March 14, 2019

I retired from a 30+ year professional playing career 10 months ago to the day. Retire is a funny word because I hardly feel retired. Since before that date, I have been the president of the Denver Musicians Association (Local 20-623 of the American Federation of Music...

September 23, 2018

I might have tried to transcribe something as awesome as the first movement of Mahler's 5th Symphony decades ago - I might have even thought it would have been successful.

The truth is, it takes years of experience learning from successes and, more importantly, failures...

March 18, 2018

A while back, I wrote an entry called 4 Dimensional Texture where I identified 4 basic ways to group instruments in a large ensemble.

March 9, 2018

I usually have three or four arranging projects on the front burners and many more unfinished projects in my "work in progress" file.

Maybe because last summer I had just told the world that I don't like to transcribe orchestral music, thus suggesting to myself that I c...

December 5, 2017

However, in my brass ensemble writing, I'll write passages for a grouping of trumpets when the music calls for it, and/or as a contrast in color or density in a score. Likewise, a trombone trio or quartet passage embedded within an arrangement can add variety or in...

December 3, 2017

Recently, I've undertaken some large engraving projects - I'm making clean versions of the Tchaikovsky ballets. This may seem a little silly at first, but having spent a good deal of my playing career in the pit, I grew frustrated with looking at music that was publish...

November 9, 2017

I wrote something yesterday that was confusing even to me when I read it again today. Mea culpa.

The offending sentence was: Wright notes that Sammy “Nestico avoids doubling the bass voice inside the harmony in the next octave above the normal bass range."

Context is imp...

September 24, 2017

The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book comprises nearly 300 works composed for keyboard by notable English court composers from the time of Queen Elizabeth. William Byrd, Giles Farnaby, John Bull, Orlando Gibbons, Thomas Tomkins, to name a few, all contributed to the collection...

September 15, 2017

Too soon?

I'm having too much fun with these titles.

I promised to talk about the decision to transpose this movement of Robert Schumann's Romance Opus 94 No 1 from A minor to G minor. There's nothing inherently scary about writing in A minor for brass ensemble, and it s...

September 14, 2017

One of the things I appreciated about teaching was that I learned things about my own playing by observing and articulating ideas to students. Teaching made my own playing better.

I'm discovering the same benefit here, By describing the decision making behind choices I'...

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