MUSIC 3054: Introduction to Vocal-Choral Arranging
Fall 2002--Index #93793--12:20-1:10 MWF--Room 162
Professor John R. Howell

and Schedule

Note: This page has NOT been updated for fall 2002 yet. There will be significant changes.

3054 Home | Syllabus | Projects | Instructor
General Information
Project 5
Project 10
Project 1
Project 6
Project 11
Project 2
Project 7
Final Project
Project 3
Project 8

Project 4
Project 9


Project 1

Assignment: Harmonize a melody in 4-part SATB hymn style, melody in the soprano.

Schedule: Week of August 31; due September 7.

Layout: 4 separate vocal staves using treble, treble, tenor-G, and bass clefs, plus a 2-stave piano part which duplicates the vocal parts

Source: 3054 Mosaic™ Template 1

Specifics: This is a made-up melody that could serve as a hymn or as an alma mater for a school. The melody suggests certain harmonies and allows certain alternate harmonies. Every note of the melody should be harmonized in 4 parts. The end result should be interesting, singable with good voice leading, musically satisfying, and not jazzy, innovative or experimental. (That comes later!) There are no lyrics to worry about for this Project. When you finish the Galley and open the Score, you will see that the piano part has been done for you automatically. Examine the Voices and Staves windows very carefully to see how this was set up in advance. The Score is set up in 18-pt. type, which looks a little unclear on the screen but prints out perfectly for choral scores. All bars are numbered in small (7-pt.) type, and this should be done with all succeeding Projects.

Project 2

Assignment: Harmonize a melody in 3-part triadic folk style ATB, melody in the middle voice.

Schedule: Week of September 7; due September 14

Layout: 3 separate vocal staves for high harmony (treble clef, female voice), lead (tenor G-clef, male voice), and low harmony (bass clef, male voice), plus a 4th line in tenor G-clef for guitar chords. Lyrics are provided for the lead part. Add them to the other two parts using the Lyrics window. (10-pt. Times is an excellent font for lyrics.) If you've never learned how to do lyrics in Mosaic™, it's time to learn!

Source: 3054 Mosaic™ Template 2

Specifics: This is the style most often used for folk, contemporary folk, or country harmonizations. Harmonies are mostly triadic, easy on the 7th chords. The lead voice should not cross above the high harmony, but may cross below the low harmony. The low harmony part is not a bass part or a bass line. The guitar part should not be written out in notes, but should use rhythm slashes (from the Note and Noteheads palettes) and chord symbols (from the Text palette). Guitar chords should be mostly triadic, but may use dominant 7th chords while the voices sing triads.

Project 3

Assignment: Harmonize a melody in tight 4-part 1940s jazz ballad style SATB, melody in the upper voice

Schedule: Week of September 14; due September 21

Layout: 4 separate vocal staves, treble, treble, tenor-G, tenor-G clefs, plus a 5th line in bass clef for chord symbols.

Source: 3054 Masaic™ Template 3

Specifics: In this style there are very few triads. Most melody notes are harmonized as an added 6th, dominant 7th, or dominant 9th chord. If one chord tone is left out in 5-part 9th chords, it is usually the root (which will be in the bass line in any case) or the 5th. The lead line may cross below the 2nd line occasionally if the resulting part-writing is less jumpy as a result. The 4th line is not a bass part, but a low harmony. All chords should be in tight closed position. The chord symbol line serves for all rhythm instruments, and should be notated as the guitar part was in Project 2. Explore the use of passing chords (often diminished 7ths) rather than static harmonies in the voice parts. Then make an arranger's decision whether those passing chords should be indicated in the chord symbol part, or whether that part should have the more fundamental harmonies only.

Project 4

Assignment: Using your arrangement from Project 3, pick any two of these modifications and carry them out, changing clefs as necessary and, for options 3 & 4, transposing the original arrangement up or down to fit the range of the voices specified.

