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#2676656 - 04/01/15 12:02 PM arranging for trombone, tenor and alto in blues/funk band
cedar Offline
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Registered: 10/04/14
Posts: 790
Loc: New York
I've been given the job of doing some simple arranging in a new blues/funk band, which currently has trombone, alto and tenor sax.

If pushed, the trombonist is willing to play some trumpet. And there is a possibility that we might be able to add a baritone sax. For now, I probably should just assume that I will be utilizing trombone, tenor and alto.

Does anyone have any general advice about how to arrange for that combination? I am not sure that 3-part harmonies really work well or work well often. And if 2 instruments double, I'm not sure which 2 are best. Perhaps tenor can double just as easily with trombone as with alto.

In those situations where the horns are playing the melody (but not in unison), should I always stick to having the alto on top? I'd like to have more variety in that regard, but perhaps for blues/funk I should just keep things basic.

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#2676780 - 04/02/15 04:54 AM Re: arranging for trombone, tenor and alto in blues/funk band [Re: cedar]
Joe Muscara Offline
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Registered: 02/21/05
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If you know chord voicings that you play on piano, you can use those voicings with the horns. With that and knowing the range of each instrument, you can decide who gets to be on top (heh heh).

I'd start with keeping things simple, and see what feedback the horn players give you along with what ends up sounding good. If you do charts for them in software, you can use that to get an idea if what you're trying might work by having the computer play back the parts. I've used MuseScore for exactly this.

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#2677204 - 04/03/15 02:21 PM Re: arranging for trombone, tenor and alto in blues/funk band [Re: Joe Muscara]
Eric VB Offline
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Registered: 02/02/05
Posts: 5789
Why not 3-part?

While the ranges of the saxes are obvious (alto, tenor), the trombone is less obviously baritone.

For comparison, vocal choirs can be just soprano, alto and tenor (SAT) or include bass (SATB).

Barbarshop quartet is usually lead (baritone), tenor (harmony above lead), baritone (harmony below lead) and bass.

In the violin family there is no tenor; it is alternately covered by alto (viola) and baritone (cello). So you kind of have a viola/viola/cello or viola/cello/cello trio there. (Or, since guitar is a tenor instrument, viola/guitar/cello.)

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#2677207 - 04/03/15 02:40 PM Re: arranging for trombone, tenor and alto in blues/funk band [Re: Eric VB]
cedar Offline
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Registered: 10/04/14
Posts: 790
Loc: New York
Although one might think that trombone plays below the tenor, those instruments actually overlap to a large degree. So it is not obvious that trombone should be on the bottom in a 3-part harmony.

At times, 3-part is surely fine. But certainly not all the time.

I'm aiming for some variety here and I guess I just need to experiment.

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#2692499 - 05/31/15 04:56 AM Re: arranging for trombone, tenor and alto in blues/funk band [Re: cedar]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Registered: 09/04/11
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Loc: S. Ca. USA
How is it going? What works?
I used to be very into, the sound of trumpet tenor trombone. Alto could replace trumpet?
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#2692523 - 05/31/15 07:54 AM Re: arranging for trombone, tenor and alto in blues/funk band [Re: I-missRichardTee]
cedar Offline
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Registered: 10/04/14
Posts: 790
Loc: New York
I did one arrangement (a kind of bluesy arrangement of the Looking Glass tune "Brandy"). I hated what I did mostly because I tried to create too many harmonies and counter-melodies. I also had a section with trombone playing the lead (because I thought that would be unusual and he was a strong player). But the mix was just not right. The lesson was that I should not try to reinvent the wheel for what is really a traditional blues band.

Mostly what I learned, however, was that a couple of players in the horn section could not be relied upon to follow some pretty simple notations. They could play the notes, but were reluctant to follow the expressions and harmonics. I found that so disheartening that I decided to shelve the project for a while.

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#2692712 - 06/01/15 03:19 AM Re: arranging for trombone, tenor and alto in blues/funk band [Re: cedar]
Joe Muscara Offline
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Registered: 02/21/05
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Originally Posted By: cedar
Mostly what I learned, however, was that a couple of players in the horn section could not be relied upon to follow some pretty simple notations. They could play the notes, but were reluctant to follow the expressions and harmonics. I found that so disheartening that I decided to shelve the project for a while.
Ugh - really? The word I always get from people is that the horn players just want to show up at the gig and play their parts. But if they're not going to follow the directions for the parts you give them, what's the point? Jeez. Sorry you had to deal with that.

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#2716475 - 08/28/15 04:35 AM Re: arranging for trombone, tenor and alto in blues/funk band [Re: Joe Muscara]
Henrymark Offline
Member

Registered: 04/06/15
Posts: 15
I think your 3-part harmonies really work well there. Try for this one. LOL!

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#2773485 - 04/17/16 03:34 PM Re: arranging for trombone, tenor and alto in blues/funk band [Re: Henrymark]
Alan-Russell Offline
Member

Registered: 04/16/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Florida
Tenor and bone share the same octave..alto sax up one..very simple..spread, maintain that active..tight voicing not effective here for fills.

Alan Russell...my scores are on youtube..Tyros 5

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