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Tuba, which one? Which key?

in Brass

I'm not a brass player, I'm a violinist. I'm just writing for myself with MuseScore, trying to build my composition and orchestration skills. How do you decide which tuba to use in compositions? Wikipedia says that some tubas are more commonly used in UK, the other is more commonly used in US. If I ever have a real player to write for, then I'll write for that persons instrument. Until that happens, can you give me any suggestions, comments etc? (I posted one of my composition exercises , with a tube, to this group, it's the variations on Swanee river) Thanks.

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Next Song!!!

 Hey guys, I'm back after a bit of a hiatus for summer school and work but i can't decide on the song i want to arr. next. i have a few that I have been wanting to do but i can't seem to stay focused on just one of them. so if you all could give me some feed back on which you would like to hear that would be greatly appreciated. Take a look at my Previous arrangements and see what you would like to hear next.
Thanks!!

Songs -
Weight of the World - Nier Automata
Sincerely - Violet Evergarden
Miraculous Autumn - Tobias Holm *will be more of a small scale duet/trio*
Ninelie - Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress
This Game - No Game No Life 

Can we get some more cymbal sounds?

I am a percussionist who loves to write percussion parts, but there is a issue that bugged me for a very long time - there are only few cymbal sounds/notations. 

I believe that one way that an arranger could make the music lively is through usage of various cymbals. However, Musescore is stuck with only few cymbal sounds and they are extremely basic (splash, crash, china, HH, hand crash). My suggestion is that more cymbals should be added through MDL. Marching art is one of the fields of music that uses heaps of cymbals, and MDL is a great chance to elaborate on Musescore's depressing number of cymbals.

Here are some of my suggestions:
- Cymbal chokes
- Swish knocker (sizzle)
- Stack
- Cymbal rolls + gong roll
- Zil-bel, bell plate, ect.
- More splash (china, trashformer, ect.)

Adding these cymbals will definitely make the marching band/DCI arrangement very lively and  interesting to listen to.

[article] Sax as a transposing instrument and writing music for saxophone

Saxophone (no matter what type we are talking about: alto,tenor, soprano, bari or some less used ones) is so-called “transposing instrument”. It means that you are “in a different key” than “concert pitch” instruments, such as piano, guitar, (double) bass, etc. If you are not familiar with the “transposing instruments” thing, I suggest that you read the first section of the wiki article before continuing with this review, it is pretty well explained there:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposing_instrument

So, to get the pitch you need when writing some sax part, you need to transpose it up (from concert pitch):

  • For soprano sax: a major 2nd
  • For alto sax: a major 6th
  • For tenor sax: a major 9th (1 octave + major 2nd)
  • For bari sax: a major 13th (1 octave + major 6th)

As you can see the difference between soprano and tenor is one octave (as well as the difference between alto and bari).

Soprano and tenor saxes are called "Bb instruments", it means that for the “C” note in these instruments’ part the actual sounding pitch will be “Bb”.

Alto and bari saxes are called “Eb instruments”; so if you write the “C” note in some part for this instruments, you will actually get the sound of “Eb” concert pitch once it is played.

All this stuff seems to be quite complicated for someone that has never dealt with transposing instruments before, but using MuseScore notation software you can quickly make parts for saxophones even if you do not know all this transposing instruments theory (though this knowledge is vital for composers). There is a quick video tutorial on the topic, I'll post a link in the end of this post.

One more thing to remember: once you have written some sheet music for saxophone, check the range - the saxophone part (make sure that it is not shown in concert pitch, so unpress the “concert pitch” button in MuseScore editor while viewing the part) should have pitches only inside this range (from small octave “Bb” to 3rd octave “F”) :



The only exception is bari sax - it has the additional low “A” note, which, by the way, sounds pretty cool. Good arrangers, like Gordon Goodwin, often use this feature of bari saxophones. Of course, there are also altissimo pitches, but that is a separate topic for conversation.

If you wish, you can check the whole sax family at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saxophone#Saxophone_family

This table from wikipedia is really “true to the fact”. Sopranino and sopranissimo saxes sound “higher” than concert pitch instruments: I mean that the first-octave “C” notated in sheet music for these instruments will actually sound as 1st-octave Eb and Bb respectively. All other saxes sound “lower than written”, just remember this rule. However, the most used saxes have been already mentioned before, so other ones are pretty rare,I should say.

And one more thing to be aware of when writing a piece for sax ensemble: saxophones and saxophonists are not perfect, and an arranger, especially writing for an amateur/student sax ensemble, or even for big band, should try not to overuse (I write the pitches that occur in sax part, not in concert pitch, of course) notes higher than 3rd octave C# (high notes tend to sound out-of-tune-high) and lower than 1st octave D (on some medium quality saxophones it’s hard to play those pitches, especially if saxophone is not in a perfect condition).

Don’t hesitate to add some thoughts and more tips on the topic in comments.

I CAN WRITE DRUMLINE MUSIC FOR YOUR SHOW!

 
Hey everyone, this is going to be a recurring ad that I spread across the marching band/dci community. 
That's right, I offer only the best and the most thoughtful percussion/drumline for any DCI or marching band show thrown at me. I've been writing drumline music (let's just call it book) for about 5 years now. I've practiced a lot through writing book on paper or on Sibelius---making the change to Musescore but that option is still available---in order to produce very nuanced and meticulous book that works for any kind of show.  I am currently the caption head and percussion arranger for Perris High School as well as Front Ensemble/Percussion co-arranger for Lindenhurst Senior HIgh School. 
I can provide any type of examples of how I write on moment's notice as well!
If you are interested, please don't hesitate to add me on Facebook, or shoot me an email at zunigalt@gmail.com. I'd love to work with you!

Don't you worry 'bout a thing arrangement.

Hey guys,

So I have a problem with the arrangement I am making for a Sax Trio. The song is called Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing by Stevie Wonder, but for this trio I wanted to transpose the Tori Kelly version from the movie Sing. 

Unfortunately, I don't know all of the notes since there are no other sheets of this version on the internet. I'd hope that some of you could help me with finishing this piece of music.

Thanks to those who would like to help!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lI5VmfngnNQ

You can find my score in my profile ;)