Schedule: Week of September 21; due September 28

Layout: As appropriate for each option.

Source: Your Project 3 arrangement.

Specifics: Start by saving your Project 3 arrangement twice with new names. Then close your Project 3 arrangement and work with the new files. For options 3 & 4, determine the new key in advance by looking at both range and tessiture. Assume singers with reasonably wide ranges.

Project 5

Assignment: Observe the Instructor in the process of transcribing a song from a recording and arranging the original solo with backup for solo and SATB chorus,

Schedule: Week of September 28, Tuesday & Thursday; no assignment is due.

Layout: None.

Source: None.

Specifics: Attendence is required. Pay special attention to the difference between transcription and arrangement, and try to determine which is which at every point during the process. The example selected is complicated by the fact that sections will need to be transposed, changing the key relationships of the original. Take note of what is retained from the original and what is not. Ask questions!!

Project 6

Assignment: Harmonize and arrange a melody in 4-part Barbershop style for male voices, melody in the "lead" or 2nd voice.

Schedule: Week of September 5; due October 12

Layout: In Galley View, 4 lines for the voice parts labeled "Tenor" (tenor G-clef), "Lead" (tenor G-clef), "Baritone" (bass clef), and "Bass" (bass clef). In Score View combine the top 2 voices on one staff and the bottom 2 on another. (This has been done for you in the Template; study the Voices and Staves windows an make sure you understand how this was done, including stems-up and stems-down.

Source: 3054 Masaic™ Template 4

Specifics: In Barbershop style the melody is almost always in the lead voice, the tenor is a high harmony above the lead, the bass is a bass line, and the baritone fills in the missing note to make each note a full 4-part chord. Every melody note and every syllable is harmonized, except for an occasional single-note or extended pickup phrase. A limited number of chord structures are favored: major triads, dominant 7th chords, dominant 9th chords, minor chords, and diminished 7th chords. Added-6th and minor 7th chords are more rare. The tenor usually moves a 3rd or 4th above the lead but may remain static while the lead drops down. The bass is always on the tonic at cadences, but may equally be on the tonic or 5th otherwise; it is seldom on the 3rd and even more seldom on the 7th. The baritone moves in a range similar to the lead, crossing over the lead to fill in the missing chord tones. It may be possible to use a single lyric line, attached to the lead part. Barbershop is an a cappella style.

Project 7

Assignment: Take an SATB arrangement and re-arrange it for either SSA or SAB; amd take an SA arrangement and re-arrange it with added T and B parts.

Schedule: Week of October 12; due October 19

Layout: A blank template is provided with 4 vocal staves set up for SATB and with 2 pages in score view:

Source: 3054 Mosaic™ Template 5, plus music to be provided

Specifics: Most music for school and church choirs is published for SATB, but in any given year you might have few boys or even no boys available. Re-arranging for SSA or SAB is not all that difficult, but you must be able to re-think the chord voicings and re-assign notes from one part to another. You might also have a school or church choir that is a treble choir, but have boys whose voices are going through a change. The ability to add parts for these new tenors or basses allows you to keep using the music while giving them parts suitable for their new voices. Whichever options you choose, rewrite and notate only the voice parts, assuming that the accompaniment will stay as it is.

Project 8

Assignment: Harmonize and arrange a melody in 5-part male Doo-Wop style, the melody in a separate lead voice.

Schedule: Week of October 19; due October 26

Layout: In the Galley View, 5 vocal lines, high harmony (treble or tenor G-clef), lead (tenor G-clef), middle harmony (tenor G-clef), low harmony (tenor-G or bass clef), and bass (bass clef). In the Score View the middle and low harmonies are combined on one staff (and must be in the same clefs). This is set up for you in the Template; study the Voices and Staves windows and be sure you understand how it was done.

