NEWSLETTER of DAVID E. SMITH PUBLICATIONS, LLC
VOL 1, NO. 2, NOVEMBER 1, 1999
(c) 1999 Copyright of David E. Smith Publications
All Rights Reserved. Made in U.S.A.
Table of Contents
Hymns For Multiple Instruments- A Concept That Works!
The Lone Arrangers's Space
Meet George E. Strombeck
The first issue of "Lines and Spaces" has met with great success and positive comments are coming in continually. We have heard from:
David E. Smith
My thanks to our editor who has done such a fine job of coordinating the materials that make up these informative issues and to the associate editors for their contributions.
- School directors who have found the pedagogical content a helpful reference tool for solving very specific playing problems of their students;
- Church directors who have asked for reprint permission for their church bulletins; and,
- Private teachers as well as college personnel who have passed along copies to their students. This great beginning is exciting as we find new ways for the creative talents of our writers to pass along their insights to the diverse patron base we have been privileged to establish.
This issue features some of our most versatile product lines which we believe have the potential to solve the performance, instructional and liturgical needs of many.
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Preach Christ Always and as a last resort use words. St. Francis of Assisi
HYMNS FOR MULTIPLE INSTRUMENTS- A CONCEPT THAT WORKS!
By George Strombeck
Questions like this have been asked of David Smith ever since he began his publication business. It was obvious that a format was needed to accommodate any size ensemble regardless of instrumentation, and still sound good! The regular published band or orchestra arrangements were just not practical for many Christian schools and churches. A few years ago David challenged me to find a solution.
My response has resulted in the series HYMNS FOR MULTIPLE INSTRUMENTS. Since more than 10,000 of these booklets have been sold, apparently the concept is working! Here is how we developed the series.
As all musicians know, a triad (chord) consists of three tones. When each of these tones is played by various instruments at all times, a full chord is heard. In addition to the melody line, a good instrumental arrangement can have an "obligato" line (high-pitched instruments), and/or a countermelody line (low- pitched instruments). Obviously one instrument needs to play the melody (using one of the triad tones). It seemed to me that if the second tone is played by the obligato line, and the third tone of the triad is played by the countermelody, a full chord would be present. The obligato and countermelody lines do NOT use the same rhythm as the melody, but each develops individual motives, carefully crafted to insure that the full (vertical) harmony is always present. The addition of other instruments playing the standard alto, tenor and bass parts would enhance the overall sound.
Using this concept, we produced twelve arrangements with a book for each instrument, including flute (advanced violin), oboe (violin), clarinet, alto sax (Eb horn), trumpet-cornet, French horn, baritone TC. (tenor sax), trombone (baritone BC, bassoon, cello) and bass-tuba (string bass).
Each of the arrangements has three staves, including the melody on the top staff, a harmony part appropriate to the range of the instrument on the second staff, and either an obligato part (for higher-pitched instruments) or a counter- melody line (for lower pitched instruments) on the third staff.
A separate book is also published for percussion, including the bells part on the top staff, snare and bass drums on the second staff, and the tympani part on the bottom staff.
In addition, a separate book is available to accommodate other instruments not included above. It contains the viola part (tenor line) on top staff, bass clarinet on second staff and baritone sax on the third staff (both bass parts). A conductor-piano book is also published to show all parts, with the obligato line above, and the countermelody line below the traditional four part harmony.
Each arrangement has a written introduction using a different, but related song to the main song (for example, "Amazing Grace" begins with a phrase from "Grace That Is Greater Than All Our Sin"). For those wanting a more traditional introduction, a star indicates where to begin (usually 4 measures from the end of the song). All arrangements have an optional "coda" ending, for a more "instrumental" sounding arrangement.
It is the director's responsibility to assign the instrumentalists to the part each should play. The melody and harmony parts are easier to play than the obligato or counter- melody parts. It is also possible to change the sound of the arrangement by having lower pitched instruments play the melody, with other instruments on the alto or obligato lines. The creative use is up to the director!
There are currently two books available. The first book (red cover) contains familiar hymns used by most churches, while the second book (green cover) contains all Christmas carols, arranged in the order of the Nativity. A separate Narration book is also available with this series, using appropriate scripture to relate the Christmas story. More books are planned. If you work with a group of assorted instruments with a wide range of performance levels, the series HYMNS FOR MULTIPLE INSTRUMENTS will meet your needs! Consult the David E. Smith Catalog for more detailed information.
