Composing for a brass band

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Feefee, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. Feefee

    Feefee Member

    As part of my AS/A level course I have to write a composition and I have chosen to wirte a brass band march! I have already started it about 3 month ago and done about 18 bars and got an idea for a bass part in the middle but i was just wondering if anyone else had anymore ideas! I was also wondering if anyone else had done a brass band march either?
  2. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    The best marches seem to have something for everyone, particularly in the bass solo.

    E.g. after the intro, it is usual to have a quiet solo section accompanied by a euph counter melody. In the bass solo, everyone should have something interesting and if it is put together right, then it sounds fabulous.

    Use um-chucks sparingly.

    That's wot I think, anyway...
  3. Feefee

    Feefee Member

    Thanx a lot for your advice!

    No one else seems to care at the moment! Boo Hoo!!!:-(

    Surprisingly i am gonna use um chucks! That was one of ma ideas in the first place for when the bass solo plays!
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    ... most of the famous marches are remembered because of the bass solo, so make it a good tune so that people can whistle along to it!
  5. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Just a point: you don't have to accompany the bass solo just with monotonous chug-chugs; if you do opt for that, at least allow the parts to alternate between the notes to ease the monotony a little!
  6. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    A further thought - If you are doing a march. Do remember that you are limited to 10 instruments (if you are doing AQA) Don't kill yourself with work for AS - save that for the A2 :)
  7. stephen2001

    stephen2001 Member

    I wrote a march for my GCSEs which I can still remember all the way through even though I wrote it 6 years ago. I can't remember if I filled it with um-chucks though.
    If I can find the MIDI file, I will pass it onto you FeeFee and hopefully, will give you one or two ideas.
  8. lister89

    lister89 Member

    Hiya I rmember doing a similar thing for my GCSE's as well. I remember the thing i fond hardest was getting the trio to flow from the bridge after the bass solo. Modulating was fun too :)

    Think it would go better if i did it again now... lol

    Luv LIZZIE xXx
  9. skweeky

    skweeky Member

    just try listening to a good march and pick out the points that make it a good march, eg the euph counters the melody in the firts 8 bars or the horns have a lilting um chug line etc. you should also double parts up, dont think of a different part for each instrument. Also, doubling treble and bass voices can be affective. The hardest thing i find with composing is maintaining a style but allowing play around with the rythms and finding good chord progressions.
  10. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    The only advice I can give is, make it as annoyingly catchy as you can!

    I wrote an old-style patrol march a while ago (Makes it easier to write the opening and ending, y'see?) and after we'd put it on the program at a concert, everyone left the hall singing it!

    Never forget that sometimes the beauty of music is in the simplicity. We can't all write something like ravenswood, or even just the solo horn part of it! If YOU think a part of it sounds good right, leave it that way. There are times when dum-chucks can't be avoided, and I've ruined perfectly decent arrangements before by trying to make them a little more testing for the players. When it comes down to it, it's how it sounds that matters.

    Good luck!

  11. Feefee

    Feefee Member

    Thanks to everyone who as replied to me!
    Yes i do find it very catchy - even caught ma mum singing it!
    In the beginning the sop, cornets, have more a less the same and the others have litlle odd diffierent bits! Then im gonna add a bass solo and repeat it so its lnger!
    Then their will be a trio bit (not worked out the notes just yet though) where nearly all will have a little melody bit then its gonna be loud again leading out of trio.
    And amazingly i wrote bout 20 bars out in ma head and weirdly enough when i put it on sibeilius it sounded right!
    Anyways thnks again!
  12. Cornet_player

    Cornet_player Member

    I tried to write a march for an entire Brass Band for my AS last year. About 6 weeks before the deadline I changed my composition for a small wind ensamble. What exam board are you doing? I know that OCR dont like straightforward doubling of instruments or straight repeats without any changes to the harmony or melody. Make the write up about the composition really good and try to show examples of notated music that has inspired you with OCR you cant get the higher grades A/B without this!!

    Good Luck!!
  13. Feefee

    Feefee Member

    Thanks Heather.

    Im doing it with edexel though!
    Thanx again.

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