View Full Version : Semitones between 1st and 2nd Altos; 1st and 2nd trpts, and 1st and 2nd trms

Anthony Wakefield
08-21-2011, 06:43 AM
In close harmony voicings with section soli, i.e. 5 saxes in close harmony, what rulings apply, if any? From the early US big bands - 1930 onwards through each era of swing, be-bop, modern, contemporary.

These half-tone voicings between the top two instruments can upset the ear in some instances, when the inner voicing suddenly shoots out audilby, seeming to unbalance the rest of the lateral harmonic movement. (The piano is different of course, and doesn`t apply).
Of course the tempo of the music can hide or display even wrong notes to some degree, but I`ve no wish to suggest that writing half tones can be right or wrong. .

Opinions welcomed.

08-21-2011, 08:34 AM
I've been trying to write big band stuff now for some time and have found books I'd recommend that try to explain what to do and how to fit the bits together. These are from Berklee press.
For large scale orchestration 5 + 8 sax/brass try Arranging for Large Jazz Ensemble by Dick Lowell and Ken Pullig. Lots of explanations and examples of close harmony, 2nds etc.
I think semitones (minor 2nds ) need very careful treatment, although their easier as major 7ths
For smaller scale try Modern Jazz Voicings by Ted pease and Ken Pullig.
To understand what is happening Jazz Composition by Ted Pease.
All available in UK, got 2 of these in music shops in Bristol and the other from "You know who.com"

Anthony Wakefield
08-22-2011, 06:46 AM
Have you come across live situations where you feel you needed to alter the voicings after hearing what you`d written?

It wouldn`t matter of course in extreme contemporary music, as it`s more often than not that the more clashes there are, the more `satisfying` the scoring would be.
In a `40`s waltz - not recommended, unless it`s a descending line where from the major 7th, the line progresses through the minor 7th, 6th etc. This again is slightly different from the block close parallel voicings I first mentioned. Have you ever used 5 different notes in this kind of writing? For ex. from bottom up D, E, G, B, C for 5 saxes (C major chord).