Link to the Catalog section of "Hymns For Multiple Instruments"
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THE LONE ARRANGER'S SPACE
By Dana F. Everson
SEVEN UNIVERSAL PRINCIPLES OF MUSIC Whether you enjoy arranging or composing music, performing or teaching, or simply listening, understanding the following areas of music will increase your creativity and appreciation. As simple as these may seem, we are never too advanced to go back to fundamentals for review and often for fresh insights. Consider the following definitions and descrip- tions the next time you examine or perform a selection:
1) BACKGROUND--"The historical context." Who wrote it? When? Where? How does it reflect the culture of it's time?
2) MELODY--"The horizontal arrangement of pitches; the spirit of the music." What character does the main theme take? What are some of the rises and falls, points of tension and relaxation, activity and repose? If there are words, especially in sacred music, does the melody match and enhance them, or distract? Where are the phrases and places of "breathing" in the music? How should I shape these phrases? Generally, the melody conveys the most important message of a composition.
3) HARMONY--"The vertical arrangement of pitches; the intellectual element." What is the key/tonality? How do the chords create tension/relaxation?
4) FORM--"The plan or design of a composition; suggests the will and choices of the composer; it often is the most subtle of the elements in reflecting the philosophy and thinking of the composer." Ask questions of music in a way similar to grammatical analysis...for ex- ample: Where do the musical sentences begin and end? Do some end more definitely than others? How does each sentence fit into the overall plan of the piece? What is the basic texture and how does it change during the piece?
5) COLOR--"The timbre or tone quality of a sound; often, it reflects the emotional elements." Ask: what instruments are being used? How are the dynamics, articulations, and any special effects used to help promote and support the main message of the selection?
6) RHYTHM--"The pulse and divisions of pulse; the element that suggests physical activity." Con- sider the meter, the tempo, the accents, and the patterns; again, how are each of these used to draw out and support the melody?
7) PURPOSE--"The philosophy and intention of the composer." What is the purpose of the composer? Don't neglect to ask this question! Major interpretative errors are made when a performer ignores the known purpose of the composer or arranger.
So here they are, simple and few, but if you will consciously consider the WHO/WHEN/WHERE, (BACK- GROUND) the WHAT/HOW, (Structures of MELODY, HARMONY, FORM, COLOR, RHYTHM) and the WHY (PURPOSE) questions, you will hear and see new insights in the music before you. This is the initial requirement for becoming a better musician whether listening, performing, or writing.
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THE DEATH-DEALING SIN, THE LIFE-GIVING GIFT!
By Harlow E. Hopkins
Yet the rescuing GIFT is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man's sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God's GIFT poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There's no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving GIFT. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man's wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-GIFT, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides?
Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.
All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the MESSIAH, invites us into life--a life that goes on and on and on, world without end."
(Translation by Eugene Peterson of Romans 5:12-21 as found in THE MESSAGE, published by NavPress, 1993)(Caps inserted by the editor.)
May your soul know great joy during the Advent Season because your faith has grasped anew the significance of God's GIFT.
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Part II -- Last time I mentioned that the components of brass tone include oral cavity (producing openness of sound), embouchure and respiration. I focused on oral cavity then. I want to continue with the other two components in what follows. Embouchure: Produces Frequency of Pitch -- At the outset, I want to say that embouchure is WAY over-rated. There is much too much talk about it by brass players and too much concern about it. Most often, the embouchure simply reveals problems with oral cavity or use of air. The lips basically respond to the way the air moves across them, assuming they are developed and are physically all right. The thickness of the lips and the placement of the mouthpiece on the lips varies some from player to player, and very fine players display a wide variety of appearances. The mouthpiece should be generally centered but may be off to one side some depending on the teeth and jaw structures. If the overbite is not corrected, the embouchure may not work as efficiently, so correcting overbites is important to optimal embouchure function.
By Phil Norris
Everything inside the mouthpiece should buzz. Incomplete (or too small) buzz results in reduced resonance which is heard as a tight, thin, or pinched sound. These are also causes of extreme sharping of pitch, requiring the player to pull tuning slides a great amount. When tuning slides are pulled more than they were designed to be pulled, the acoustics of the instrument are thrown off and intonation of the instrument is thrown off even more. The buzz of the player is a result of proper oral cavity setting and blowing. It is not usually the cause of poor tone unless the lip is overly tight or tense.
