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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #1
SOTW Buddies,

I'm starting to work on a series of charts for 5 horns. If you play in a 5-horn band, please let me know the instrumentation of your group. I suspect that the most common configuration is trumpet, alto, tenor, trombone, and bari. But, I'd like a reality check on what's out there.

Thanks, Roger
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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I filled in with a Salsa group in MA a few weeks ago on Congas. They had alto, trumpet, and three trombones! Sounded sweet.

I joined them on tenor later in the evening as their regular conguero made it for the third set. I just doubled the trumpet parts. You wouldn't have known they aren't a full time band. They just get together with whoever is available when they get a booking for a large group. Great huge sound.
 

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sorry alto....2 trumpets,tenor,bone,bari
 

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That's what my last 5-horn band was although the alto and tenor books had some soprano and the bari book was tenor/bari. I was on the tenor/bari book for quite a while and I think it would have been better if it was just always bari although I enjoyed my tenor parts and the solos.
-Barry
 

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bari makes ALL the difference!!
 

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Does it have to be only 5 horns?
My large group has:

-Trumpet 1
-Trumpet 2
-Tenor Sax (doubling on Bass Sax)
-French Horn (doubling on Bari Sax & Guitar...that's me!)
-Trombone 1
-Trombone 2
-Tuba
 

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I currently play in a small group with Alto, Tenor, Bari, Trumpet, T-bone most of the time (saxes switch off a bit to doubles and other saxes).

Most of our charts are actually written for Alto, Tenor, Bari, 2xTrumpets, and T-bone, so I would say that's a "more standard" arrangement.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
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Discussion Starter #8
Palomorado,

That's a fantastic instrumentation you have in your band.

Here's my delimma: I'm burned out on big bands. I found that I'm much happier writing for a mid-size ensemble with one horn on a line. This allows me to be more linear. Also, if the band has players who have a good number of doubles, my writing can be even more creative than if I'm writing for a conventional big band. I've written things for 5, 6, and 7 horns in mid-size groups. I've found that I can pretty much do whatever I want with 5 horns and rhythm.

Another reason why I'm thinking of 5 horns is I've written several jazz pieces this year for woodwind quintet (with rhythm section) and I'm really attracted to the woodwind quintet. I also like to write for more conventional horn sections.

It occurred to me recently to extend my concepts and write for 5 horns using concert pitch scores and unspecified instruments. Then, I'll write parts for each line drawing from a pool of trumpet, alto, tenor, bari, french horn, trombone, tuba, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and bass clarinet. In this way, the chart can be performed by a wide range of ensembles. For example: a jazz horn section, brass quintet, woodwind quintet, or a custom mix of tone colors. It could even be possible to have a double quintet with a conventional horn section and a woodwind quintet.

This concept will give the scores a considerable amount of flexibility. I've become burned out on writing things for a particular instrumentation and then have ensembles tell me that they don't have the players for such-and-such instrument(s).

Roger
 
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