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Understanding musical scores
Understanding musical scores

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3.3.1 Big band timbres and textures

In the previous section, you listened to part of Fletcher Henderson’s arrangement for Benny Goodman of Irving Berlin’s Blue Skies, where the saxophones, trumpets and trombones were playing in block chords over the rhythm section.

In the next part of the piece, Henderson separates the brass (trumpets and trombones), who continue with the melody in block chords, from the saxophones, who have something different to play, also in block chords. Henderson demonstrated this in a radio broadcast from 1938.

Figure 7

Finally, on this same broadcast, the band demonstrated the introduction to the number, which Henderson says represents a storm. For this part of the arrangement, the saxophone section swap to clarinets to create a different timbre.

Figure 8

Listen to the broadcast now and follow Henderson’s demonstration.

Download this audio clip.Audio player: fletcherhenderson.mp3
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