Source: 3054 Masaic™ Template 6

Specifics: The melody is in the lead. The high harmony may move with the other harmony parts, or may sometimes move as a countermelody. The middle and low harmony parts are usually harmonic fill. The bass part may be very independent at times with a low countermelody or "tailgate" bass line. Each line must have its own lyric, although the middle and low harmony parts may share a lyric (which should be attached to the low harmony part). Doo-Wop is an a cappella style.

Project 9

Assignment: Harmonize a jazz tune in unison and 2-part voicings, moving smoothly between unison and 2-part, with the 2-part predominantly contrapuntal rather than a "harmonizing" part.

Schedule: Week of October 26; due November 2

Layout: A Template is provided, but you will have to enter both parts because you will be making arranger's decisions as to which part has the melody at any given time. The top part is for women in treble clef, the bottom for men in tenor G-clef. Add a 3rd chord symbol line in bass clef.

Source: 3054 Masaic™ Template 6, plus the melody and chords provided on a lead sheet.

Specifics: Think of the accompanying part as a countermelody, requiring its own lyric and requiring creative adaption of the lyric to fit. The melody may pass from one part to the other, but the movement should always be musically logical and convincing. The accompanying part can often be an answer, sometimes a pre-echo, other times a rising or descending "thumb-note" part, and very occasionally a paralleling part. The chord symbol line serves for the rhythm section.

Project 10

Assignment: Take any one of your previous Projects and compose an extended introduction, an extended ending, and if appropriate an extended transition somewhere within them. Start by saving your previous Project under a new name and work with that new file. Plan very carefully what you intend to do before adding any bars to the score, and add them in the Galley View first.

Schedule: Week of November 2; due November 9

Layout: Determined by the Projects selected.

Source: Students' previous Projects.

Specifics: This is arranging with a taste of composition, or maybe composition with a taste of arranging!

Project 11

Assignment: Take any of your Projects except the Barbershop and Doo-Wop and add to it instrumental "sweetening" (accompanying parts that are not essential, but add to the musical effect of the arrangement).

Schedule: Week of November 9; due November 16

Layout: Your existing chord symbol lines cover the rhythm section. Going through the Voices and Staves windows, create and drag onto the page above the voice parts enough additional staves for your instruments. In Score View you may need to switch from 2 or 3 systems per page to 1 system per page.

Source: Students' existing Projects.

Specifics: Use a separate line for each instrument. Instrumental parts should be properly transposed and in the correct octave and clef, but you may enter them at concert pitch and later transpose them using the symbols in the Staves window if that is easier. Do not simply double the voice parts. Instead, add counterpoint, a chordal "bed," or "fills" between the singers' phrases. This doesn't have to be complicated, but it should sound good and enhance the arrangement. Select one of the following combinations that is appropriate to the arrangement you are "sweetening":

Final Project

Assignment: Select a song you would like to arrange and record; determine the voicing and instrumentation you will use; make a written timeline for the completion of the Project, including a personnel list and specific scheduled times and reserved spaces for rehearsal, recording session, and mixdown session. (Use of New Virginians who are used to working together is recommended, but not required.)

Schedule: Approval of plans in class November 9; individual conferences scheduled November 16-18; arrangements due November 30; rehearsal, recording and mixdown week of December 1-8 (rehearsal and recording must be completed by December 8, but mixdown may be done during Finals Week if necessary); cassette copy of recording due no later than December 16.

Layout: As appropriate to the forces selected.

Source: Student provided.

Specifics: The arrangement is to be complete and self-contained, with introduction, ending, and transitions if appropriate. It should be a vocal-choral arrangement not a solo with backup singers, although solo leadins or phrases are fine. (If you choose doo-wop style, we can talk about it.) The arrangement should be appropriate to the song, not a record copy, but the style may be changed from the original if the result is convincing. The student is expected to conduct rehearsal, direct or sing/direct the recording, and work closely with the recording engineer on the mixdown. Overtracking is quite acceptable, but be aware that it always takes 4 times longer than you think it will. But then so does direct recording to 2-track!

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