Section » Chart Doctor

Conduct Yourself Accordingly, Part 5: Who’s In Charge Here?

The art and craft of studio conducting may not be dying, but it sure isn’t feeling very well. Of all the cast of characters in the recording process, the conductor is the one which inspires the least automatic respect, and deservedly so. With the advent of random-access digital recording, which is almost always pegged to […]

More Articles

To Orchestrate Or Not To Orchestrate: What Is The Question?

May 6, 2008

A recent thread in Film Music Magazine’s orchestration forum involved a question on the best way to approach orchestrating a piano piece. The conventional advice usually involves trying to accommodate and emulate all the “pianistic” elements by other instruments. Essentially, that’s re-copying, however inspired the effort. True, inspired orchestration, however, must dig far deeper. Unless […]

Anatomy Of An Arrangement Part 5: Another Intro, and Finishing Touches

April 29, 2008

For the past several weeks we have examined the steps in accepting a gig arranging 3 tracks on a CD, organizing the necessary melodic, harmonic, and orchestrational assets, planning the form, and creating one of the intros. This week, we will look at another of the needed intros and at wrapping up and delivering the […]

Anatomy Of An Arrangement Part 4: … And Then Work Your Plan

April 22, 2008

If you’ve followed along for the past few weeks, you’ve had a general look over my shoulder as I received and negotiated a work call for some arrangements, organized the musical assets from which to draw musically, and planned the basic forms and road maps to follow when crafting the arrangements. I know the sexy […]

Anatomy Of An Arrangement Part 3: Plan Your Work, And Then…

April 15, 2008

In our two previous discussions, we tackled taking the work call most effectively and progressed to organizing our compositional assets so that we could hit the ground running when it came time to innovate. This week we look at developing the road map for the whole shebang, still leaving most of the intimate details for […]

Anatomy Of An Arrangement Part 2: Getting Started By Getting Organized

April 7, 2008

Ron Hess takes a detailed look at how to prepare for arranging jobs.

Anatomy Of An Arrangement Part 1: Taking The Call

April 1, 2008

I was recently asked by a friend and colleague of over 10 years’ standing to arrange 3 Latin standards for his next instrumental solo CD. It occurred to me that it might prove interesting for you to follow along, not with the construction of the actual notes, but rather with the strategy for systematically and […]

Score No-No’s, Episode 3

March 25, 2008

I’ve been asked on occasion from what sources I derive my column fodder. Some is the result of reader inquiry (keep it up; I can’t always intuit what you need…). Some is from polling my colleagues, and some is simply the result of going through my musical life with my eyes (and my interest) open. […]

Music Prep Strategies, Part 4: Words Ain’t Cheap

March 18, 2008

As a practical matter of music notation, graphic symbols work better than words, hands down. Actually words are symbols too, but they are constructed of building blocks of letters and punctuation that can result in very close to a million viable combinations in English alone. Thankfully, our musical language is much more finite, making its […]

Conduct Yourself Accordingly, Part 4: Last-Minute Podium Strategy

March 11, 2008

Consider the following scenario: You’re attending a friend’s scoring session and, while contentedly lounging in the booth with a cup of coffee, a call comes in from the session conductor that some emergency will prevent his arrival. Your friend turns to you and asks you to sub for him. What do you do? Thanks for […]