Pitch changes with lip tension just as it changes with string length in string instruments (shorter/tighter = higher and vice versa). The embouchure should never be stabilized, but should always be flexible and changing. Lip tensions should be controlled from the CORNERS of the mouth. The basic formation of the mouth for brass embouchures should be like saying "m" or "p" (puckered). The corners should generally turn downward as pitch ascends. This will look differently from one player to another, but the direction of the corners should be downward (frowning is a good model for lip motion for ascending playing). The most difficult adjustment for brass players occurs when playing low notes after playing high ones (loosening after tightening). Players may have to initially think very consciously of the loosening process.
For high register playing, make a firmer pucker and increase the air speed. The normal tendency is to use more mouthpiece pressure. Instead, blow the lips out, gripping the mouthpiece, moving the lips toward the mouthpiece rather than pulling the mouthpiece into the face harder. At the same time, increase the air flow. I like to say, "Pucker and Blow." Keep it simple.
Respiration: Produces Resonance
Use quantitative breath; avoid pressurized breath. For inhalation, SUCK AIR AT THE LIPS (the model of a yawn or sigh is good). For exhalation, WASTE AIR, more slowly for soft playing, more quantitatively for loud. Let the sound determine the blowing, not the other way around. The sound should always be full AND clear (or buzzy, vibrating, or ringing). Increase quantity as the register gets higher and as the note speed increases (blow more when ascending OR when notes are faster rhythmically).
In physics, loudness or volume is in proportion to quantity. For soft volumes, blow more slowly but full; for loud, waste the air in greater quantities (like gushing it) without pushing or over-pressurizing. This approach will give good results in both tone and pitch. The challenge is playing softly in high registers. There is a limit to how softly one can play up high, but with a developed embouchure, one can keep the air full but move it more slowly which will result in a softer volume. No matter what dynamic, the air must FLOW. To squeeze or over-pressurize the breath will adversely affect tone and pitch. The lips will respond to over-pressurization of air by over-tightening. The result will be a thin, pinched, out-of-tune (sharp) sound.
If you can read anything by or about Arnold Jacobs' approach to playing ("song and wind"), his thoughts are something to digest and use. He would say, "First think beautiful musical thoughts to motivate the playing; then use free-flowing breath to 'sing' the music through the physical process of body and instrument." Use the desired product as the focus for playing; don't focus as much on the physical process of making the sounds.
In the articles to follow I will talk a little about equipment, hand positions, tonguing, slurring, vibrato, and more about high register playing.
Phil Norris resides in Minneapolis Minnesota. He is an Associate Professor of Music at Northwestern College where he teaches and actively performs on trumpet. This past spring he completed a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Minnesota. Phil is a former president of the Christian Instrumentalists and Directors Association and continues to compile and edit the CIDA's Sacred List of Instrumental Music.
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MEET GEORGE STROMBECK
When George asked his mother to rent a clarinet so he could play in the 5th grade band he soon found that he really enjoyed playing.
However, he soon discovered that the baritone horn frequently had wonderful countermelody parts and when the teacher observed how quickly George learned the baritone, he suggested he should learn the bassoon, which he did during study hall so he could play in the orchestra.
In high school he began playing first trumpet in a brass quartet associated with the local Youth For Christ Rally and he wrote several sacred arrangements for the 2 trumpets and 2 trombones. The following spring they entered and won the national Youth For Christ music competition. One of the judges was Ralph Carmichael, who was impressed with George's arrangements and told him, "Christian instrumental music could use your style of arrangements, but be sure you always do your creativity unto the Lord!" Over the years George has never forgotten that comment.
He attended the University of Iowa on a bassoon scholarship but also signed up to play in the Hawkeye Marching Band. When he learned there was a shortage of tubas he volunteered to play that instrument and was fortunate enough, when the Hawkeyes won the Big Ten championship to play in the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl the next New Year's Day.
In his senior year he was given the opportunity to arrange all of the marching band music for the half-time show of the Ohio State game, which was also shown on national television. George majored in Music Education and graduated in 1961.
His first teaching position took him to the rural community of Solon, Iowa. He was informed that the entire community would turn out for the school Christmas concert. He arranged a special band piece for the occasion--"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!" now available from David E. Smith Publications.
During the summer of 1963 he and his new bride Dorothy, were invited to travel to Sweden with the Rockford, IL Salvation Army Corps Band. That trip had a profound affect on George, as he observed the use of instrumental music to present a gospel message.
