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Slightly OT: Notation questions and latin percussion


Cygnus64

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I have to arrange this for Symphony and choir. Questions:

 

1. Is this in 2 or 4? i.e. The part "We fill this sanctuary" at 1 minute in, are those quarters or eighths?

 

2. At that same part, are those notes "(We Fill This) on the beat, or a sixteenth before the beat? It sounds syncopated. (I'm pretty sure I know the answer, I'm just really lazy).

 

3. Any ideas as to what percussion to use for this? In addition to set and timpani, I have three more guys I can use. Geekgurl, you're our resident expert...

 

Thanks

[video:youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfBLnx_IE1M

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Think salsa. Sheetmusicplus does list this item, there is also a complete score available (although I don't know its quality).

 

Thanks for posting that, I'm going to ask our MD about us doing the song. I do enjoy the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

 

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Think salsa. Sheetmusicplus does list this item, there is also a complete score available (although I don't know its quality).

 

 

Awesome, do you have a link for the full score?

 

I do enjoy the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

This is the third arrangement I've done of a BTC chart. They are amazing. I can't quite figure out if they are live or quasi-live and have stuff over-dubbed. Some of the brass stuff sounds like real players. Symphony guys could never play that high.

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Cowbells would be good, +1 to the triangle, and timbales (like the break around 2:48). Some congas wouldn't go amiss.

 

Like MoodyBlueKeys says, just think salsa to get pointers for the instrumentation. If you've got 3 percussionists, the real challenge may be to get your kit player to keep it simple enough to not play over the percussion - maybe get him/her to step away from the kit and play something else?

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Salsa is traditionally written in cut time - the smallest sub-division (typically) being eighth notes. If you write in 4/4 with sixteenth notes it just looks wrong - at least to salsa players. It looks like funk.
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I found it. BTC

 

Exactly - My guess is that having their score, even to write a considerably different score for symphonic instrumentation, would save enough time in the basics to be well worth the modest amount they charge for the score.

 

If any of your precussionists have timbales, that would be a help. Percussive piano also. Set a light salsa pattern, and keep the instruments down enough to be very sure they don't overpower the singers. A few trumpet short riffs between some of the phrases, Bass guitar or plucked string bass. Even though the song is religious - think of people dancing salsa to it - that will provide just the right touch. Definitely not the right song for an overpowering string section.

 

Howard Grand|Hamm SK1-73|Kurz PC2|PC2X|PC3|PC3X|PC361; QSC K10's

HP DAW|Epi Les Paul & LP 5-str bass|iPad mini2

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Jim

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Every salsa chart I saw in New York was in cut time, ie "we fill this" would be syncopated quarter notes.

 

A classic percussion section would be timbales, congos, and bongos. The bongo player doubles on cowbell.

 

A drumset is pretty good for covering the timbale parts.

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Thanks for the comments.

Every salsa chart I saw in New York was in cut time,

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's the way to go.

 

keep the instruments down enough to be very sure they don't overpower the singers.

I don't think 300 jackhammers would overpower these singers. :laugh: They are loud. However, as I learned last year, a djembe in the wrong hands is louder than pretty much anything on this planet. :laugh:

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A classic percussion section would be timbales, congos, and bongos. The bongo player doubles on cowbell.

A drumset is pretty good for covering the timbale parts.

 

I'm not an 'expert', but I know a fair bit about salsa/latin jazz. And I agree with this. Do you have your standard orchestral percussionist? He could play the guiro or maracas.

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Do you have your standard orchestral percussionist?

5 guys: 1 only on set, one only on Timpani, the other 3 can do anything I assign them.

 

From past experiences with this, I know that any two of the same overall family (aka bongos and congas) doesn't work well for this situation. It becomes a blur back there.

 

The guy on set definitely will play set. He's the metronome for the whole shebang. When there are 300 people on stage, ya need someone who can keep a beat. He's not a classical guy, which is a bonus for this gig. :laugh:

 

I'll probably go with shakers, triangle, bongos and cowbell.

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Cygnus, I haven't listened to this yet and won't have time tonight, but if Afro-Cuban I don't know that triangle would be the thing to use. That's more a Brazilian thing.

 

Let me listen and I can tell you more when I have time ... also what you use depends on the specific beat you are using/suggesting, even within Afro-Cuban styles (cha cha vs guaguanco vs guaracha, a mambo section, etc). Sorry to be vague, will either reply here or in PM.

Original Latin Jazz

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"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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OK, well, I listened and hope I have something to say that will help you. :)

 

There I certain things I listen for to figure out what beat is being used, what direction clave is. If something is typico in treatment I have no problem.

 

This is more a modern treatment. Different cues are alternately suggesting different clave directions, but I'm going to say overall it feels like 2-3 (depending on how adept or interested you are in keeping clave). The drumset is driving this, and the beat used I think sounds most like songo. (I could really only hear it in the first couple of measures before instrumentation comes in, then it gets a bit buried.) Depending on who I've talked to (including experts), songo is either specific to given songs created in a specific era (70s-80s Cuba) or there is an underlying specific beat just like there is traditional beats like cha cha cha, rumba guaguanco, etc.

 

So I'm going to say you could give this a 2-3 songo treatment. Drums play a prominent role. Usually in this situation the drummer has a cowbell and is playing that. Other than that, the "standard" instrumentation would be conga and timbales. Actually, timbales were developed within the Cuban dance orchestras as a version of tympani, so is it possible to have your tympani player play that? Other than that, maybe chekere, claves (the sticks), bongo -- songo is kind of a free-form style; to me the drums are most important, with cowbell ("I gotta fever! ..."). It could be this clip, but if you are reproducing this faithfully to this example, a lot of that extra stuff seems like it'd get lost, and really is there to orchestrate a song. You can always be creative; these are just guidelines. I am assuming you want to keep the same rhythmic feel but if you have something else in mind let me know. I thought I heard triangle in here too, and I don't really hear that in Cuban music at all; so you can choose to be more authentic with the songo, or more authentic to what this choir is doing.

 

The main artist to listen to for songo would be Los Van Van.

 

So, here's what I suggest:

2-3 songo

Drumset, congas, claves, definitely cowbell if drummer won't be playing it. (you can also add bongo to this list but you said it gets lost when you also have conga, and I'd put priority on conga)

 

I can give you ideas on patterns if you need.

 

Maybe Montunoman or Dave E have other ideas. But that's what I got, so I hope it helps. :)

 

Oh yeah, and cut time is fine; Cubans do notate in cut time, but you know, I've seen charts in 4/4 too. Whatever serves the music best. This is simple and short harmonic patterns so more like salsa, so cut time should work well.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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Thanks for the comments, err, Ghoulgirl (and everybody else). I have time on this, I will listen to some Los Van Van and similar stuff. I'll look in Youtube, it helps me to have a visual of percussion sections doing it live. Lots of good suggestions in this thread. :cool:
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Not surprising at all. I see a lot of Latin jazz notated in 4/4; I do it that way as default often, too. But usually a lengthier song form with longer chord progressions is the reason. I've seen an entire clave cycle in one measure, but rarely (Edit: Not even rarely, I realized later that I do this more than I realized).

 

Anyway, you have a lot of leeway with this. The choir is the main focus, and drumkit drives it. Let me know if you want input on patterns, etc. Songo is like a meld between son, rumba, and funk, and there's a lot of variety.

Original Latin Jazz

CD Baby

 

"I am not certain how original my contribution to music is as I am obviously an amateur." Patti Smith

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