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Digging Upon “The Contemporary Arranger”

Sebesky Contemporary Arranger

I know I’m a tad obsessive about jazz arranging. Why else would I sit around in my free time and read textbooks. I picked one up the other day, Don Sebesky’s “The Contemporary Arranger”. I had it in school; my edition from the 80’s is still out “on loan” to someone, I have no idea to whom…so I bought the latest edition from the 1990’s…it’s shocking how the music jumps off the page. The first page has a little excerpt and talks about economy in orchestration, and the little example blows me away–worth the price of the whole volume. Who…

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Yesterday I made another blog post in my jazz composition blog, professorscosco.com. It’s another in a series about linear harmony, a really dry subject, but one that I believe is ignored in schools. Many writers I’ve heard recently are obsessed with chords and scales, and counterpoint is just in service of the chord progression. I like it when the lines are the chords, or maybe you can’t tell what the chords are. I’m finding that although it’s a little dull using my own music for demonstration (due to copyright restrictions and hubris), I’m compiling a body of examples that will…

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  I have a jazz composition blog, ProfessorScoSco, and of course this one, which you are reading now. So I publish a post in the other one, now I’m compelled to tell the world about it here. I am definitely spending too much time on shameless self-promo, but I actually enjoy writing about music theory, probably because I love the sound of my own voice. Perhaps it’s therapeutic too – but I do recognize that most of the theory crap I learned in school is useless, and wasn’t applied to anything concrete. I have a series going on Linear Harmony,…

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A Confession…Music Theory Sucks

I need to get something off my chest: I hate music theory. Maybe hate is too strong a word. Don’t scientists consider a “theory” to be the highest order of proof? How can you prove music, and why would you try? This is a rambling preamble to an upcoming post on my jazz composition blog, Professorscosco. Music “theory” attempts to prove why things sound good, why chords work, why things that our ear naturally hears provide richness, gratification, tension, resolution, all the things that make music happen. But Bach didn’t know music “theory” (he invented the rules of 4-part choral-style…

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