Saxophone Forum


by Black Orpheus
(23 posts)
10 years ago

Jazz Theory and Arranging

I am a college student who is very interested in composing. My favorite type of music is jazz, so I'd like to learn to arrange and write new tunes for combos, jazz ensembles, and eventually jazz ensemble and a studio orchestra. Can anyone recommend some really helpful books to get me started with jazz theory and arranging? I've taken four years of "classical" theory and I've written for jazz ensemble by ear, so I have some experience already with arranging. Thanks for the help.

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  1. by sax_maniac
    (984 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Jazz Theory and Arranging

    For general arranging (not just jazz) - I recommend Kennan's book - "Techniques of Orchestration" I think it's called. It's not so much about music theory as it is about appropriate written ranges of instruments and how instruments project throughout the range and what the limitations are for instruments. That way you can write music somewhat thoughtfully for an acoustic bass player, for example, without having been an experienced acoustic bass player yourself. It's a book that helps you keep in mind the player as well as the listener.

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    1. by Black Orpheus
      (23 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Jazz Theory and Arranging

      Thanks for that, sax_maniac. I've been looking for a book that tells more using specific instruments. Can anyone recommend a decent jazz theory book, though?

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      1. by BariSaxplyr
        (35 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Jazz Theory and Arranging

        Hey, im a jazz composition student at Berklee COllege of Music, one of the greatst books I've ever bought is Modern Jazz Voicings by Ted Pease and Ken Pullig. Its all about like, the theory behind arranging for 4 five and 6 horns. Also, for larger stuff Berklee Press has some more great books like, Arranging for Big Band and stuff. All their books are great (Berklee Press).

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