• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Topic: Scoring question re: Concert Band

Share/Bookmark
  1. #1

    Scoring question re: Concert Band

    EDIT: This is a question about Concert Band composing and orchestration, not about notation formatting.

    Frequenters of the Forum are probably aware I've been on a toot for awhile now to work up some Concert Band pieces for submitting to publishers. Getting the scores looking adequate enough has turned out to be a Much larger undertaking than I imagined.

    Cutting to my current question:

    --Is it absolutely necessary to have multiple lines for instruments which traditionally have more than one part in a Concert Band score?

    I understand that pieces aimed at any but the grade 1 and 2 level usually have 2 flutes, 2 or 3 clarinets, 2 alto saxes, 3 trumpets, 2 or 3 horns and 2 or 3 trombones. But up to now, I've generally written one line for those instruments, with the exception of trumpets and trombones, and sometimes horn, for which I usually write 2 lines.

    There's a new piece I wrote specifically for CB, and, no surprise to any of you here, it's of sufficient difficulty that it would be placed in one of the higher levels in the band grading system. But I like the way I wrote it - 1 flute, 1 clarinet, 1 alto sax, 2 horns, 1 trumpet, 2 trombones - along with the rest of the usual instruments, oboe, bassoon, euphonium, tuba, all with the usual one line.

    "Amusing Man" expanded during the time I've had threads going about it here on the Forum. I wrote an additional line for flute, for clarinet, and for the sax, so it would conform to conventional CB scoring. A few of the additions were helpful to the music, but for the most part, I didn't enjoy having to thicken the score that I'd already written.

    And so here I am again - In this new CB piece, I have what sounds full and completely fleshed out to me - It puts me in a gloom thinking I Must add extra lines when I don't find them necessary at all for the piece.

    Do I just have to bite the bullet and realize that since it's probably already a "grade 5" piece because of its difficulty, that I have to add additional lines even though I don't feel the music calls for it---?

    If I remain stubborn, and stick with this apparently unconventional thing of not having multiple lines for those instruments, do I still have to say "Sax 1, 2" in the staff header just because it's expected? Can't it just be "Alto Sax" - and then however many players they have all play that line regardless of how they're accustomed to being divided up?

    Randy

  2. #2
    Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Chandler, Arizona
    Posts
    4,044

    Re: Scoring question re: Concert Band

    I think if you have 2 sax parts that they should be separate Sax1 & Sax2 parts. Most wind players are used to just read one note at a time with an occasional divisi part. I know my daughter who is at a moderate to moderate/advanced level gets thrown off in divisi sections and finds it hard to read the notes.

    Another thing to keep in mind is the weight or amount of instruments in a section compared to another section. Many bands have a dozen clarinets but only 3 French horns, 3 trombones and a couple euphoniums. So it helps to divide up those clarinets especially if they are not playing the melody.

    Most of the concert bands in the Phoenix area probably only have 40 players in them. The larger band programs usually split up into multiple bands such as a symphonic band, concert band and wind ensemble. Each of the bands are at different difficulty levels. This limits the sizes of certain sections such as the low brass as there are just not as many playing those instruments. Most of the bands have an abundance of trumpets, clarinets, flutes and saxophones. The main reason this happens is because of the cost of the instruments when they first start band and the instrument choices they are given.

    Jim

  3. #3
    Senior Member Tom_Davis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Ellendale, ND
    Posts
    1,471

    Re: Scoring question re: Concert Band

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Frequenters of the Forum are probably aware I've been on a toot for awhile now to work up some Concert Band pieces for submitting to publishers. Getting the scores looking adequate enough has turned out to be a Much larger undertaking than I imagined.

    Cutting to my current question:

    --Is it absolutely necessary to have multiple lines for instruments which traditionally have more than one part in a Concert Band score?

    I understand that pieces aimed at any but the grade 1 and 2 level usually have 2 flutes, 2 or 3 clarinets, 2 alto saxes, 3 trumpets, 2 or 3 horns and 2 or 3 trombones. But up to now, I've generally written one line for those instruments, with the exception of trumpets and trombones, and sometimes horn, for which I usually write 2 lines.

    There's a new piece I wrote specifically for CB, and, no surprise to any of you here, it's of sufficient difficulty that it would be placed in one of the higher levels in the band grading system. But I like the way I wrote it - 1 flute, 1 clarinet, 1 alto sax, 2 horns, 1 trumpet, 2 trombones - along with the rest of the usual instruments, oboe, bassoon, euphonium, tuba, all with the usual one line.

    "Amusing Man" expanded during the time I've had threads going about it here on the Forum. I wrote an additional line for flute, for clarinet, and for the sax, so it would conform to conventional CB scoring. A few of the additions were helpful to the music, but for the most part, I didn't enjoy having to thicken the score that I'd already written.

    And so here I am again - In this new CB piece, I have what sounds full and completely fleshed out to me - It puts me in a gloom thinking I Must add extra lines when I don't find them necessary at all for the piece.

