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The Trombone ForumTeaching & LearningComposition, Arranging and Theory(Moderator: zemry) Payability and Orthography Questions
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fsung
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« on: Mar 21, 2017, 08:18PM »

Looking for feedback/advice on a few items.

I'm working on an arrangement of Beethoven's Hallelujah Chorus from Christus am Ölberge for my church brass ensemble, My original thought was to score it for 2 trumpets and 2 bones (both have triggers), but, being only an occasional 'bone doubler, I'm uncertain of the playability of a 32nd note run (quarter note = 72) in the bass voice:



I know the notes are accessible: it's the articulation and tempo that concern me. Thoughts?

Also, two questions about a set of variations on Handel's "Harmonious Blacksmith" by Mauro Guiliani that I'm arranging for euph (or trombone?) and piano. The first has to do with the playability of  one of the variations.



Again, my concern is whether it can be played musically (in time, in tune, in good rhythm) given technical challenges posed by the intervals, tempo (2/2 meter, half note = 90), and the duration. I can make a reasonable go of it on euph at M.M. = 76 so I'm confident that more accomplished euphers could play it at the indicated tempo, but my slide technique and slide/tongue coordination aren't up to making a go of it on 'bone.

Secondly, one of the variation could be set in either Ab minor (7 flats, including the ever popular Cb and Fb) or G# minor (5 sharps). My instinct is to go with Ab min for the sake of orthographic consistency (and because the overall tonality of the arrangement is Ab), however my regular accompanist (and two other pianists I've run it by) vote for G# minor as the easier of the two to read. What say ye? Would it make sense to set the solo part in Ab min and "transpose" the piano part in G# min? Yea or Nay?

Thank you.
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robcat2075

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« Reply #1 on: Mar 21, 2017, 09:15PM »

Anytime you ask, "is _____ easy or hard" you're going to get a pissing match of people stepping in to assert they can do it in their sleep and that any self-respecting player ought to be able to. I'm jes warnin' ya!


Looking for feedback/advice on a few items.

I'm working on an arrangement of Beethoven's Hallelujah Chorus from Christus am Ölberge for my church brass ensemble, My original thought was to score it for 2 trumpets and 2 bones (both have triggers), but, being only an occasional 'bone doubler, I'm uncertain of the playability of a 32nd note run (quarter note = 72) in the bass voice:



I know the notes are accessible: it's the articulation and tempo that concern me. Thoughts?

My opinion is that a strong player with an f-valve could make a decent show of playing that at that tempo but it will always sound clunkier than a section of strings.  It's going to stick out like a sore trombone whereas for the strings it will sound as a mere passing gesture.

I'd have to double tongue those notes so there probably wouldn't be much difference between slurring and not slurring those notes at tempo.



Quote
Also, two questions about a set of variations on Handel's "Harmonious Blacksmith" by Mauro Guiliani that I'm arranging for euph (or trombone?) and piano. The first has to do with the playability of  one of the variations.



Again, my concern is whether it can be played musically (in time, in tune, in good rhythm) given technical challenges posed by the intervals, tempo (2/2 meter, half note = 90), and the duration. I can make a reasonable go of it on euph at M.M. = 76 so I'm confident that more accomplished euphers could play it at the indicated tempo, but my slide technique and slide/tongue coordination aren't up to making a go of it on 'bone.

the original is for guitar? It will lose a lot by not being able to let the bass notes ring.

Again, a strong player could play the notes but... ya know, there's a trombone concerto by Thomas Ritter George that is basically all about big leaps like that.  Yeah, RIGHT. It's not trivial and doing a whole page like that with no break is quite taxing. Most casual trombonists will not have the flexibility to do it without sounding like it's a huge awkward labor.


Quote
Secondly, one of the variation could be set in either Ab minor (7 flats, including the ever popular Cb and Fb) or G# minor (5 sharps). My instinct is to go with Ab min for the sake of orthographic consistency (and because the overall tonality of the arrangement is Ab), however my regular accompanist (and two other pianists I've run it by) vote for G# minor as the easier of the two to read. What say ye? Would it make sense to set the solo part in Ab min and "transpose" the piano part in G# min? Yea or Nay?

With electronic scoring it would be easy to prepare both and let them choose. My sense is that G# minor is the way to go.

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« Reply #2 on: Mar 21, 2017, 09:29PM »

I pretty much agree with Rob.

Those are both very playable, but will both require very strong players. If it's a church brass ensemble, it's likely you're not dealing with people who are operating at the highest levels of their instrument's technical capability. In theory, yes, they're playable. In practice, the 32nd note run will sound pretty aggressive and doubtful to be in time. The Handel, in practice, will probably come with a lot of blips and bloops.

I thing most would prefer Abm as opposed to G#m, but you could provide both parts.