The Master of Musical Arts degree was taken at the University of Illinois. Once again he had the opportunity to make a trip Pasadena on New Years Day. He then returned to his hometown of Moline, where he taught junior high band for 3 years and also became very involved with music at the church where he had grown up, writing many special arrangements for instrumental groups. His first son, Peter, was born while they lived in Moline. His family then moved to Evanston, IL where he entered the Ph.D. program at Northwestern University, studying with John Paynter.
The following spring he accepted an offer from Trinity College, Deerfield, Illinois, to become Director Of Instrumental Music where he served for 15 years. During his first year at Trinity a second son James (Jamie) was born.
While at Trinity George developed a concept of church band concerts performing "all-sacred" programs based on a biblical theme. He wrote 45 band arrangements over the years, with the distinctive "Strombecized sound" (as his students called it!). Other directors expressed a desire to use them for their own programs and in 1981 he took a year's leave and developed "Strombeck Music Publications."
Eventually he met David E. Smith who asked many questions about George's publications. Their friendship continued, and when they met again in 1987 an agreement was reached whereby David E. Smith Publications would market all of Strombeck's arrangements.
Since 1993 George has worked part-time teaching music classes to home schooled students, and currently directs the "CHAMPS Band (Christian Homeschool Arts and Music Programs).
For the past 4 years he has also directed the Christian Fellowship Band of Chicago, and adult Christian concert band with a 35-year history, performing sacred concerts at Chicago area churches. Besides his heavy music involvement, George also enjoys trains, and is very active in the 20th Century Railroad Club of Chicago.
His continuing dedication of life and talent to the Lord and instrumental music prompt him to continue serving as Executive Director of the Christian Instrumentalists and Directors Association (CIDA), a group he helped to found in 1981. He hopes to continue writing more instrumental arrangements for God's glory, for many years to come!
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DRAW ME A PICTURE, PLEASE!
As professional musicians and music educators we all need more time. One way to save a significant amount of time in our own performing and in rehearsals we conduct is to have a system for marking music. This system should be concise, user-friendly and easily taught to our students.
By Jay-Martin Pinner
Some marks are universally used by musicians, but more indications should be added to our musical vocabulary to save time for ourselves and for our students. It amazes me to see what amateur and professional players mark or do not mark in their music. I have spent hours with a draftsman's electric eraser removing from orchestral music everything from multiple layers of unreadable bowings, to enlightened comments such as "slow down here, stupid...," to extended paragraphs of useless information. What a waste of time! A basic chart of time-saving editing marks especially useful for string music follows. I submit these ideas with the hope that every musician will adopt some system of editing, use it personally and teach it.
1. Write slurs as close to noteheads as possible. Cross out unused slur markings
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2. Write fingerings as close to noteheads, as possible. Cross out unused fingerings completely.
3. Write bowing indications as close to noteheads as possible. Avoid using unnecessary indications.
4. Indicate ascending and descending shifts with straight lines when the shift is not to be sounded.
5. Indicate ascending and descending shifts with squiggle lines when the shift is to be sounded. (portamento)
6. Write a caret indication for a half-step or another close finger combination such as the tritone interval.
7. Place a bracket indication for an interval covered with the same finger such as the interval of a fifth.
8. Place parentheses around a problem accidental that is already in the key signature.
9. Indicate a "mental crescendo" with a squiggle line. This is especially helpful when energizing long pitches.
10. Indicate a bow-lift, a luftpause or "breath" as a comma.
11. Indicate emphasis on a pitch with a dash near the notehead.
12. Indicate an accelerando
or a ritard with a squiggly arrow.
13. Indicate a poco accelerando
or a poco ritard
with a dashed arrow. 14. Write simile to indicate a bowing or style that is to continue after the bowing or style has been set. 15. Write "V.S." (volti subito) to indicate a swift page turn. 16. Write eyeglasses
to indicate an unusual need to watch the conductor. 17. Write
to indicate con sordino or
to indicate senza sordino. 18. Indicate staggered bowings with parentheses.
19. Write angled slashes above difficult rhythms with longer slashes indicating beats.
20. Indicate cuts in blue or red pencil from the end of one measure to the beginning of another. Lengthy cuts can be covered with paper and pieces of removeable tape. Removeable tabs are useful for quick page turns. Self-stick memo paper helps identify cuts that would otherwise be difficult to mark.
21. WRITE BOWINGS, FINGERINGS, AND OTHER GENERAL NOTATIONS WITH A SOFT-LEAD PENCIL ONLY. Correction fluid, pen and other permanent marks should only be used to correct parts with wrong notation. Students should not make permanent marks without permission from a teacher or conductor.
