Author Topic: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)  (Read 2264 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

ben

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
  • Karma: 6
Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« on: October 02, 2016, 03:11:53 PM »
I was talking with my high school's band director, and we discussed ideas for the show he was going to do next year ... we got to talking about spirituals, and he wanted to see what a sketch of this could look like. That's what this is; a sketch I completed in a single afternoon for winds only (this is the rough instrumentation he'll be using next year). I would especially appreciate comments on whether the concept works / how the structure could be improved as well as the "bandestration" -- I tried a simplified approach with fewer "different things" happening at once. I am open to any and all suggestions. Thanks in advance (and feel free to move this to "Works in Progress: Junior" if it fits better there -- wasn't sure).

Ben

PDF of Score: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw9xMoKR2D2RMm03OG5mZTVEVkE/view?usp=sharing
MP3 of Finale Playback: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw9xMoKR2D2RdjBrTlVEekZlLUE/view?usp=sharing

Ron

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2,613
  • Karma: 189
    • The Music of Ronald J Brown
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2016, 04:07:12 PM »
Of course your posting is allowed.

I'm not a band expert, by any means, so I'll leave comments up to those familiar with that style. But, I did notice in your score that your saxes appear to be way out of range in a number of places. I thought that Bb (below middle C) was the bottom limit.
Ron
Rules? What rules?

ben

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
  • Karma: 6
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2016, 04:11:47 PM »
Drat. I posted the concert pitch score ... you're right; that is roughly the limit, but they're transposed up a sixth. Let me create another score. Good catch.

UPDATE: (update coming) (score not in concert pitch)
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 08:04:16 AM by ben »

gogreen

  • Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 913
  • Karma: 55
    • Art on Facebook
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2016, 06:36:33 AM »
Nice work, Ben. I didn't see any range problems that jumped out at me--although I haven't studied the score closely. I think generally this arrangement does hang together nicely. However, it desperately needs percussion parts--their fitting in is crucial, so it needs to be heard with percussion. I would also suggest finding different chords for measures 10 and 16.

The saxophones at measures 41-47 are nice, but for a marching band arrangement, I'd probably double them with trombones, euphoniums, mellophones, and adding a strong tuba bass line. Saxes alone will be too soft on the field. I might even add an upper-winds/trumpet countermelody there, too, for more excitement, perhaps in a repeated section.

You could make this whole thing longer by including two more spirituals--a medley of three for a complete show. Will this be performed standing still or will the band be moving into formations during its playing?

ben

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
  • Karma: 6
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2016, 07:01:16 AM »
Thanks for the feedback! Yes, percussion parts are definitely needed ... I just wanted to sketch the winds first. I have no concept of how to start writing marching band percussion parts (which to me, look like a hodgepodge of buzz rolls and rim shots), but the director loves doing that sort of thing.

As for the sax feature, there's a solid section of about 8 kids, most of whom are above average high school players, so I thought maybe lining them up on the front of the field to stand still and dig in might work in that spot -- I think the tenor part needs to be something other than alto I an octave lower ... maybe Terence can give some insight on how to improve that sax trio (or anyone really).

Now, as for the concept of the show, this would be put with drill and marched. The thought is to do a three-part show on "Music of Oppression ... Music of Revolution". This would be one movement, a song from Les Mis (possibly this one: http://www.jwpepper.com/One-Day-More/2294973.item), would be the grand ballad, and it's still up in the air on the third one ... perhaps the last two movements from Jack Stamp's "Scenes from Terezin" (http://www.jwpepper.com/Scenes-from-Terezin/10071591.item), but there's also the concern as to whether the Holocaust is too heavy a topic for marching band. Another possibility is something from the anti-apartheid movement (this one is cool, but there are no arrangements of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NG3oKb2JQow). That last component is still very much up in the air (suggestions welcome).

Thanks again!

tbmartin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 565
  • Karma: 54
    • TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2016, 08:32:56 AM »
...
As for the sax feature, there's a solid section of about 8 kids, most of whom are above average high school players, so I thought maybe lining them up on the front of the field to stand still and dig in might work in that spot -- I think the tenor part needs to be something other than alto I an octave lower ... maybe Terence can give some insight on how to improve that sax trio (or anyone really).
...

