Jazz Studies

MUS 405: Studio Techniques in Arranging & Orchestration

Instructor: Dr. Tom Wolfe
thomas.wolfe@ua.edu
3 credit hours

Prerequisites

MUS 312

Course Description

This course is an approach to arranging and orchestration in both jazz and commercial settings. The emphasis will be placed on writing for the studio orchestra (jazz ensemble with orchestral instrumentation, i.e.: NBC Orchestra) and smaller groups utilizing both acoustic and MIDI instrumentation. Although the emphasis of the course is on arranging and orchestration, the students will also continue to develop skills as composers. As time permits, other forms will be discussed and analyzed in the course.

Course Goals & Objectives

To build a firm foundation in stylistic concepts of composing and arranging in different mediums and to develop the students orchestration skills. To develop the skill and command of a more commercial approach to writing with a focus on the applications in the commercial recording studio (jingles, film scores, commercial arrangements as applicable in Hilaritas, for example, etc.).

Required Materials

The Contemporary Arranger, Don Sebesky. Alfred Publishing Company, 1974.

Assignments

Weekly assignments and readings will be given as new material is introduced in class. The first assignment is an arrangement for jazz octect. The students will be responsible for arranging a piece (approved by the instructor) for the studio orchestra. The second project will be an original composition of the student’s and arranged for a smaller combo of acoustic and MIDI instrumentation. Both projects are to be recorded in the Jazz Studio.

Examinations

There will be a final examination for this course and will cover all material discussed in the course, i.e.: ranges, writing examples, philosophy of orchestration, etc.

Policies & Procedures

Grading System

Assessment of the student’s work is based on the following criteria:

  • Comprehension, command and application of material covered in the course.
  • Completion of projects by the deadline. Late projects will result in lowering of the final grade.
  • Orchestration abilities – effective and appropriate use of instrumentation.
  • Examination/quizzes.

The student’s final grade will be drawn from grades received for each component of the course:

Class assignments & quizzes: 10%
Project #1 (studio orchestra): 10%
Project #2 (acoustic/MIDI piece): 30%
Project #3: 30%
Final Exam: 20%

95%-100% = A
90%-94% = A-
86%-89% = B+
82%-85% = B
79%-81% = B-
75%-78% = C+
71%-74% = C
68%-70% = C-
64%-67% = D+
60%-63% = D
57%-59% = D-
0%-56% = F

Attendance Policy

Attendance of all classes is expected. Three absences from class will result in lowering the final grade by one letter. Any extenuating curcumstances must be immediately discussed with Tom Wolfe.

Course Outline

Week 1: Introduction to Studio Techniques in Arranging and Orchestration & Syllabus Review. Review of Media Lab. Assignment: Choose tune for Project 1 and map out the project
Week 2: Finale: Media Lab Implementation.Score setup, data input, playback, FTP, etc.
Week 2: Finale: Media Lab Implementation continued.
Week 3: The Studio Orchestra: An Introduction. Arrangers and Charts TBA
Week 3: The String Section Sounds and Scores, Mancini, pp. 213-241. Assignment: String writing – TBA. Due next class. Project #1 Due
Week 4: The String Section continued. Sounds and Scores, Mancini, pp. 213-241. Assignment: String writing – TBA. Due next class. Quiz #1 – strings
Week 4: The Woodwind Section: Flute, Clarinet, Oboe. Sounds and Scores, Mancini, pp. 37-79.
Week 5: The Woodwind Section continued: English Horn, Basson, Woodwind Ensemble. Sounds and Scores, Mancini, pp. 80-98. Assignment: Woodwind writing – TBA. Due next class.
Week 5: The Brass Section: French Horn, Tuba, Brass Ensemble. Sounds and Scores, Mancini, pp. 106-129. Assignment: Brass writing. Due next class.
Week 6: The Percussion Section. Sounds and Scores, Mancini, pp. 167-184. Quiz #2: Instrument Ranges
Week 6: Individual meetings with Professor to discuss Project #1.
Week 7: The Studio Orchestra: More Examples.
Week 7: Individual meetings with Professor to discuss Project #1.
Week 8: Completion of Project #1. Full class for final review of projects. Project #2 Due: Parts & Score. *Recording session will take place during Orchestral Reading Sessions at the end of the semester.
Week 8: Mid-Term Examination
Week 9: The MIDI Studio: MIDI Basics. An Introduction To The Creation Of Electroacoustic Music, Pellman, pp. 127-180.
Week 9: The MIDI Studio: MIDI Basics continued. An Introduction To The Creation Of Electroacoustic Music, Pellman, pp. 127-180. Submit Project #3 tune choice for approval. This tune may be an original composition.
Week 10: The MIDI Studio: Advanced MIDI Techniques. An Introduction To The Creation Of Electroacoustic Music, Pellman, pp. 181-208.
Week 10: The MIDI Studio: Advanced MIDI Techniques cont. An Introduction To The Creation Of Electroacoustic Music, Pellman, pp. 181-208. Quiz #3
Week 11: Individual meetings with Professor to discuss Project #2: Progress of arrangement. The MIDI/Acoustic Chart – Score Study.
Week 12: In Class Sequencing Session  Individual meetings with Professor to discuss Project #2: Progress of arrangement.
Week 13: In Class Sequencing Session. In Class Sequencing Session.
Week 14: Individual meetings with Professor to discuss Project #2: Progress of arrangement. In Class Sequencing Session.
Week 15: Completion of Project #2. Full class for final review of arrangements. Project #3 Due: Parts & Score.
Week 16: Record Project #3.
Record Project #3.