SBO Report: Writing & Arranging

Mike Lawson • Archives • October 21, 2006

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By Vince Corozine (ASCAP)

The ability to write simplified parts or to edit existing parts that are too demanding for the student, are valuable skills for a school music director to acquire. Often the limited technical ability of certain students will necessitate that a simplified part be written in order to assist the student with the music to be played.

Here are a few suggestions for writing simplified parts. Each part should:

  • Blend well with the ensemble.
  • Make sense melodically. The more singable the line, the easier it will for the student to learn.
  • Be rhythmically appealing, and in some way be related to the melody.
  • Reflect the spirit of the composition, in style and substance.
  • Be technically playable, and keep each instrument in its strongest sounding register.
  • Follow the principles of good voice leading.
  • Fill in or reinforce the basic harmony. (The safest notes to double in tonal music are the first, fourth, and fifth of the major scale key.)
  • Make a musical contribution to the composition.

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