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Hey! I would like some help on arranging for a sax quartet, how do you do it??!
I would like to arrange some music like the walace and grommit theme, or the simpsons theme. Also I was wondering if you could arrange sax quartet music by using piano music?
 

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I suggest you read the relevant chapters in a book on orchestration, it is definitely a skill worth learning. There are many, one I like is: Instrumentation/Orchestration by Alfred Blatter.

One thing to look for with piano music is the sustain pedal. Often pianists sustain a chord with the pedal, or play an arpeggio with the sustain pedal down so that it becomes a sustained chord. Obviously with saxophones these notes would have to be written as long notes.
 

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I have done many arrangements for our sax quartet by searching for and downloading midi files from the internet and opening them in Finale Print Music. Finale will display the file in sheet music format. Then I simply transpose the crucial parts for the saxes and and I have my sax quartet score. Quite simple, actually.
 

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I always tell my students advice that I heard Bob Mintzer give several years back:

Get an idea, get some music paper, and get a pencil. Start pushing the pencil.

In other words, just jump in and start arranging, following your nose. As suggested above, you can start from a MIDI piano file, you can look in an orchestration book, etc... all of that advice is excellent, and you'll probably find yourself doing that sort of hunting as you write.

I've been writing for 20 years, and I still refer to scores, a couple trusted arranging books, and recordings. And I ask questions of other writers, when the opportunity presents itself. It's an ongoing learning process.

If you're curious, you can download some of my sax quartet scores here for free:
http://www.hirschmusic.com/sax-quartet/mancini-digs-that-mambo.html

best of luck!
~ Rick
 

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I've also done lots of arranging for my sax quartet. As already suggested, taking four-part harmonies from piano scores is relatively straightforward and generally doesn't require much original intervention, but another great source of supply for us has been a cappella choir scores. The vast majority of these transfer very nicely to sax quartet, OK some don't, but in the main they do. One of the most requested 'numbers' we have is a medley of Lennon and McCarrtney tunes, ('Michelle', 'Penny Lane', 'In My Life' and 'Yesterday'), I arranged from a cappella choir scores. Yet strangely I've never managed to get 'The Long And Winding Road' to tranfer well from choir to saxes no matter how much I tinker with it.

The only other thing to mention is that I do all my arranging in concert pitch - much easier when you're adding original bits or adding modulation between key signature changes. Then use your notation software to transpose to the sax keys.

Lastly you need to be a little bit careful about coyright. Some of the sources you'll come across will specifically forbid re-arrangement.

Have fun, and good luck................
 

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Lastly you need to be a little bit careful about coyright. Some of the sources you'll come across will specifically forbid re-arrangement.
Good point! As a general rule of thumb most composers and publishers of non-classical music will turn a blind eye to orchestrations/arrangements as it is part of the popular and jazz traditions. Classical music publishers are usually strict about this. If they do give permission they will almost certainly want to see the arrangement to check it.
If a classical publisher asks for a large amount of money, it is probably to discourage you from doing such an arrangement.
 
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