Jay-Martin Pinner is Head of the String Department and coordinator of the Precollege Orchestra Program at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. He has been a member of the Bob Jones University Symphony Orchestra for 28 years, and has appeared with that orchestra as concertmaster, soloist, principal violist, principal bassist and conductor.
REWRITING PERCUSSION PARTS TO FIT YOUR SECTION Percussion music is written for a wide variety of number of players. Unlike most other instruments, which have a specific number of parts depending upon the type of group (concert band, jazz band, etc.), percussion parts are frequently written for two players, three players, four players, five players or even more. This is due mostly to the fact that there is such a wide variety of different instruments that can be used in almost any combination. This can result in a common problem that arises from time to time, i.e., many percussion sections do not have the proper number of players to match the number of parts an arrangement has.
By Billy Madison
If there are more players than there are parts the solution is easy--double some of the parts. When there are more parts than players the solution is not always so simple. It may become necessary to rewrite the parts so they can be played by the number of players available in the section. Sometimes this can be accomplished by simply determining which of the parts are of least importance and deleting those parts as long as it does not compromised the integrity of the piece. However, this is not usually the case. At times two or more parts can be converted into a single part to be played by one person.
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The above two parts are rewritten as a single part below:
Whatever the limitations of your percussion section they can be overcome by taking the time to examine the problems and apply a logical solution like the one suggested here. With a bit of creativity a percussion section can play many works that may have more parts than the section has players. Just use some common sense when combining parts so that the new part is playable by a single individual.
Billy Madison holds the BME (Instrumental Music), the MM (Music Theory and Composition) and the SCCT in music. All three degrees were taken at Arkansas State University. He has studied composition with Jared Spears and Tom O'Connor. Since 1978 Madison has with a percussionist with the Northeast Arkansas Symphony Orchestra and has taught instrumental music in the Arkansas Public Schools for fifteen years. He currently resides in Newport, Arkansas.
BASIC HAND POSITION -- Part I How often teachers wish that students had not acquired bad habits in the beginning stages of learning to play an instrument! One of the several bad habits has to do with poor and/or incorrect hand position.
By Harlow E. Hopkins
The concept of "curved fingers" is foreign to many young players. I ask them to let their arms hang loosely, beside the body in totally relaxed fashion. Invariably the fingers are slightly curved. THAT is the position which I then ask them to bring to the instrument.
Altogether too often one can see stick-straight fingers that are locked in place. Often one sees fingers in a concave position at the middle joint. Double joints may be the cause. In either case there is undue tension and poor technical facility as a result.
Quite often students appear to be surprised when this subject is raised. They seem to be completely unaware that they have a problem.
Usually, when asked to place their relaxed hands on a flat surface and "drum" their fingers, they maintain the curved position. It can then be pointed out that in playing their instrument all the movement should come from the joint closest to the hand. It is as if the finger is welded into the curved position and moves as one unit from the joint where it is connected to the hand.
There are modifications which must be made of course depending on the instrument. The left hand position of the flutist is altered for example. The fingers of the right hand of the bassoonist, depending on their length, may need to be nearly straight. In general, however, curved fingers produce the best results.
Finally, check out the length of the student's fingers before starting him on an instrument!
Harlow Hopkins holds degrees from Olivet Nazarene University, American Conservatory of Music (Chica- go), and a D.Mus. from Indiana University, Bloomington. His teach- ing career took place at Olivet Nazarene University where he spent 42 years and conducted ONU Bands for 39 years. He retired in 1996 and continues to play clarinet, co-conduct a New Horizons Band and edit newsletters.
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MARITAL SHARING A young man saw an elderly couple sitting down to lunch at a McDonald's. He noticed that they had ordered just one meal, along with an extra drink cup. The older gentleman carefully divided the hamburger in half, then counted out the fries, one for him, one for her, until each had half. Then the old man poured half of the soft drink into the extra cup and gave it to his wife.
Thinking they couldn't afford it, the young man asked if they would allow him to purchase another meal so they wouldn't have to split theirs. The old gentleman said, "Oh, no. We've been married 50 years, and everything has always been shared." The young man then asked the wife if she was going to eat, and she replied, "not yet. It's his turn with the teeth."
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Preach Christ Always and as a last resort use words. St. Francis of Assisi
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"You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we're in--first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn't sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it. "Our church orchestra has 2 violins, a viola, a flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax, two trumpets, a trombone and a drum set. Do you have any music we can play?" |