and taking a listen to a composition based on a medium both you and I are very familiar with, and I just love those suspensions also. Suspensions in a band are like telling an orchestra, “Hey! We have heart too, you know.” I may post the score for you also so you can check out the orchestration and countermelodies. Here is a list of Garritan samples that I have used so far:

    Woodwinds: COMB2 Flute Section, GPO4 Clarinet in Bb Solo, COMB2 Alto Saxophone Section, GPO4 Bass Clarinet Player 1 (The bass clarinet sample acts like a group of players I like to call the low reed section. This is a group that includes: bass clarinets, tenor and baritone saxophones. When this section of players play together it gives a warm reedy sound that blends in with the rest of the ensemble. You “feel” them more than “hear” them, but if they were missing you would know. It also helps the clarinets sound as though they are in a full section especially when they play the melody together in combination with the 1st trombones and euphoniums.)

    Brass: SAM Trumpet Section, SAM Horn Section, SAM Trombone Section, COMB2 Euphonium Section, SAM Bass Trombone, SAM Tuba, GPO4 Tuba 2 Solo, and a little mellow version GPO4 Trumpet Solo 1 KS mixed in the second trumpets for a little expressive mellower sound in the sweet parts giving the 1st trumpets a rest and a time for them to shine.

    Instead of the warm and pleasant sound of a wind ensemble or brass band, I was leaning toward the might and power of a marching band but with a caffeine shot of drum and bugle corps!
    ~Rod

  9. #9

    Re: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    Quote Originally Posted by DPDAN View Post
    Rod,

    I must compliment you on a number of things...

    One, a very important issue with a midi "mock up" has to do with the attention to detail of many things, and one of them being,,,
    not overusing dynamics to a point where the listener has to constantly adjust the volume control. You did an excellent job!

    Second, your mixing balance between the various instruments (at least to me) is spot on!
    Harmonies and counterpoint are exactly where they belong, and the melody is never too loud or soft.

    Your choice of sounds and the arrangement is really nice.

    Just a great job overall Rod!

    Dan
    Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and listening, Dan. It’s a relief hearing from you that the balance of harmonies and counterpoint are exactly where they belong because I was premature in the fact that I let the forum take a listen even before the project was finished. I was going for that blended brass and reed sound where you are not quite sure what instrument you are listening to. To make sure the listener could hear the melody I always brought it up, but interesting enough I would boost the countermelody a little higher since I thought the listener would have the melody subconsciously in their heads anyways. Also, anytime there were little 16th notes, I would boost the velocity on those notes.

    ~Rod

  10. #10

    Re: "Amazing Grace" for Band (All Garritan)

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Rodney! I just got through thanking Passagio for his hymn posted this morning, and I commented how unusually Sundayish it is here today, with his post and yours - A nice coincidence that you both blessed us this way today.

    Posting a work in progress - What a good idea. That doesn't happen very often here, but I think it's an excellent way to use The Listening Room. To share in each other's projects while the work continues gives me more of that good ol' community spirit that the Garritan Forums are able to have, used to have more often. So thank you for that aspect of your post.

    Listening to what you have so far made me realize I'm not familiar with the verse of this extremely well known hymn - I didn't recognize "Amazing Grace" until you reached the first refrain about half way through. I'll look up a simple version of it to get my bearings on the melody line.

    When you say "I just worked on this arrangement today"--you can't mean you Started the work just yesterday? There's so much development in this already, I can't imagine it taking less than several days of long hours. Made me curious.

    You're going for that extremely big, dramatic production number-like sound that I notice being used more for religious music nowadays. It's quite a tremulously emphatic tone to sustain for so long, but my imagination is picturing how the final version will be in that category, with percussion, and whatever else you're planning. It may be a bit more constantly Epic than I'm comfortable with, but I can still admire the goal.

    Which brass instruments are you using? I think it's mostly or all the SAM brass instruments? There was that big, fat, constantly aggressive sound to them that sounds like the SAM sounds to me. And in the first half, there seem to be so many instruments staying in the lower registers, it was sounding bottom heavy and crowded to me, with some voicings so close together there was a muddying effect. But with this being a work in progress, I could be hearing something that will end up sounding different in the finished recording.

    It's quite a project, Rod - I sense you're having a very rewarding time working on it. Thanks for letting us in on what you have so far!

