by Dana F. Everson
In II Timothy 4:13, Paul asks for the basics; his cloak, his books, and the parchments.
Of course we are not equating music textbooks with the Scriptures, but we see that Paul recognized the importance of reading and of having the right tools for study.
For the arranger/composer, several books come to mind that I would like to suggest for those of you who would like to build or strengthen your library. Please note that this is a select list; there are many other titles that are of at least some help.
Disclaimer: All of the following titles are helpful, but neither David E. Smith Publications nor I necessarily endorse the entire contents of each resource. Also, some titles may be out of print, but available at your library or through used book sellers. Books with an asterisk (*) are the best in each category in my opinion; read them first.,P. Having said that, here are my suggestions along with some brief comments.
BASIC THEORY (With emphasis on harmony)
*Materials and Techniques of Tonal Music--Benjamin/Horvit/Nelson
This book offers a compact, practical course in the study of common practice harmony. It is amazing how many facts are packed into this moderate-sized volume. The chapters are many but quite short and to the point. There are exercises at the end of each chapter and a number of brief, helpful appendices.
Harmonic Materials in Tonal Music--Harder/ Steinke, Two Volumes.
This is a programmed approach to all the essentials of traditional harmony. It is very thorough and moves very logically and gradually.
Music Theory Handbook--Merryman
Here is an excellent survey, in very condensed form, of all you need to know about tonal harmony, counterpoint, and form. It is an inexpensive paperback volume that would make a fine review for those whose theory has become all but a faint memory. It may also serve as a concise introduction, pointing the reader to the major areas of importance both for analysis and for writing.
FORM AND ANALYSIS
Form and Analysis--Hutcheson/Spring
A very insightful volume with many scores and examples in the back for in-depth study. The writers are clear, thorough, and quite practical. One of the best ways to prepare for composition/arranging would be to carefully study this book.
The following three titles complement each other. There is some overlap, but each has its own special value as a reference and teaching source for counterpoint.
This is probably the best standard all-around textbook for 18th century counterpoint. Careful reading is required, but it gives very thorough coverage of every major aspect of counterpoint. A workbook is available.
Basic Contrapuntal Technique --Reed/Harder
Unfortunately, out of print. It is quite basic, but there are a number of principles presented and explained in this book that are unique and very practical.
Counterpoint: Fundamentals of Music Making--Thakar
This book offers a unique perspective; that of the conductor's viewpoint, of species counterpoint. The vocabulary is challenging, but very descriptive and thought-provoking.
*The Technique of Orchestration--Kennan.
This is probably the best all-around text on the subject. Many of the principles given will apply to various types of ensembles, not just full orchestra. It is well organized and quite thorough. A workbook is available.
The Essentials of Instrumentation--Hansen.
A wonderfully clear, concise introduction to the characteristics of instruments, followed by condensed, practical principles of combining them in ensembles. There are some scores included in the back, and some very helpful exercises.
Comprehensive and broad coverage. Some information can be gleaned here which is not easily found elsewhere.
A basic introduction with some "Britishisms" in explanations and approaches. It is a small handy volume with good insights and suggestions especially for the beginning orchestrator.
The Study of Orchestration--Adler.
This is a quite densely-packed volume for the person who wants to know anything and everything about orchestration. There is a CD package available and a workbook.
The Art of Orchestration--Rogers.
A delightfully written text that begins with the analogy of the orchestrator as a tone painter. Some excellent insights and historical connections.
This book lives up to its title and offers some fresh viewpoints (pedagogically) on clarity, balance, blends and colors.
This text may be the best all around study of the subject. It has chapters on texture, writing for younger players, planning the arrangement, as well as a quick survey of instrumentation. If you could only get one title on arranging, this should be the one. There are CDs and a workbook available.
BAND ARRANGING *Scoring for the Band--Lang.
This volume, written in the 1950's is great for getting the basics of band arranging. Although it may be out of print, it is worth finding a copy and reading it carefully. Philip Lang produced many fine arrangements and transcriptions for the concert band repertoire and his ideas are worth considering.
The author starts with the premise that the arranger is most likely going to transcribe from a piano score. In this respect it is very useful and helpful. Out of print.
Arranging for the Concert Band--Erickson.
This would be an excellent book for the novice arranger, and a good refresher for experienced writers. A workbook is available.
CHORAL ARRANGING *Choral Arranging--Ades.
The author begins with a review of part writing. The text has a modulations chart, step by step suggestions for various choral ensembles, and an excellent chapter on planning an arrangement. Many of the principles will transfer to instrumental writing.
Contemporary Choral Arranging--Ostrander/Wilson.
This book is set up differently than Ades' book, and provides some balancing views on approaches to use of the voice.
Out of print, but very much worth reading if only for some colorful descriptions of the principles of vocal/choral arranging.
Dana Everson has over 125 published sacred instrumental arrangements with David E. Smith Publications. Following 22 years as Assistant Professor of Music at Delta College, he moved to Wisconsin in the summer of 1999 to take up teaching duties at Northland Bible College. Everson holds the BME, MM and MSM degrees. He has arranged for the Michigan State University marching and concert bands and spent a summer as a performer in the Disneyland All-American Band.
Doug was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but began his musical training (in the 7th grade) in Bristol, Virginia, under Hamp Richardson, a professional trumpeter with credits in the Lucky Strike Hit Parade Orchestra and other assignments in New York.
Following high school graduation he enrolled at Carson-Newman College. When asked why he chose Carson-Newman, he replied, "I was Baptist through and through, son of a Baptist Pastor, and Carson-Newman was the quality Baptist school closest to my home." It was there that he began his first private study with Calvin Huber.
Smith studied trumpet with John Haynie at North Texas State and Clifford Lillya at the University of Michigan and was an assistant to both.
Doug was privileged to play in the Michigan Symphony Band during the final two years of William Revelli's 36-year tenure as Director of Bands. Doug led brass sectionals of the Symphony Band in addition to his work as a trumpet instructor.
In 1968 Smith won the wind division annual concerto competition and was featured as soloist with the Michigan Symphony Orchestra playing Bloch's "Proclamation." Jesse Norman was the vocal division winner that year. The night of the concert they and the nation were shocked to learn that Martin Luther King, Jr. had just been assassinated in Memphis.
The high school band and church ministry were Smith's windows to the music profession. The band director had heard (and actually played) some of Doug's church arrangements for trumpet trio. That led the director to ask if Doug would be interested in a real life arranging commission (for no money of course).
Smith recounts, "It seems that a predominantly Black high school had asked our band to play at one of its football games. (They had no band of their own.) At halftime they wanted us to play their school song, but couldn't find it scored for band.
"My director told me the situation, found the school song in hymnbook version, and asked me if I would consider scoring it for our marching band. Needless to say there were lots of lessons to be learned--owing to my total lack of theory training--before that could be accomplished. But it was! The rest is history."
Music Theory education began with Prof. Charles Jones (Carson-Newman College), who provided Smith with a wealth of information. Merrill Ellis and Samuel Adler at North Texas State, and Wallace Berry at the University of Michigan all added to that "Jones" basic foundation.
The 61 Trumpet Hymns and Descants are perhaps Smith's best known publications. They are complemented by the 61 Trombone Hymns and Counter-Melodies.
In addition to his teaching, Smith continues to conduct the Seminar Orchestra as well as the Chapel Orchestra which is also known as the "Churchestra".
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