So, this is the first arrangement I wrote fully on my own.
I transcribed Jean ‘Toots’ Theileman’s Bluesette and wrote the Bass Clarinet and Second Soprano Clarinet part based on the key changes.
I think it is kind of fun, it has a propulsive, merry-go-round feel that works with the melody. I only wish I knew how to play accordion better, so I could play the bass part on accordion. That would make it really cool.
Tho, playing the bass clarinet part through as many times as it took for me to get it mostly down, gave me a new respect for tuba players. I shall never make fun of the tuba!
VENI, EMMANUEL. 88, 88, 88.
Plainsong Melody, Mode 1
Arr. by Ernest White, 1899-
Latin Hymn, 1710
Tr. John Mason Neale, 1818-66
I do REALLY like this hymn, but was a giant pain to transcribe.
First, apparently little details like notes per measure and time signatures weren’t a big deal when this hymn was written, so it is written with no measures, something the software I am using to create the scores (MuseScore is awesome! And FREE!)
To get around this, I decided to create “measures” based around the phrasing of the text. That ends up meaning dividing the piece into 12 and 14 syllables per “measure”.
However, once I divided up the melody phrasing, I discovered, when I tried to line up the chords in the harmony parts as they were in the book, that whomever transcribed it also didn’t place an emphasis on having the same number of beats in the other parts as had written in the melody part. To get things to line up, I ended up filling in notes in the harmony parts.
Even so, this arrangement ends up odd, and I have been tweaking it for a few days now, trying to get it to sound like I think it should, especially after I started playing the parts on the clarinets.
Watching, I was struck by how funny it is, that in modern small combo jazz, the horn player often sits there and basically does nothing for what amounts to nearly half of the concert.
The piano, drum, and bass players play the whole night, but the horn player plays during the head and his solos and then just sits out the rest of the concert.
Related, listening to early jazz, Armstrong, Oliver, Bechet, I’ve been paying attention to how the clarinet interacts with the ensemble. It seems like the clarinet is most closely allied with the banjo. While the brass, piano, and drums play mostly on the beat, the clarinet & banjo play contrapuntally and interstitially.
While the horns play the main theme or motif, the clarinet will often play against the theme, or after it, or during breaks in the music. Sort of like the clarinet player is commenting on the theme.
Similarly, in early small combo jazz, the horns don’t sit out, they act as part of the rhythm section when they are not actively soloing.
It’s funny that that custom seems to have been lost in much of modern jazz.