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Discussion Starter #1
This has really been bugging me lately. Whenever I read an article, or go to a concert somebody is always introduced with a big line of credits like "So-and-so is an accomplished saxophonist, leader, producer, composer, arranger..." ect. But in reality they have writte mabey a couple of charts casually and have written a couple of tunes for their small group. But that doesn't qualify you as a composer or Arranger. Just like if I were to run a mouthpiece accross some sandpaper, I'm not a refacer, I'm just some shmuck who ruined a perfectly good mouthpiece. So, just because you wrote one chart for a rehearsal band ou played in 20 years ago doesn't make you an arranger, it makes you some guy who wrote an arragement 20 years ago. It's not just some throw-away skill. It's an art that takes a long time to develop and just like playing, you are never finished learning.

I suppose this bothers me because I work hard on the art of arranging. I slave hours behind a desk and keyboard most everyday and rack my brain about every minute detail until I am completely happy with my work (which NEVER happens).

Just my stupid rant, take it for what it's worth.

~Zach
 

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A couple of thoughts came to me as I read your "rant":

Is it the number? How many charts does someone have to write before they'll be a composer/arranger in your opinion?

Is it the time? How many hours should it take to write an arrangement for you to be satisfied with their work.

Is it the effort. Does composing or arranging have to involve "hard" work, and "slaving" and "racking your brain" to have value? (accounts of Mozart imply it was pretty easy fo for him; Beethoven's sketchbooks tell a different story about him)

Is it the level of players? Someone who writes a chart for their rehearsal band isn't really an arranger; but is it different if that band plays every Monday night at the Village Vanguard?

Is it the money? Using your mouthpiece refacing example, if people start paying you to drag their mouthpieces across some sandpaper, does that make a difference?

But the first thought that came to me is: why does it bug you so much? What possible difference does it make how someone else describes himself?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
DukeCity said:
A couple of thoughts came to me as I read your "rant":

Is it the number? How many charts does someone have to write before they'll be a composer/arranger in your opinion?

Is it the time? How many hours should it take to write an arrangement for you to be satisfied with their work.

Is it the effort. Does composing or arranging have to involve "hard" work, and "slaving" and "racking your brain" to have value? (accounts of Mozart imply it was pretty easy fo for him; Beethoven's sketchbooks tell a different story about him)

Is it the level of players? Someone who writes a chart for their rehearsal band isn't really an arranger; but is it different if that band plays every Monday night at the Village Vanguard?

Is it the money? Using your mouthpiece refacing example, if people start paying you to drag their mouthpieces across some sandpaper, does that make a difference?

But the first thought that came to me is: why does it bug you so much? What possible difference does it make how someone else describes himself?
It's not any of this, it's the intention. It's not a set number of time or level of players or the money, but I do believe that even Beethoven, at one point put in some serious work when it came to working on his concept. What bothers me is people that treat it like it's just another club in their golf bag, it's not, it's a completely different bag. It doesn't sound like much, but so many people casually labling themselves as arangers, it kind of "dumbs down" the art, it just kind of says that anyone with half a brain and a pencil can call themselves an "arranger."

Oh, and as far as mouthpieces go: anyone who would pay me to drag their mouthpiece accross sandpaper deserves their mouthpiece to be ruined. :D
 

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Lets see, 4 years of theory, 2 years of counterpoint, several quartets are playing my arrangements, my arrangements have been performed by symphony orchestras, I've done transcriptions which are used by a member of the R&R hall of fame when he goes on the road.

I don't consider myself an arranger or composer. I just do what I get asked to do from time to time. Mostly this is performing, but occasionally a special request comes up and I do an arrangement, I charge stupid amounts of money if I don't want to do it.

Have I dumbed down the art? (Well there was this guy from Canada, but he was kind of dense before I even met him ...) I will sell out for MONEY, but I enjoy eating regularly too.
 

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Carl H. said:
Lets see, 4 years of theory, 2 years of counterpoint, several quartets are playing my arrangements, my arrangements have been performed by symphony orchestras, I've done transcriptions which are used by a member of the R&R hall of fame when he goes on the road.

I don't consider myself an arranger or composer. I just do what I get asked to do from time to time. Mostly this is performing, but occasionally a special request comes up and I do an arrangement, I charge stupid amounts of money if I don't want to do it.

Have I dumbed down the art? (Well there was this guy from Canada, but he was kind of dense before I even met him ...) I will sell out for MONEY, but I enjoy eating regularly too.
HAHAHA Sorry you reminded me of HOUSE on TV. I kinda heard him saying that while I was reading it.
 

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Carbs said:
HAHAHA Sorry you reminded me of HOUSE on TV. I kinda heard him saying that while I was reading it.
I keep on meaning to catch that show. The guy that plays House has been very good in everything I've ever seen him in. When is it on?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Carl H. said:
Lets see, 4 years of theory, 2 years of counterpoint, several quartets are playing my arrangements, my arrangements have been performed by symphony orchestras, I've done transcriptions which are used by a member of the R&R hall of fame when he goes on the road.

I don't consider myself an arranger or composer. I just do what I get asked to do from time to time. Mostly this is performing, but occasionally a special request comes up and I do an arrangement, I charge stupid amounts of money if I don't want to do it.

Have I dumbed down the art? (Well there was this guy from Canada, but he was kind of dense before I even met him ...) I will sell out for MONEY, but I enjoy eating regularly too.
I wouldn't say that you apply to my criteria at all. Because you don't label ourself as a composer or arranger.
 

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Carl H. said:
I keep on meaning to catch that show. The guy that plays House has been very good in everything I've ever seen him in. When is it on?
8 PM on Tuesdays. I try not to miss it. And it is on USA after 10 some nights.
 