    Do I just have to bite the bullet and realize that since it's probably already a "grade 5" piece because of its difficulty, that I have to add additional lines even though I don't feel the music calls for it---?

    If I remain stubborn, and stick with this apparently unconventional thing of not having multiple lines for those instruments, do I still have to say "Sax 1, 2" in the staff header just because it's expected? Can't it just be "Alto Sax" - and then however many players they have all play that line regardless of how they're accustomed to being divided up?

    Randy
    When I was directing school bands, I would sometimes find a piece wherein the clarinets (for example) played in unison. While the score had only the one clarinet line, there would be ample pieces of sheet music (all the same) for about 10 stands (20 players). This seemed particularly true on jazz arrangements. However, if the clarinets actually had two, three or four parts, the conductor's score had a separate line for each part. All that said, remember that while some publishers want both a conductor's score and a performance score, some only want the performance score, (saves a lot of money) often un-transposed and with parts combined.

  4. #4

    Re: Scoring question re: Concert Band

    Do I just have to bite the bullet and realize that since it's probably already a "grade 5" piece because of its difficulty, that I have to add additional lines even though I don't feel the music calls for it---?
    Yes, probably. But this might depend on the publisher.

    If I remain stubborn, and stick with this apparently unconventional thing of not having multiple lines for those instruments, do I still have to say "Sax 1, 2" in the staff header just because it's expected?
    No. I wouldn't do this unless there are actually two sax parts on one staff. If most of the staff divides into two parts, go with 1 and 2. If not, use divisi and unis. (not a2). Some publishers "economize" by using one staff. Some use two staves. Condensed score are more common with grades 1-2 pieces.

    Can't it just be "Alto Sax" - and then however many players they have all play that line regardless of how they're accustomed to being divided up?
    Yes.
    Arthur J. Michaels
    https://www.facebook.com/composerarthurjmichaels

    Finale 2000 through Finales 25.4 (currently using Finale 25.4)
    Garritan COMB2, GPO4, GPO5, Audacity 2.1.3
    Core i7 860 @ 2.80 GHz, 8.0 GB RAM, Windows 10 Home Premium x64
    Dell 2408 WFP, 1920x1200
    M-Audio Delta Audiophile 2496
    M-Audio AV-40 monitors

  5. #5

    Re: Scoring question re: Concert Band

    Jim, and Tom - Thank you both for replying.

    What I intended to be asking was more of a compositional question. I have this piece written with a single line for instruments that seem to usually have 2 or more lines - flute, clarinet, and alto sax. It works for me as-is. But it looks like that's either just not done with pieces of any difficulty, or it's so rare that to submit a piece with that instrumentation would weaken its chances for acceptance.

    I went ahead and wrote new parts for instruments in "Amusing Man" that originally only had single lines, and that went OK. But I'm really dreading having to fatten up this new piece which seems plenty fat to me already. I don't even know where to begin adding yet more lines.

    I think I'm answering my own question - Yes, Randy, for CB scores to be for the higher grades, you just Must write parts for 2 flutes, preferably 3 clarinets, 2 alto saxes - and then of course 2 or 3 horns, 2 or 3 trumpets, 2 or 3 trombones - those brass parts I already have multiple lines for.

    It's just rubbing against my grain that I have to change what I've already written, adding what is seeming like unnecessary extra baggage. I Do see the problem, though, of having these disproportionately large clarinet sections, like you mentioned, Tom. To have a large group playing a single line could really skew the balance.

    Formatting the score is something else - I'm just complaining that what I considered a finished work needs to have yet more parts written for it, a prospect that my heart's not into yet.

    Randy

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    NW Illinois
    Posts
    1,175

    Re: Scoring question re: Concert Band

    I think you'll have a better chance of having a piece accepted if it uses standard, full instrumentation. Look at any concert band arrangement of a Hans Zimmer piece. The original orchestration is usually extremely different from a concert band, but when the concert band arrangements of this piece get published, they are adapted/arranged for CB standard instrumentation.

    JT

  7. #7

    Re: Scoring question re: Concert Band

    Art! I didn't notice your reply earlier. You must have been writing at the same time I was replying to Jim and Tom. As always, I value your advice, so thank you once again, my friend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Turner View Post
    I think you'll have a better chance of having a piece accepted if it uses standard, full instrumentation. Look at any concert band arrangement of a Hans Zimmer piece. The original orchestration is usually extremely different from a concert band, but when the concert band arrangements of this piece get published, they are adapted/arranged for CB standard instrumentation.

    JT
    Good. That validates my own conclusion. When I wrote this new CB piece I've mentioned, it was still early on when I was first getting excited about writing for CB, and I wasn't totally grasping what it was all about. So, it was intended as a CB piece, but I will now knuckle down and come with more parts since I didn't originally do the orchestration in a standard way. Your example of Zimmer's scores being adapted made the facts crystal clear. Thank you, Jeff!

    Randy

Go Back to forum

Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •