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Author Topic: Duke Ellington transcriptions  (Read 1136 times)
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Andrew Meronek

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Location: Livonia, MI
Joined: Sep 30, 2001
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« on: Apr 13, 2004, 04:02PM »

I went to look for my old post under "music and recordings" and I think it got deleted.  Oh well.

In case anyone is interested:

My transcribing is going well, and boy is it a lot of work.  I have "Steppin' Into Swing Society" done except for a few touch-ups.  After some contact with David Berger, Andrew Homzy, and Brent Wallarab,  I decided to change the tunes I'm doing to try to cover ones that have not been done at a professional level before.  Surprisingly, I haven't found "The Sergeant Was Shy," which is a great tune (and not unknown among Ellington buffs), and "Echoes of the Jungle."  Sergeant should be done in another week.

For any of you who have not transcribed a big band piece before, heed this warning: figuring out chords and rhythms is easy.  Figuring out colors and part doubling is HARD.  For this reason, Ellington is HARD.  For an easy example that I am confident I got right, there is a section in "Steppin' ..." that sounded like 3 trombones, yet two independent and discographies indicate only two trombones were on the record.  I tried putting a tenor sax in between the two bones, and after having it read today, found that this was indeed Ellington's solution to creating a trombone soli sound with only two bones. (And throughout the rest of the chart, only two trombone voices are really needed for the voicings, so it all makes more sense now.) But there were a couple other places in the chart where I had to construct everything around a particularly nice combination of instruments in order to figure out just what was possible in terms of doublings in the woodwinds and how many instruments of each type could be available, then working backwards from there.
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"All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians."

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