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I sort of agree with the sentiment here-I just find it funny the way a bunch of stuff goes on somebody's card when they leave music college.

There's often so much angst at that time that people feel they have a lot to prove. There's also that thing where people stop saying they 'have a gig' tonight and instead say 'I'm working tonight'-as though they've always wanted to say that.

I write a lot of tunes and stuff for large ensembles but I essentially think of myself as an alto player-you know where your heart is.

Jamie
 

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saxymanzach said:
... but I do believe that even Beethoven, at one point put in some serious work when it came to working on his concept.
That was my point: It came easier for Mozart; much more difficult, painstaking work for Beethoven.


saxymanzach said:
What bothers me is people that treat it like it's just another club in their golf bag, it's not, it's a completely different bag. It doesn't sound like much, but so many people casually labling themselves as arangers, it kind of "dumbs down" the art, it just kind of says that anyone with half a brain and a pencil can call themselves an "arranger."
I understand what you're saying. I guess I just don't really worry about it. If it's another club in their bag, and they're not very good with that club, then their success will ultimately be limited by their skill level anyway.

As far as proclaiming to the world all the clubs they have in their bag, isn't that part and parcel of marketing yourself as a freelance working musician? Similar to doubling on flute or clarinet (or bari or soprano sax for some players), people do what they're asked to do for the gig. Doesn't mean they're "dumbing down" the art of flute playing.

Carl H. may not consider himself an arranger, but given the list of stuff he mentioned, I probably would call him one. Ultimately, if it's a skill/talent/interest you have, and you have enough of it to charge money with a clear conscience, it's just verbally simpler to say, "Yeah, I'm an arranger." than to say, "Well, I've done a bunch of arrangements for John Doe's big band, and I've written most of the charts for this singer in town, and I have a stack of my own tunes that I do with my group, but it's not really my main thing, 'cause I REALLY consider myself a sax player. I mean, not it the same way Joshua Redman is a sax player, 'cause it's not my full-time career, but I play lots of gigs...."

Bottom line for me is, it just doesn't really bug me. YMMV


saxymanzach said:
Oh, and as far as mouthpieces go: anyone who would pay me to drag their mouthpiece accross sandpaper deserves their mouthpiece to be ruined. :D
I do have a couple Slant Sig 7* tenor mpcs I'd like to get opened up a little. I'll send 'em right out to you. :D
 

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When I am 'better' then said composer/arranger at composing/arranging then I'll complain.

It's one of the reasons I don't bitch about Gorelick...I haven't made millions of dollars playing my horn yet.
 

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Here's an interesting thought: There are a great many people on SOTW that refer to themselves as saxophone players or MUSICIANS, (& they might have boughtg a horn last year, or havent played since jr High & just began again)

If you'll ever get a chance to hear them play, you'll die laughing...or throw up!

Then, they argue with someone like DukeCity, (who is a college music prof & a pro that toured with Maynard) about reeds & mpcs, etc., and think they know better!

That bugs me, more than the composer/arranger thing.
 

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Selmer's_glu said:
...Then, they argue with someone like DukeCity, (who is a college music prof & a pro that toured with Maynard) about reeds & mpcs, etc., and think they know better!

That bugs me, more than the composer/arranger thing.
Yeah.
BTW, I've just sanded a Morgan Protone to perfection and have an original composition on Soundclicks.
Mope- Saxophonist, Composer, Mouthpiece Refacer
 

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It's what you put on your resume. I know a seasoned jazz pianist who retired from playing full time to operate a chain of Subway shops. He showed me his musical resume. Tony Bennett is on his long list of famous performers with whom he has played. It seems that Bennett came into a club where Bubba was playing and sang a tune. One tune. Probably "San Francisco." Bubba said, "That counts, doesn't it?"

I have a list like that. Most of the famous people on it are dead. Those lists imply that whenever the famous cat hit town, he called me. Everybody understands though, what it's really about. Self-promotion. Lionel Hampton never called me. But I played one gig with him, a political rally for Gerald Ford. That counts doesn't it?

(Maxine Sullivan, however, proposed marriage to me. Said she had a thing for piano players.)

You worried me, though. I've composed a few tunes and written a few charts. Some were recorded. So I checked my website. The words, "composer" and "arranger" are not on it. Whew.

(If someone wants a killer chart, let me know. I've got Dave Wolpe's and Sammy Nestico's phone numbers to give you.)
 

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And how about guys who call themselves pro's but make maybe $150 a week and live in their parents basement? Or, better yet, only make a couple of buck on gigs while they're going to school (on loans, grants, and gifts from their folks). I'm not coming down on those people, it's just that there is a real grey area. Eventually you learn that someone can either play on the level you are looking for or not. Same with writers and arrangers. There are a lot of tunes out there that I don't think are very good, does that mean they aren't a legit composer? No, it just means I don't like the way they write.

We figure it out and move on. There are plenty of full time playing musicians that I'm not particularly impressed with, but who cares what I think? They got the gigs, I didn't, so it goes.

If we are going to get bent out of shape about this then we need to have defined parameters. As Dukecity impied - how many composistions does it take, arrangements, professional paid gigs a year? etc... How many students do you have to have to be called a teacher?

It's a losing battle, that's all I'm saying. Do what you need to do and leave the rest behind.
 

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Selmer's_Glu said: "If you'll ever get a chance to hear them play, you'll die laughing...or throw up!"

Funny you should say that Tom. I caught your gig at Puppet's on Tuesday night. If anyone wants a review, they should PM me.
 

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:shock:
This thread might get interesting.
 
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