Personally, in settings like a church, unless you're contracting known entities, I always err on the side of caution knowing that most who show up to a church gig will not have spent a lot of time preparing the parts.
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 21, 2017, 10:11PM »

Music is sound. Would anyone have written that as a trombone line?
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« Reply #4 on: Mar 22, 2017, 03:52AM »

Anytime you ask, "is _____ easy or hard" you're going to get a pissing match of people stepping in to assert they can do it in their sleep and that any self-respecting player ought to be able to. I'm jes warnin' ya!

That's pretty much why I'm asking here: one trombonist's attitude is, "Nope, can't be done"; the other's is, "I could play it in my sleep: every day, twice on Sundays, uphill, against the wind."

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the original is for guitar? It will lose a lot by not being able to let the bass notes ring.

That's quite true unaccompanied; the piano accompaniment makes good the deficit (not just here, but in all the variations).

Quote
Again, a strong player could play the notes but... ya know, there's a trombone concerto by Thomas Ritter George that is basically all about big leaps like that.  Yeah, RIGHT. It's not trivial and doing a whole page like that with no break is quite taxing. Most casual trombonists will not have the flexibility to do it without sounding like it's a huge awkward labor.

Thank you. That's precisely the sort of feedback I'm looking for.
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 22, 2017, 04:45AM »

Music is sound. Would anyone have written that as a trombone line?

Perhaps not; but since trombonists insist on butchering works like the Bach unaccompanied cello suites and Bordogni solfeggi etudes, which weren't exactly written for trombone either, might as well let 'em take a shot at butchering Handel/Guiliani.  Evil

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« Reply #6 on: Mar 22, 2017, 04:53AM »

Those are both very playable, but will both require very strong players. If it's a church brass ensemble, it's likely you're not dealing with people who are operating at the highest levels of their instrument's technical capability. In theory, yes, they're playable. In practice, the 32nd note run will sound pretty aggressive and doubtful to be in time. The Handel, in practice, will probably come with a lot of blips and bloops.

I thing most would prefer Abm as opposed to G#m, but you could provide both parts.

JBledsoe, thank you.

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Personally, in settings like a church, unless you're contracting known entities, I always err on the side of caution knowing that most who show up to a church gig will not have spent a lot of time preparing the parts.

In the case of the Beethoven, the tenor and bass parts are pretty straightforward on 'bone, save for the 32nd note run (which doubles the first trumpet, two octaves down). I could leave it out (or make it optional), but the line sounds pretty thin without it.
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« Reply #7 on: Mar 22, 2017, 04:55AM »

Another way of thinking of 32nd notes at 72 is 16th notes at 144.  That's something you'd more commonly see.  I wouldn't write it for a section, but I would imagine a single player would be able to make it clean if they could successfully manage that first rest.  That, to me, is the harder thing about that passage, is starting on the right beat. Starting right with other players on such an off beat using 32nd notes, which are not something many conceptualize on a daily basis might not sound as good. I'd give it to the guy who says he can do it in his sleep  Evil

The second clip is doable and if its a solo piece with accompaniment, I would anticipate people taking some liberties with it as they do the Cello suites such that the large jumps may be done in other octaves.  If you could do it up a major second and have the lowest note be an F, I know for sure it'd be a better fit for me, especially with the low Ebs. But I also would rather play a treble D than that Eb in this context, that would be easier for me but for someone who deals more with the low side of things even down a whole step may be more approachable. That would also take care of the key question too. If I were playing this I'd move it up a 2nd on tenor or do it on bass and take it down maybe even a little lower such that the lowest note was a C.

If you want to leave it in the key, I would prefer G# minor myself as would anyone who is used to sharp keys. If someone has exclusively done band stuff, their opinion might be very different. But I'd personally rather read 5 sharps than 7 flats.
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« Reply #8 on: Mar 22, 2017, 05:06AM »

The 32nd note run can be done by a strong player.

The guitar continuo page that is all arpeggios.... I wouldn't want to play that. The trombone is not a continuo instrument. I like air. Sure people play Bach Cell suites on trombone, but they shape the tempo to allow for air.

After 8 bars of 8th note arpeggios, the last thing I want to do is sneak a breath and continue for another 32 bars of 8th note arpeggios. Even if you had the greatest player in the world playing continuo trombone, they don't appreciate poor arranging.
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« Reply #9 on: Mar 22, 2017, 12:04PM »

Perhaps not; but since trombonists insist on butchering works like the Bach unaccompanied cello suites and Bordogni solfeggi etudes, which weren't exactly written for trombone either, might as well let 'em take a shot at butchering Handel/Guiliani.  Evil

My sense as an arranger is that if the original arrangement had been for brass, that line wouldn't have been included, because it has a specific effect when played on strings that won't be duplicated on brass even if played perfectly.

Is it an option to write something more idiomatic in that passage?
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