MUJS 3620.001, Jazz Arranging (3 credits, offered only in the spring semester)
Class Professor: Richard DeRosa. Lab Instructors: three graduate teaching assistants.
Prerequisite: MUJS 3610 with a grade of A or B, or equivalent in proven experience.
Meetings: Class meetings are 11:00 - 11:50 MW, Kenton Hall (Room 282). 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.
Course description: MUJS 3620 completes the two-semester study in jazz arranging required of all jazz performance majors. The course focuses upon arranging and orchestrating music for the large jazz ensemble. Two major projects are written, performed and recorded. Computer notation is required in all finished product.
Suggested Reference Texts: Inside the Score by Ray Wright, The Complete Arranger by Sammy Nestico, The Contemporary Arranger by Don Sebesky, Jazz Composition and Arranging in the Digital Age by Richard Sussman and Michael Abene, Changes Over Time: The Evolution of Jazz Arranging by Fred Sturm
Grading in MUJS 3620 is influenced by quality of work, and calculated equally from the two major projects and the weekly assignments.
Topical Outline of Content:
1. Creating an "event list" - how to listen to music as an arranger.
2. Voicing for the trombone section - rooted and rootless voicings, open and closed voicings, voice-leading, accompanying
3. Voicing for the brass section - fundamental harmonic register, extended harmonic register, how to mix the two, as
accompaniment, as a tutti "shout" ensemble, mutes.
4. Voicing for the saxophone section - soli voicing techniques (block, drop 2 & 3, independent), adding the saxes to the
brass - how to EQ the ensemble sound.
5. Harmonic techniques for non-chord tones and how to create harmonic "flex" (approach and passing chords).
6. Integrating the Rhythm (and "string") section into the horn ensemble beyond chord symbols and slashes.
Arrange for large jazz ensemble (5 saxes, 4 tpts, 4 tbns, 4 rhythm) the three selected excerpts provided by the professor.
PROJECT II (to be performed and recorded no later than Wednesday of pre-finals week)
Use the concepts from Project I and the weekly assignments to create a full chart for large jazz ensemble. The arrangement should be based on a Great American Standard or Jazz Standard. Original compositions are generally not allowed unless granted consent by the professor.
• Score for the same ensemble as Project I
All projects should have an intro, exposition, improvisation section, ensemble feature (“shout”) and an ending. Transitional material between sections is encouraged.
Assuming that most students are novice writers, all assignments are designed as "minimums". It is highly encouraged, especially for those who have intentions to continue into Arranging III and IV, that the student strive to add considerable depth to each assignment and Project.
Students interested in continuing the study of arranging by enrolling in MUJS 4610 must pass the MUJS3620 course with a semester grade of A. Students who qualify must notify Professor DeRosa of their intention to enroll prior to the end of the 3620 semester. Once notified, the Arranging Continuation Exam will be scheduled during the final examination week. Review materials are available online: go to ACE.