How accurate should the part be?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BrianT, Jan 28, 2013.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT Member

    Wantage, Oxfordshire
    Suppose you have to play the solo line in an arrangement of a popular song, or a transcription of a rock guitar or saxophone solo.

    On the sheet music you're given, do you prefer the line to be notated exactly as originally performed, or would you sooner have a 'bare bones' version, with the expectation that you're already familiar with the performance and can drag around the timing, insert bends, scoops, vibrato etc, even though they're not necessarily notated?

    And if you arrange stuff, what's your expectation of the performer?
  2. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    The Sunny Isle of Wight
    I suppose that the answer lies in whether you are writing an arrangement or a transcription.
    The former should suit the new ensemble (whatever that is) and the performance level that you are aiming at whilst the latter should be as close to the original as possible.
    Personally I find straight transcriptions are often far too hard to read to be actually performable by most mortals and try to write more sypathetically to the new Instrument/Performer.
    One of the best directions I ever saw was on a transcription of the Sinatra/Riddle "Swingin' Down The Lane" where the trumpet solo was simply marked "James" - you knew exactly what to do !!
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    A pub, Surrey, UK
    No, thanks

    Yes, please.

    If I were in the position of having to play something like this, I would take it upon myself to do my homework, research the original version, listen to any available recordings etc, then take the basic written-out solo and develop it into something that matches the spirit and sense of the original, but is adjusted for my instrument and style.

    My expectation as an arranger would be for the performer to do the same.

    Of course, if you're sightreading on the gig, all of that goes out the window and instinct takes over. But Andy's point is very true - if an "improvised" solo is notated too precisely it becomes virtually impossible to read.
  4. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    The engine room
    And not improvised :tongue:
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