Brass Band Arrangement

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Bobby Dazzler, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. Bobby Dazzler

    Bobby Dazzler New Member


    im wondering if someone could possibly direct me to some literature to help me learn how to arrange music? i am very interested in the subject but have had no formal training in it. any help would be appreciated.
  2. Al

    Al Member

    It all depends on where you are with music theory at the moment. If you understand chords that is a good start.

    I would say the best thing to do in any case would be to find an existing arrangement you like, study the score or parts and take it from there.
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

  4. Play The Euph

    Play The Euph New Member

    There is also the Ray Steadman Allen (did I spell that right) book and I think theres a Denis Wright one. Different styles of writing in them all.
  5. on_castors

    on_castors Member

  6. jerseylugs

    jerseylugs New Member

    Just a quick reply.

    a) Have you ever tried before ?
    b) Is it just for Brass Band ?
    c) Can you read a score full score ?

    There are many brilliant Arrangers on the mouthpiece (I won't name any for fear of upsetting anyone), but if you have a copy of Sibelius you could try it for yourself. It'll either work or not but you'll learn loads from experimenting.

    The easiest thing to do is to see how other arrangers/transcribers have done it by looking at the original score of a peice that has subsequently been arranged for band and see how the arranger has set about transcribing it for the relevant medium.

    Why not just take a piano score of something that you know and then work on it. You'll know which instrument would work for each voice and being a player you'll know what style or sound you're looking for.

    This is just my opinion but surely it's worth a try rather than trying to follow a standard format in terms of how to arrange.:confused:
  7. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    Ray Steadman-Allen has written one. Always in demand that book. Top quality writing and presentation.
  8. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    I am also in the same situation, but perhaps a little further on, as has already been mentioned, a knowledge of chords, and more importantly, how they are formed is important. Once a full knowledge and understanding of that is gained, it should become a piece of cake, allegedly. It then does depend on your own inventiveness after that. A different and American forum for composers I look at now and then, has the by words, "If it sounds right it must be right". I wish you the best of luck.
  9. Humphrey

    Humphrey Member

    If you want to learn about arranging per se (not necessarily just for Brass Band), you might want to consider "Sounds and Scores" by Henry Mancini and "Arranged by Nelson Riddle" by..... you don't need to ask, do you? :)
  10. brassbandmaestro

    brassbandmaestro Active Member

    I said he had in an earlier post, re/RSA's book. Music Academies have it in their libraries. Been very well received.

    Also re Mancini and nelson Riddle. You cant go top far wong with those guys!!
  11. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I found Denis Wright's book a great help - albeit dealing with arranging in quite an old-school way. So long as you know your basic theory, harmony, chords, acceptable ranges etc. and the strengths and weaknesses of each instrument, you're probably ready to try some basic arranging.

    Whoever said to get a piano score and just try smashing out an arrangement on Sibleius or something - that's good advice. Helps you develop your own style when you're just experimenting and not worrying too much about Following any particular formula. You only learn what arranging style you like to write in by writing things you don't like, then changing them!

    It might help to not start with a full band. I'd try arranging for quartets, octets and 10-pieces first so you don't get lost in trying to fill too many parts. When you start to run out of notes you want to write, expend your ensemble!

    Just make sure the music you're arranging is off copyright before you start....
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008

    ALLROUNDER New Member

    I think most of those books will show you tried and trusted means by which you can realise an existing piece in Brass Band (and other) terms. In other words, a fair amount of orchestration rather than arrangement creation from scratch. To create from scratch, you'd need something more akin to a book on harmony and counterpoint. Google "Walter Piston". He did a good harmony book.

    Rob Collinson
  13. Morghoven

    Morghoven Member

    That would be "arranging" then. (Or possibly transcription, but let's not get into the semantics of that here).

    I'd call that "composition", which wasn't what the original poster was asking about.

    And with tongue so far in cheek I can feel it in my ear...I believe that Ray Steadman-Allen, Andrew Duncan and Denis Wright have all written books about arranging and scoring for brass band. Possibly Ed Infinitum has also written one? :tongue:

    ALLROUNDER New Member

    In answer to #13: It's not quite as cut and dried as that - it's a very grey area because we tend to use the term "arrangement" to cover a multitude of things. At one end of the scale we have arrangements of existing material - we don't add anything by way of harmony, link passages, countermelodies and the like. We translate the material into Brass Band terms to recreate the intention of the original - something not unlike transcription. At the other end of the scale we have pieces with a broader harmonic vocabulary, link sections, reharmonisation, countermelodies et al which are more (I agree) akin to composition. Take any of Gordon Langford's traditional arrangements - they're more like compositions. As yet, we don't really know #1's intentions regarding "arrangement" so my advice is still to get hold of a good book on harmony as it will help to at least have a basic grounding in how this aspect of music works. Just looked it up. The Walter Piston book is a little pricey, but a good town library may have it.
  15. grandad

    grandad Member

    just have a go!!!
    there will always be people who say its rubbish but its usually better than the rubbish they haven't written!
  16. Di

    Di Active Member

    Several replies have been removed from this thread. Please keep any further contributions sensible and on topic. Thanks. :)
  17. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    Ouch !
    - Wilkie
  18. grandad

    grandad Member

  19. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    Because it was getting silly and distracting from the subject of the thread.

    Any further off-topic posts will be removed on sight.