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Thread: Brass Quintet Arranging

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Thanked 2 Times in 1 Post

    Brass Quintet Arranging

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    Hi, I just wanted to ask if anyone has any resources I could read up on for quintet arranging. I decided to make it a pet project to arrange Danny Boy. I'm running into a problem of everything sounding like a drum corps hit, and finding the textures to turn this into more of a brass choir is, at the moment, a guessing game. I finished my instrumentation and arranging course last semester, but that felt a lot more like an instrumental methods course on every standard instrument than an actual arranging course. Any help is appreciated!

    Last edited by Michaeljones; 12-13-2018 at 10:35 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    USA: NorthEast Coast
    Thanked 283 Times in 257 Posts
    I'm not a trained horn arranger; I just write what I hear and try to keep things interesting. Lean toward saxes more than brass.

    It sounds like you are talking about a legit/classical type arrangement. I would suggest listening to quintet arrangements from composers you like, and seeing what you might appropriate ("Good composers borrow; great composers steal"). Also be aware of your instrument ranges, tonal characteristics, and standard techniques (the reason they made you take all of those basic lessons on each instrument, I'd wager). Pick your melody instrument (or instruments, if it will be passed), and treat the rest like the individual note building blocks of the supporting harmony that they are. Keeping all of those things in-mind will make your midi/sampled performance sound more realistic (assuming that you are composing/recording from a keyboard, not that you will be playing real horn parts). Consider playing each note of the part(s) separately, rather than as block piano/keyboard chords. Attention to detail tends to add a strong sense of realism to keyboard-horn parts.

    Hope that helps some...

    Gregg Juke
    Nocturnal Productions
    The Sonic Vault Recording Studio
    Drum! Magazine Contributor

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Washington, DC
    Thanked 5 Times in 5 Posts
    If you haven't come across this yet, the following page & site helped me.

    The Basics of Pop/R&B/Soul/Funk/Jazz Horn Arranging
    The groove baby, the groove...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I don’t have any resources on hand but in regards to you drum corps problem, taking out unneeded rests before big chords can help, instead have all the instruments crescendo into it, something drum corps rarely do.
    You could also stagger the entrances to your chord, so it’s less of a hit and more of a mix

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