Arranging & Orchestration


Ok, it’s been a while…

Wondering how many of you composers/arrangers write a sketch as opposed to straight to score. The late Robert Farnon was quite emphatic to me about sketching especially for a larger ensemble. I’ve settled into that mode of working nowadays when writing big band or orchestral scores. For small band charts of 2-3 horns I’ll probably ‘sketch’ on the actual score itself. My computer sketches for orchestra tend to be for grand staff representation of each section brass, woodwind, strings with a baseline added or playback (have only recently added a playback only staff) and a treble staff for chord changes and harmonic rhythm.

sketch staves

When ‘sketching’ I’ll add any notes pertaining to the orchestration process later in case I forget. If I’m writing in a more liner fashion I may do that in separate staves…It is at the point where I am combining the two that the lines (no pun intended here…) get blurred. It is not uncommon for me to make a passage originally containing mainly vertical structures into a more linear passage as I start to score it. If I’m on deadline the process is very different – choices have to made quicker and are often more productive. I’ve written big band charts in a short period that I’m very happy with while in other charts I’ve taken a week over 4-8 bars – I’ll keep going back to them – not necessarily  staying with them the whole time.

Ok, more to come soon… Oct 14, 2013



In the meantime, here are a list of books on the subject (I’ll keep updating these as time permits):

  • Inside The Score – Rayburn Wright, published by Kendor – THis is IMO a must have for any jazz arranger.
  • Arranged – Nelson Riddle.
  • The Professional Arranger – Russ Garcia
  • Instrumental Jazz Arranging – Mike Tomaro & John Wilson, published by Hal Leonard
  • The Birth Of The Cool (concert scores) – Jeff Sultanof, published by Hal Leonard

I’ll keep adding – check back


 Posted by at 8:47 pm

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>