Eb parts and writting them

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by robertbatty9015, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. how do you write for Eb parts, like horns and basses, they play lower than Bb cornets and trumpets, but how do you get a good sound without them playing below bottom c?

  2. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I think alot depends on the timbre you are looking for.

    If you trying to get a nice horn sound below a C, pass it on to the baritones.

    Likewise, pass on the Eb bass to the Bb Bass
  3. right, i'll explain a bit more, might help you experts,

    my little marching band (not the biger one i'm in, my marching band) we were going to do christmas carols this year (still are but we are down to 3 cornets now, )

    one brused his ribs and the other, had erm i think church to go to which is fine, makes things eeasier.

    but what i wanted to do was write some music with 3 cornets, two first and a second, then an Eb part and a Bb bari.

    i wanted to make is so the Eb horn ran up and down with runs, the bari held notes and the cornets brought out the tune,

    i got the tune, and saw that the Eb part was goind to go low, about bottom A or something daft, so i thought well, instead of that, i'll bring it up an octave, but i tried that putting it all together on this music writter, notation 2
    and it sounded horrible, after i had brought the Eb part in to the same pitch as the Bb's (so it would sound as if it would be played)

    sorry if i've confused you cos ive confused my self now, just wondered if you could help?

  4. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    It sounds like you are trying to notate your parts at playing pitch instead of concert pitch. If your software can handle transposition of the parts you don't need to do this. Try writing the parts out all in the same key then get your software to do the transposition. Then if you find parts that go out of range you can move them around.

    Maybe the key you are using is causing the problem? Try going 1 sharp or 1 flat more (up or down a 5th) and see what happens.
  5. peatair

    peatair Member

    About 18 months ago I decided to have a go at arranging. I remain very much a "beginner" but keep on developing the type of pieces I tackle. I found that Dr Denis Wright offers good basic advice in his book "Scoring for Brass Band." The following is the gist of what he wrote:-

    The basses usually play either in octaves or in unison but it is OK to divide either part at times though don't do this as a habit because it can make the bass cumbersome. Also, you can mark the parts "One only" in very quiet sections though really good players can produce a beautiful pianissimo and it may not be necessary to use "one only."

    He also points out that below G (top space - bass clef) the intervals between parts should widen rapidly. For instance if you try to write basses only (say) a third apart very low down the effect is likely to be extremely "muddy" and unsatisfactory.

    Dr Denis also pointed out that the basses can play rapid scale passages. I agree but depends very much on the players - and whether they are able to play these passages TOGETHER?

    By keeping the parts within the "easier" range, the better sound and tuning will usually be obtained. However, this depends a lot on the band / level of difficulty which you have in mind when writing. Naturally, one is entitled to expect only the best from Championship Section bands.

    Not being ever a bass player myself, when I started taking an interest in arranging, I was lucky in that a very helpful E Flat bass player gave me a lot of advice as to "what works." Also, a study of the scores of good composers / arrangers is always a good thing to do. There are dozens of these but I learned quite a bit from Eric Ball, Denis Wright, Philip Sparke, Peter Graham, Andrew Duncan etc. Also, worth a look at some of the Bass Solos such as "The Trouble with the tuba is ...." by William Relton etc. etc.
  6. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    This won't solve your arranging problem, but maybe your caroling problem...

    Have you ever thought of buying those 4 (now 5-part) Salvation Army Carol Books?

    They are perfect for Caroling and usually work pretty well with any instrumentation? (Have had all sorts of unusual combo groups playing out at the kettles that past few winters)
  7. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    You picked the thought right out of my head, Pat :) Great minds, eh?
  8. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

  9. sounds good, i'll try bear that in mind probs next year hehe, we are sticking to the tune a day and team brass tunes for this winter.

    what combination would you have?

    2 cornets and a baritone / euphonium (1 of the cornets playing part 2nd and part 1st)

    3 cornets (with one of them playing 2nd cornet)

    2 cornets and an Eb horn (Eb horn with the 2nd part)


    just playing about with ideas,
  10. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    Given three cornets, a tenor and a euph I would probably have the three cornets be the soprano, alto and tenor parts of the carol, with the euph on the bass part and the tenor horn as the descant/flourish sort of thing.
  11. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    Another possibility is 2cnts on sop, 1 on alto, horn on tenor and bari/euph on bass. A lot depends on the strength and confidence of your players, I suppose.

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