Monday, 30 September 2013

[My 5 Horns-Part Arrangement] "Blue Bossa": Trumpet, Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophone, Trombone

Okay now, after a really long absence, finally I'm back ! 
Well it's because I've been really occupied with working on my school project ! So this course is part of my classes at International College Of Music (ICOM) & really, I have to do well for the class in order to qualify for the Berklee exchange programme !! 
& I can't wait to go study at the awesome Berklee College of Music. Seriously, I'm really looking forward to all the new experiences I could have there, different country, culture, people, music, everything ! Anything that could remove me from this place where I've been for 20 years of my life, oh well, not really 20 because I spent 6 years of that 20 studying in Singapore hahaha.

Okay ! I shall not digress. So this is the first time in my life I'm arranging horn parts for a song. I chose Blue Bossa because for one, I love bossa nova tunes. Another of my favorite bossa tune would be Girl From Ipanema. But for this project, I presume I have to choose something simpler because the tasks involved ain't going to be simple.

Frankly, I'm really never into arranging music at all. Because it involves a really meticulous process and you have to notate everything down in stone, everything would be fixed. If an ensemble is going to play your arrangement, their players are required to sight read exactly. Well, I'm more of a spontaneous person, that's also the reason why I love improvising and soloing because a lot of that is really spontaneous & never fixed ! :D :D

So thanks to this assignment, I had to dedicate many hours & sit in front of the computer entering music notation and notes into Sibelius, a music notation software.

Before this assignment really, I couldn't distinguish between  alto, tenor or baritone saxophones or trombones. But well at least I know better now & I could distinguish between a clean & a distorted guitar sound hahahahah !! Okay, lame joke.

Just to let you know, I would be talking a bit and showing a couple of pictures on a MIDI guitar that I managed to use in sequencing for my project. So for those of you who dread & would like to skip all the music notation, by all means scroll all the way down :D

Now, here is an example of a page from the master score that I had to submit for my class. 


And really, this is not complicated as compared to what I had to notate down in order to export the audio of the tune. I absolutely love this part of the song, the interlude where I had piano and drums play a little trade-off. Wow hahahah !! Does it look complicated ?? Well, if it makes your head go dizzy, I would have achieved my objectives hahahah !


Let me show you more cool stuff, that is if you find it cool.


So this is the last 4 bars of the solo section, trumpet is playing the solo, and the rest of the horns are playing Guide Tone Background Embellishment lines to add interest :D

Oh yeah, for that matter, I wrote down all the piano voicings in the score in order to have it in the audio, though it's not required to be there at all in the actual master score for submission. According to pianists around me, some of the voicings don't really work for their jazz playing in general but weird, ICOM taught that in Arranging For Rhythm Section hahah. But it doesn't matter, in the audio the piano comping sounds really cool though, I really love how the accompaniment sounds like.


See the analysis at the top ? i.e. "5 part clusters" or "4 part clusters" ? We have to analyze the voicing techniques used for the horns. & the chord progression here is actually at the beginning of the song, so it goes I-7 to bIImaj7 and repeat.

Also I just found out that my use of clusters as in the score above is actually wrong. Yup now I recall that clusters are typically used for sustained notes. Lol I must be dreaming when I did that 4 bars in the introduction because I couldn't wait to finish the score !! Hahahah !! I swear it's not fun at all doing all these stuff. But I shall be more careful next time :D :D

So, here is the edited version. I replaced the clusters with just 5-part, 4-part or 3-part voicings:


My ending.


For the ending, though it looks rather simple on paper. It sounds awesome though. I love the ending. It gives a really fresh & different twist to the rest of the song.

I would love to share the audio of my arrangement here, but I haven't found out how to attach it here though as an mp3 file.

I shall show you the rest of the stuff I had to submit as well:



This is the first page of the extracted trombone part, that you would hand to a trombone player if an ensemble is going to play your arrangement :D

Hmm, let me see. What about drum parts :D :D

This is bar 25 to 40 of my extracted drum part :D 
Yippie yay!


Oh yeah, what about a 6-plet fill-ins during the interlude section that features a mini trade-off between the piano and the drums:


And my ending has tons of kicks over time whereby our Mr. Drummer has to play those rhythms on top of his existing groove:


Now to my arrangement diagram ! Apparently it is supposed to give people a general overview of the voicing techniques used for the horns throughout the entire song. 
This is from bar 1 to bar 32 of my arrangement:


MIDI guitar time !
I actually had my hands on one of those MIDI guitars out there as well for sequencing my arrangement. Here are a couple of pictures of it !


I have to thank Mr. Rishabh for lending me his MIDI guitar ! He was my teacher for MIDI class when I was in semester 2 in ICOM. He is super into sound production & sound engineering those complicated technical stuff. Hahahah !

Colorful fretboard !!


Maybe guitar companies could do that to their live-sized guitars, and I would be playing an Ibanez with colorful fretboards in no time hahahah !!

Seriously headless.



Okay, the controls:


Well I sequenced a bit of my project using this guitar. Of course it feels really different from real guitars. It doesn't even have physical strings on its frets and the string spacing are really much much smaller and for that matter, I actually miss the strings when I pick with my right hand. And guitarists would understand that, the strings on the body of the MIDI guitar doesn't feel like guitar strings !! And the feeling is a bit disturbing hahahah ! 

It feels weird to be picking to those strings and eventually I switched on the "Tap" button on the guitar and settled for touch contact instead. Well, it is very very touch sensitive, the notes easily ring out once you touch or tap the frets, so there is no need to hammer on it hardly just to get a sound just like what you might need to do for your acoustic guitar pieces.

Well, I gotta mention this. This MIDI guitar has a tremolo so if you might be looking for something to go crazy with or have fun with, hahahah by all means try all the software instruments available in your music software and you could be playing piano sounds, or drum sounds by just picking away at a guitar, and of course by playing around with the tremolo. It's cool though, when using the drum patch, you could have the hi-hat sounds or bass kick sounds just by playing your guitar frets. Hahahah !!

Okay that's all for now on this assignment of mine :D

Oh yeah before I forget, of course I need to thank my arranging tutor, Freddie for the guidance hahah.

And guess what ? Apparently for my next arranging assignment to be handed up 7 weeks later, I would have to write for between 7 to 13 horn parts. Oh my gosh !

Stay tuned for a future post where I will post my guitar tabs for tunes such as Wonderful Slippery Thing by Guthrie Govan that I'm learning right now (Well hopefully !! Because the rhythmic patterns in there are really complicated so it would take some effort to tab it !!)! I would really want to video myself playing that once I nail it inside out !! :D :D Nonetheless, tabs to be posted would definitely include tunes by Charlie Parker etc...

By the way, just to let you guys know, I've got a big crush on Pat Martino's playing and soloing lately !! My gosh I remembered maybe only half a year ago I couldn't appreciate his playing, but now I realized wow, I really start to see and in fact fall in love with the beauty of his phrasing damn ! I saw someone on Youtube cover Pat Martino's solo on Sunny exactly, well I think I want to do just that !

Okay anyways, see ya. Hope this post increased your awareness of horns arranging if you are curious what actually happens behind the scenes, or what happens in the minds of the great arrangers :D And of course bearing in mind, this project of mine is only the simplest form of horn arranging, simplest mind you hahahah !

Anyway, a simple question for you guys. Do you think arranging for horn parts is a complicated task ?

Catch you guys again :D
Love ya,
Sapphire Ng <3 <3



1 comment:

Madeleine said...

So impressive! I remember when you were still trying to learn the different tau-geys hahahah!