Tag Archives: arranging

Charles Ives for Jazz Orchestra Pt. 1 – “Tom Sails Away”

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I’d like to welcome composer and arranger Jack Cooper to Professorscosco as my first featured guest contributor. I’ve invited Jack to share with you some of his arrangements of Charles Ives’ music from his monumental 2014 release, Mists – Charles … Continue reading

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“Hudson City Suite” – a Short Film by Gabriel Judet-Weinshel

When you surround yourself with blazing musical and visual talent, this is what happens. Gabe is a good friend, a filmmaker, writer and musician, and a longtime collaborator. He put this together using location footage from Jersey City, NJ, interviews, and … Continue reading

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Linear Harmony #3 – From Point A to Point B

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Let your counterpoint guide you and write from the top down. Don’t worry about chords until it sounds good. Think about the beginning and the end of the phrase and how you want to get from point A to point … Continue reading

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Linear Harmony #2 – Inner Roots and Voice Leading – Pt. 1

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The layering of chords, with inner roots and strong voice leading are an important part of linear harmony; it’s a melodic way of writing with chords, and with apologies to Schoenberg and Debussy, a jazzy way of using “Klangfarbenmelodie”, or … Continue reading

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Linear Harmony #1: Almost Chords but Not Quite

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I started talking about linear harmony a while ago in “Lines Intertwining” (with apologies to Spinal Tap), and a few other Top-Down posts, like Melodic Pedal Points; in other posts I’ve discussed freeing up lines and counterpoint and not worrying … Continue reading

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The First Jazz Composer?

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Claude Debussy? Discuss…. Professorscosco is worn out by the holidays, a burning, but very cold rooftop New Years jazz gig, and a long bike ride today, and is thus not inclined at the moment to pontificate about music theory. But … Continue reading

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Top Down #6: Melodic Motion–Space is the Place

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You can give your writing rhythmic tension by varying the “groove” under a melody, melodic line, or syncopated figure. You can also create space for counterlines and more music material under, after and around your melodic figures. This adds a … Continue reading

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Top-Down #5: More off the Grid

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When your phrases breathe and have some space, counterlines and background figures come more easily. When you write from the top, everything fits, because you decide how much space to allot each element, then you fill in the rest. When … Continue reading

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Top Down #4: Rhythmic Control and Moving off the Grid

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One goal of writing from the top-down is to compose more expressively. Not that your melodies need any help to be expressive, but perhaps there’s a way to “open it up” more. Thinking about your music with flexible rhythmic feel … Continue reading

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Top Down #3: Phrase Length and Form

Listen to some old-school blues tracks, and dig upon how some phrases/lyric lines are longer than the 4 measures that we’re used to. The performer goes to the IV chord, back to the I, to the V, when it feels … Continue reading

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