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Any tips on making horn sections?!
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Any tips on making horn sections?!

I'm making horn arrangements in some songs I'm writing. I don't have a ton of experience doing this. I have a sense of music theory, and since I'm using Logic, I know how to change note articulations and all. But I would LOVE any tips people have about writing horn sections. It's for Americanaish/singer songwriter type music.

I feel like there are many unknown unknowns here, and if anyone has any tips or pieces of advice they find helpful, that'd be great. Talk to me like I'm a noob; there are no bad pieces of advice here.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Would these horns be real players, or samples?
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Samples using the Studio Horns instrument offered by Logic
Old 1 week ago
  #4
Old 1 week ago | Show parent
  #5
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by BT64 ➡️
Thanks for this!!!!! This is exactly the kind of stuff I need.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Also, what sort of singer/songwriter/Americana benefits from horns? Not saying you shouldn't do it, it just doesn't sound to me like a natural fit. Is there a record by someone else you can use as an example?

Late edit -- hadn't seen the SOS article before. Pretty good! And the "listening list" is dead on. Lots more good stuff in the Stax, Atlantic and TK catalogs, too.

Last edited by Brent Hahn; 1 week ago at 07:01 PM..
Old 6 days ago
  #7
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Zed999's Avatar
 
My one simple tip would be that each instrument should be playing some kind of melody or rhythmic stabs that the player would be enjoying in itself so that each instrument in solo makes some kind of sense.

I'm not an expert but I do love a brass section and find that playing one brass instrument at a time without reference to the others can leads to pleasing results when you hear them all together... until they all hit the same note, but you can tweak a bit afterwards to rehash those melodies so it's not happening.
Old 6 days ago | Show parent
  #8
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Owen L T's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zed999 ➡️
My one simple tip would be that each instrument should be playing some kind of melody or rhythmic stabs that the player would be enjoying in itself so that each instrument in solo makes some kind of sense.

I'm not an expert but I do love a brass section and find that playing one brass instrument at a time without reference to the others can leads to pleasing results when you hear them all together... until they all hit the same note, but you can tweak a bit afterwards to rehash those melodies so it's not happening.
Once you get into legit 3 part harmony, it's actually pretty common for at least one of the individual parts to sound weird by itself - it may repeat a common tone between chords, while the other parts move around. And with 3 part harmony vocals, likewise, my experience has been that the vocalist will also lean towards parts that sound good by themselves, whereas one of the parts may literally be going back and forth between two notes in the middle of the chord. Just, you know, an alternative viewpoint, since this is GS.
Old 6 days ago
  #9
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Owen L T's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
It makes a huge difference if the part being programmed is actually a part that a horn player would play. Oftentimes, non-brass players with limited experience writing for horns will come up with either keyboard-y stabs, or super cliched rip-offs. Farm it out to a sax player or someone, to at least give you some basic ideas that you could program up. Post a couple examples on here and I'll take a listen.
Old 6 days ago
  #10
Gear Guru
 
Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Even if you have more than 2 horns going, I'd stay away from any more than 2-part voicings (not counting octaves) until you get pretty confident with it. Err on the side of crude but ballsy.
Old 6 days ago
  #11
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standup's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I tried to do horn arrangements for a co-write. My part was utter crap. My songwriting partner came up with some good bits.

If I tried again: I would try writing a simple melodic line that punctuates the vocal but doesn’t play on top of it. A line that has some counter-rhythm to the vocal melody. Then I would write a harmony line on a different horn, playing tightly along with the first line.

In fact maybe I’ll try something in the next couple weeks.
Old 5 days ago
  #12
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Progger's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hi! Professional saxophonist/pianist/composer/arranger here. Some tips...

1. Write your horn parts vocally. If the parts sound good sung, they probably sound good played by woodwinds and brass. BUT...

2. ...Make sure you know the comfortable playable range for every instrument for which you're writing. Google is your friend! You can easily find maximum and comfortable ranges for all common instruments in a horn section. Even if you're using VIs, they'll sound more convincing if they're actual playable parts. And most importantly...

3. ...Listen to tons of great music with killer horn arrangements! All the Michael Jackson records, Parliament/Funkadelic, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan... or, on the jazz side, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis (Vanguard Jazz Orchestra), Count Basie, Duke Ellington. For any of the above, anything Quincy Jones ever touched! (Quincy arranged for Basie long before MJ.)

For anyone looking to get deep into this world, check out "Sounds and Scores" by Henri Mancini and "Changes Over Time" by Fred Sturm.
Old 5 days ago | Show parent
  #13
Gear Guru
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T ➡️
Once you get into legit 3 part harmony, it's actually pretty common for at least one of the individual parts to sound weird by itself - it may repeat a common tone between chords, while the other parts move around.
I'd say that depending on the players, instruments and style that's a no-no for a couple of reasons. A workaround is to have two parts take turns playing the note that is repeated. It makes the melody more angular, but if they're good section players you avoid the repetition.

Of course, this doesn't apply to samples... so.. I should be quiet perhaps...
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