    Randy
    I liked to wish a happy Sunday to you and everyone else on the forum Randy, and I am happy that I could bring back some feelings of good old community spirit and share this with all of you. I pray that you all will find inspiration through composition and music. Didn’t you know Passagio and I got together and planned it like this? We’ve been planning this for months now.

    Now concerning this arrangement of Amazing Grace, the old hymn in its original theme was only 16 measures and mostly I, IV, and V chords. The “verses” that you were not familiar with are 2 melodies composed by myself that I felt could serve as a companion to this much well-beloved hymn. The chords as you can tell are totally revamped also causing tension and release through resolved suspensions and deceptive cadences. The inspiration of combining original melodies with well-known hymns came from listening and playing works such as “On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss” by David Holsinger which is basically an arrangement of “It is Well with My Soul” for band. Some other composers who get away with not having to put the curse of “arranged by” on their works are Frank Ticheli for his version of “Amazing Grace” and even Gustav Host for works such as his “Suites for Military Band” and even works such as “Jupiter” from “The Planets.” So maybe if I compose enough original material maybe history or a publisher will let me put “Amazing Grace” composed by Rodney Money also, but that is whole new can of worms isn’t it?

    I compose really fast Randy, because I do it all in my head. I can sit at a piano thrash out the chords and the form; try playing out the melodies on brass and woodwind instruments for the ornamentation and characteristics that the piano cannot feel, and write it down as I am playing. This process for this work of writing on paper only took a day. I hear music in my head 24/7 so as I walk around doing this or that I am composing the finished project inside my head. I have studied compositions and played in so many ensembles that my mind can automatically hear a melody how it sounds blended with for example: horn section, alto saxophone section, clarinet section, and 2nd trumpets. Then I hear the chords in the low brass and reeds supporting the melody accented by percussion. So when I transcribe the music on paper to the computer sending out samples, it takes me longer because I am trying to get the sound in my head coming out of my speakers or at least a pretty good mock up. I pick with people saying that I can compose just about anything if you give me a full 3 day weekend without bothering me. That does, however, give me another resource or trick in my bag to make money composing also. I have been commissioned many times by schools to write for certain ensembles such as band, orchestras, or choirs and I have the blends and textures inside my head ready at a second to use. That’s why I also write for strange groups of instruments such as works for violin, clarinet, bassoon, and tuba so my mind learns new colors. A beautiful sound by the way is a tuba in its high register in unison with a bassoon. It produces a new unique color in the orchestra.

    So in short of composing quickly, I knew that I wanted “Amazing Grace” to sound like a marching band or drum and bugle core with woodwinds. I knew how to achieve the texture and threw the “notes to the samples,” but it was much harder to get the computer to make sure the samples sounded right and not distorted than actually composing the work on paper.

    This work takes me back to the days of being in high school and college playing in 200+ member marching bands. We used to have these moments warming-up right before a football game on Friday nights or Saturday mornings. Everyone was dressed in their uniforms, the excitement was in the air, and then with a down beat the most powerful sound you ever heard was unleashed in the rehearsal room as spectators watched and listened in awe. We could feel the chills running up and down our spines as we went through our music but we always “had a moment” when we played a ballad. Then as we marched down to the stadium we knew that we were going to blow the crowd away not only with our sound but also our hearts and passion. That’s the same feel I was trying to convey with “Amazing Grace;” dramatic, eternally epic, extremely emotional with a Biblical experience. Was that descriptive enough?

    Because I was going for that big aggressive sound I did use more SAM samples in the brass but with a touch of GPO4 Trumpet 1 Solo KS mixed in the 2nd trumpets for more tender moments. Also, I did not want the tubas to sound just like one player so I mixed a couple of layers (SAM Tuba Solo and GPO4 Tuba Solo 2) in there also mixed with some SAM bass trombone for a bite. To me, this gave the impression of a mature contrabass bugle section which are the lowest instruments in drum and bugle corps.

    What some people hear as mud others such as fans of marching bands would find as “chocolate.” But you might be right. The chocolate might be a little too rich and may have to be thinned out a little. I can tell you what you are hearing though. It’s the sound of the trombones being split into two parts with a euphonium, and then the “contras” taking the bass. It is very tight harmony all in that low bass clef register. Even the clarinet sections mixed with the low reeds are in their low chalumeau register in unison with the 1st trombones and euphoniums. So I believe the mud you are hearing is tight chords in the bass clef, but I blame the orchestration of the modern day marching band for that one. LOL.

    Thank you once again Randy for the comments, compliments, and taking a listen.
    ~Rod

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