MUJS 4610.001, Jazz Arranging (3 credits, offered only in the fall semester)
Professor: Richard DeRosa
Meetings: Class meetings are Monday 9:00 - 10:40 and Wednesday 9:00 - 9:50 in Room 292.
Prerequisites for undergraduate students:
1) MUJS 3620 with a semester grade no less than A.
For students with a lesser grade than A:
2) The student must perform at the piano from memory the tune “Stella by Starlight”; aspects for evaluation include good standard jazz voicings with good voice-leading. It can be performed as a ballad or in a medium swing style; contact Professor DeRosa to arrange an appointment.
3) Arranging Continuation Exam. The ACE is given in the final week of the MUJS 3620 semester and by appointment prior to the beginning of fall semester. A portfolio of writing may be presented in lieu of the exam but the quality of the work must be equal or beyond the realm of the exam. Send a digital portfolio (PDF scores and mp3 recordings) directly to
Course description: MUJS 4610.001 is required of all graduate jazz majors in the arranging track (unless substantiated otherwise) and undergraduate jazz majors who have an arranging emphasis. The course focuses on intermediate and advanced writing for various jazz settings and upon score analysis. The work sequence is comprised of a series of short but intense writing assignments that are designed to instill strong concepts for better writing that can be applied to jazz and styles beyond.
AGENDA – Most assignments will be performed in class and at times the professor may feel that more time spent on a particular subject will be beneficial to the class as a whole. In some cases, redoing the assignment may be requested.
Grading is subjective and based upon the musical quality of the assignments. Attendance and participation are essential. Provided that the instrumentation is adequate, weekly projects are usually performed in class.
1. Melodic Composition - melodic steps, climax points, using space effectively, using chromaticism effectively.
2. 2-part counterpoint - from Bach to Mulligan to Marsalis.
3. Free Counterpoint - from Baroque-influenced (Bach/Modern Jazz Quartet) to Contemporary (Bartok/Brookmeyer)
4. Fugue - from Baroque-influenced (Bach/Modern Jazz Quartet) to Contemporary (in the style of Bartok/Stravinsky).
5. Constant structure harmony - planing or parallel techniques, pandiatonicism (Oliver Nelson, Gil Evans).
6. Random structure harmony - abstract voicings (Herbie Hancock).
Suggested reference texts: as found in MUJS 3620.