MUJS 3610.001, Jazz Arranging (3 credits, offered only in the fall semester)
Professor: Richard DeRosa. Lab instructors: three graduate teaching assistants.
Prerequisites: MUJS 1360, 1361, 1370, 1371 (Jazz Fundamentals), 1470 (Intro to Jazz Recordings), and MUTH 1500 (Music Theory)
Class meetings are 11:00 - 11:50 MW, Room 262. One-hour labs (required) meet later in the week in Bain Hall (rooms 217 or 218); labs are scheduled during the first week of class.
MUJS 3610 begins a two-semester study in jazz arranging, required of all jazz studies majors. Basic and intermediate tools, including music preparation and computer notation, for creative writing in the jazz idiom are applied to small jazz ensembles. Three major projects are written, recorded, and reviewed. Students must sustain a semester grade minimum of B in this course in order to graduate with a BM degree.
Required text: Basics in Arranging by Paris Rutherford - available at the UNT Bookstore.
Suggested reference books:
Essential Dictionary Series (Orchestration, Notation, Music Dictionary) - Alfred Music; Jazz Composition and Arranging in the Digital Age by Richard Sussman and Michael Abene; Bill Dobbins – Jazz Arranging and Composing: A Linear Approach.
Course objectives: To introduce basic arranging concepts for musicians who are primarily performance majors: overtone series, transposition, range, registers, texture (monophonic, polyphonic, homophonic), counterpoint, harmonic voicings, form and development, manuscript preparation.
Learning outcomes and other requirements: There are three recording projects that must be approved by the professor or lab instructor. Each project is usually an arrangement of a standard or jazz tune for a specified instrumentation. Concert sketch scores and transposed scores will be used. Individual parts must be created for each of the horns in appropriate clef and key (transposed as necessary). Rhythm parts may be consolidated in a master part or separately. Digital calligraphy (Finale or Sibelius) is preferred for the parts but hand calligraphy is encouraged for the sketch scores and required for the first project.
Topical outline of content:
1. Arranging basics – Overtone series, range, register, transposition, writing at
(and away from) the piano, manuscript preparation.
2. Monophonic texture – instrument choice with regard to key, range restrictions, and
expression; blend and balance with collective instruments; unison vs. octaves.
3. Polyphonic texture – counterpoint in various forms: melodic, harmonic, bass
4. Homophonic texture – 3-voices to 5-voices for various horns in a small jazz
5. Orchestrating for the rhythm section – writing bass lines, top line melody for
guided harmonic outline, written voicings, master rhythm parts.
6. Creating formal elements – intro, ending, transition from expositional contents.
7. Manuscript preparation – concert sketch score, transposed score, individual
transposed parts, master rhythm part and individual rhythm parts.
8. Prepare 3 recording projects that incorporate all three textures and
contrapuntal techniques. Formal aspects include an introduction and ending.
There will be some performances in class so students are expected to bring
their instrument. The three main projects are recorded in ensembles outside
of the class.
Grading in MUJS 3610 is influenced by quality of work and calculated equally from the three projects, weekly assignments, and attendance. Assuming that most students are novice writers, all assignments are designed as "minimums". It is highly encouraged, especially for those who may have an interest in continuing into the optional second year of arranging, that the student strive to add considerable depth beyond the basic assignment.
Disabilities: We observe the Americans With Disabilities Act in making reasonable accommodation for qualified students with a recognized disability. If you have a disability registered with UNT, see Richard DeRosa during office hours in Week One.