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Arranging for concertina quartet


SteveS
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I'm in the process of trying my hand at arranging for a concertina quartet - my first such arrangement. 

 

I have a couple of piano scores that I'm working from as inspiration.  The parts I'm arranging for are Treble 1, Treble 2, Baritone and Bass.  Being transposing instruments the grand stave is arranged as 4 treble staves.

 

Any tips on arranging for a quartet?

 

Thanks

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Just a technical tip about Musescore and the concertina sound font.

 

I was going to advise you to use a separate stave for each instrument rather than have multiple parts on one or two staves.  I see that you plan to do that anyway, but my reason for recommending that is that you can then more easily control the volume level of each instrument when you playback your score.  

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28 minutes ago, Don Taylor said:

Just a technical tip about Musescore and the concertina sound font.

 

I was going to advise you to use a separate stave for each instrument rather than have multiple parts on one or two staves.  I see that you plan to do that anyway, but my reason for recommending that is that you can then more easily control the volume level of each instrument when you playback your score.  

I've been able to configure each stave with the relevant note range of each instrument, and the sound font I'm currently using plays those notes back at the right pitch.  But using strings for example, the final product with concertina is difficult to gauge - so I'm also looking for reasonably quality concertina sound fonts.  (MIDI free reed sounds are pants.)

 

Yes much easier to arrange as 4 separate treble staves since the fingering for each concertina in the arrangement is the same being transposing instruments.

 

So far, I've got most of Treble 1 arranged, which will undoubtedly change as things evolve,  I'm now working on the bass line since this must underpin the whole rhythmic side of things.

 

I'm not sure if this is the right approach.  I'll see if it works for me.

 

I also don't want each part to be too difficult to play.

Edited by SteveS
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Hell SteveS.  I think you are making your project harder by referring to the 4 concertinas as "transposing instruments", which clearly they are not.

Think of your simple piano score - four note chord on two hands.  They are just playing different notes on the same 'ladder'.  You would not refer to the bass note as being transposed, it's just playing lower down - on a different rung.  Similarly a bass concertina is not a transposing instrument, just on the same ladder but lower down; assuming that the four  concertinas are all tuned to the same reference point,e.g. A=440, as would be the four notes on the piano).

When writing the bass clef notes into the treble clef, a C still remains a C, but has a different position on the stave.  When it's then played on a bass instrument, it's sounded as originally intended.

 

Hope all goes well with your arrangement(s).

Les Branchett

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1 hour ago, conband said:

Hell SteveS.  I think you are making your project harder by referring to the 4 concertinas as "transposing instruments", which clearly they are not.

Think of your simple piano score - four note chord on two hands.  They are just playing different notes on the same 'ladder'.  You would not refer to the bass note as being transposed, it's just playing lower down - on a different rung.  Similarly a bass concertina is not a transposing instrument, just on the same ladder but lower down; assuming that the four  concertinas are all tuned to the same reference point,e.g. A=440, as would be the four notes on the piano).

When writing the bass clef notes into the treble clef, a C still remains a C, but has a different position on the stave.  When it's then played on a bass instrument, it's sounded as originally intended.

 

Hope all goes well with your arrangement(s).

Les Branchett

Thanks for the reply - very much appreciated.  

 

Whilst your suggestion is good and is correct for arranging for say strings, I believe that concertina arrangements were historically all written on the treble clef - then only the treble clef would need to mastered by band members, and anyone playing treble, baritone or bass range instruments in a concertina band could theoretically play any of the parts without having to learn the viola and bass clefs.  This is because on band instruments, the middle C on the treble clef and treble concertina, then that position will be occupied on a baritone by C one octave lower than the treble, and a bass 2 octaves lower. 

I would appreciate comments as to whether bands did in fact write all arrangements on the treble stave, irrespective of the instrument range.  This  is what I was told many years ago - and I feel would make a lot of sense from a band perspective.

Edited by SteveS
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Yes, band arrangements were, and still are, mostly written on the treble stave.  So think of your quartet as a small band, and then it all falls into place.  As you say, baritones will sound one octave and basses two octaves lower than written, not because they are transposing, but because they are lower sounding instruments to start with.  As per the strings on a piano.

 

Les

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If you are still planning to use Musescore and the concertina sound font then you can do this so that your players only need to be able to read the treble clef:

Clipboard01.jpg.e8e2fd67b9efcd398d4c762cd4678bd0.jpg

This will play correctly in Musescore.  Note the use of the two clefs with subscripts - you can find them in the advanced palette.

 

By simply changing the clefs, you can get this style, still sounding the same notes on playback:

Clipboard02.jpg.89cdbf66d9f6356d648d73abc311936e.jpg

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2 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

If you are still planning to use Musescore and the concertina sound font then you can do this so that your players only need to be able to read the treble clef:

Clipboard01.jpg.e8e2fd67b9efcd398d4c762cd4678bd0.jpg

This will play correctly in Musescore.  Note the use of the two clefs with subscripts - you can find them in the advanced palette.

 

Thanks Don, this is exactly what I'm doing.


image.png.051eac6b2f2cb8002f2e7a05fb25ce89.png

Edited by SteveS
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