I'd be happy to! In general, I would not have the tenors simply double the altos down an octave, but part of that depends on what else is going on, and how your section is divided. So here are a few question:
How is your section divided between alto, tenor, and bari?
Are the baris going to be with the tenors and altos, or will they be with the low brass? (for people less familiar with marching bands, sometimes the bari saxes are charted on the field with the low brass and play much the same music. Other times, they stay with the rest of the saxes. Depends on the music, skill of the players, preference of the director, phase of the moon....)
Terence Martin

Tools: Finale 2003 on Windows XP
Day job: Actuary
Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
http://bit.ly/TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)

ben

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
  • Karma: 6
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2016, 08:46:19 AM »
There'll be probably 3 alto 1s, 3 alto 2s, and 2 tenors. Director is very anti Bari for marching band. Thank much!

ben

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
  • Karma: 6
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2016, 07:47:24 PM »
WRT the sax feature ... I think it probably should be a little longer than it is. I would like for it to bend upwards, probably keeping with the rhythmic feel but to go for a little "wow" factor in terms of the range/harmonics. I've been sitting at the piano and with Finale for about a half hour though without coming up with something I like, though. Ultimately, I think I'd like something in the vein of an improvised jazz solo in three parts.

UPDATE ... in case anyone is able to take a look at this, I updated the PDF and score by reworking some of the harmonies in the beginning, adjusting the sax solo (still not happy with it), and tweaking the ending. Eager to hear some more detailed comments; please feel free to begin picking it apart. To Arthur's point, it obviously needs percussion, but I want to get the winds right first. Thanks! Ben

MP3: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Bw9xMoKR2D2RMUpxbWV2SmhVNjQ
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 08:03:51 AM by ben »

ben

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
  • Karma: 6
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2016, 06:53:46 PM »
I did some more work on this and am looking for some feedback particularly on the "bandestration" aspects of this as well as the sax feature. Just for the sake of discussion, let's assume that in some form or another (even if it means they're mic-ed) the saxes will be heard during the feature. I was trying to stretch the range of the alto I a little bit while not losing the motive, and I can't tell if I was successful. Thanks for the feedback in advance.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2016, 08:03:32 AM by ben »

tbmartin

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 565
  • Karma: 54
    • TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2016, 12:05:21 PM »
You said you're stretching the range of the alto, and you are with the high E. Even if the saxes are standing still as a feature group, they will still have to deal with the uncertainty of conditions that come with playing outside. I'd be hesitant to get up into the palm keys too much for a marching band. Cold fingers and gloves (depending on your location and uniforms) can make palm keys tricky.

You start the feature with all 3 saxes in unison, and that's ok, but they fall into unison or sometimes 2 voices in unison a few other times. I especially think the final run could work if you put the tenor and alto2 at thirds or sixths.

If you want to double the length of the feature, you could do the melody once rather simply, and the second time with the melody in the tenor, and have the 2 altos put some improve-style lines above it.

Your time signature is 4/4, but it really felt like cut time to me from C on. If you do switch to cut time, you could combine measures 69 and 70 into a single measure of 3/2.
Terence Martin

Tools: Finale 2003 on Windows XP
Day job: Actuary
Composing/Arranging output: mostly sax quartets
http://bit.ly/TerenceMartinSaxArranger
Goal: Improve quantity and quality of concert band compositions.
Play: Saxophones (all, but tenor primary), Bass Clarinet, Piano (poorly)

ben

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 63
  • Karma: 6
Re: Marching Band Medley (is that allowed in this forum?)
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2016, 12:19:44 PM »
That makes a lot of sense. Yeah, there's definitely a cut time feel towards the end -- it would probably be worth just writing it like that.

I hadn't thought about the glove consideration, but that's worth considering ... I have scores of several years of shows, so I can see how high they've gone in the past.

Thanks for the feedback!