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The Contemporary Arranger: Book & CD Spiral-bound – 1 Jan 1994


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The Contemporary Arranger: Book & CD + ARRANGING FOR LARGE JAZZ ENSEMBLE + ARRANGING JAZZ MODERN JAZZ VOICINGS CBAN BOOK/CD
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Product details

  • Spiral-bound: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred Publishing Company; Spi Pap/Co edition (1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0882840320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0882840321
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 29.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,945 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
There are four basic factors that are essential in the construction of a good arrangement: Balance, Economy, Focus, and Variety. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By N. Waddington on 20 July 2007
Format: Spiral-bound
This book is a masterpiece. Nothing in its field has come close since it first appeared in 1979. None of the written content has dated because it deals in depth with the big principles of all ensemble writing regardless of style. The attention to detail is meticulous, as are the beautifully copied written examples of score. Re-arranging for ensembles of different sizes is very usefully discussed. If you're a novice don't be daunted by this big book - the beauty of it is that you can read it and take in as much detail as your current know-how allows, and then take in a bigger dose on your next sweep though a few months later - it replaces fear with enthusiasm. It is of far greater value if you can track down the version which contains a CD of top session players demonstrating the content, many from Don's work on the famous CTI recordings (see bottom left of front cover - "available with" means no CD in that version, so don't get caught out). Inevitably some of the recorded examples now sound rather dated, but this is irrevelant - their function is to illustrate, not to entertain. The pages usefully have intentionally wide margins so that you can add your own jottings from other texts (so it becomes an increasingly valuable encyclopaedia over the years!). The only knowledge you need first is to read music, and to know some basic jazz harmony, i.e. four/five-note chords and how they are notated. This book is a wonderful stepping stone to writing for full orchestra for those who want to learn that big task (there are other texts for that, the best probably being Sam Adler's, with its own recorded examples). Perhaps the most telling sign of this book's quality is the author's clear love of his subject - it jumps off every page, and I defy anyone having feasted on the contents to read the touching final paragraph without a lump in the throat! A must.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Great! 19 Mar 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Plastic Comb
This book is incredible! I read it when it was first written (early 80's) and still refer to it (it's not only great for subjective opinions, but also reference material).

The records (or is it a cd now) that came with it were also instrumental (no pun intended) in giving me a great aural example of the types of sounds that I was looking for. For example, he'll take an instrument like a french horn, and audibly illustrate all the different effects for it. Then there were examples of flute with oboe (flute on top) in different ranges. Then they'd be reversed, such as oboe over flute in different ranges, and other helpful examples such as a ton of string effects and how to write them. I'd thouroughly recommend the book!
Kevin C
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Great Arranging Manual! 2 Aug 2003
By Matthew A. Knecht - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Plastic Comb
This book is the best one I have yet seen on the art of arranging for jazz bands and other contemporary/pop ensembles. It is full from beginning to end not only with all the standard info about instrument ranges, which instruments sound best in which voicings, etc., but also full of interesting little gems designed to inform the budding arranger about the realities of the music industry. Things like "All professional trumpet players carry with them a straight mute, cup mute, harmon mute, felt hat, and sometimes a plunger. Any other special mutes must be requested in advance of a performance or recording session" (page 13). Also tips on how best to record particular instruments in the studio, and things to look out for in this regard. "Of all the members of the woodwind family, the bassoon is the hardest to record properly, having the tendency to become lost when combined with other instruments.... it... is most effective when the texture of the passage in which it is used is transparent enough for the bassoon to be heard clearly."

To all of those reviewers at this site and the other page for this book, the CD *does* in fact match the examples in the book. The book specifies between regular written examples (not included on the CD), and *recorded examples*, which are on the CD. The listing on pages viii and ix accurately reflect the listing on the CD and the appropriate text in the book that matches each example.

The examples of various sounds possible on the stringed instruments and the French horn, are particularly helpful in matching up the standard musical terms "detache," "parlando," etc. with that particular sound.

Overall, an excellent book both for beginners and folks with some background who are looking to expand into jazz-style sounds.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An indispensable guide to jazz ensemble writing. 30 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Spiral-bound
I've worn out my original copy of Don Sebesky's book from constant use. Its an excellent technical resource for instrument ranges and transpositions. It has also been a marvelous source of ideas and inspiration as I've developed and explored my own writing.
Don's creative pen can be heard on Dave Grusin's "West Side Story" and his own "I Remember Bill" CDs. Both recordings are excellent and worth extended study by any arranger, particularly with this book at one's side.
In this book he freely lays out the groundwork for his craft. Through extensive examples he shows how similar passages should be scored for different ensembles, highlighting any well known applications of a given technique (i.e. Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Les Brown, Claude Thornhill, etc.) Any serious or even curious student (or professional!) should not overlook the wealth of information inside.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Things you must know to be a serious composer. 16 Aug 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Spiral-bound
What I was always looking for. This book is a crisp and clear breakdown of all the important musical instruments. It is done so clearly that quick reference is possible and most every question is answered.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One of the best about modern scoring 19 May 2013
By Julian M Penchansky - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books if you are interested in music writing and orchestration. Also check Rimsky-Korsakov's, Mancini's and a couple of Berklee Press ones.
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