The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Arranging and Orchestration

If you liked The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Composition, you’ll love The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Arranging and Orchestration. It’s the next step in your musical education!

You’re no idiot, of course. You know that there are many ways to arrange a musical composition. But before you set notes to paper, you need to understand how to orchestrate your music for different types of instruments.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Arranging and Orchestration will show you how to create great-sounding arrangements for all types of ensembles. In this next book by popular author Michael Miller, you’ll get:

  • Advice on how to structure a composition for various types of music, from rock to jazz to classical
  • Techniques for creating arrangements for a rock band, jazz big band, marching band, orchestra, or choir
  • Practical advice on writing for all popular instruments, including range, transposition, and instrument characteristics.
  • An audio CD featuring the example arrangements created for the various types of ensembles as presented throughout the book.

You’re all ears — so orchestrate the music you hear! Here’s more of what you’ll find in The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Arranging and Orchestration:

  • Extend a basic composition into a sophisticated arrangement.
  • Create more exciting harmonies with chord extensions and substitutions.
  • Utilize different voicings and voice leading.
  • Experiment with melodies and countermelodies.
  • Adapt your arrangements for players and singers of different ages and skill levels.
  • Explore modern arranging techniques by building a recording track from the bottom up.

The CD that accompanies the book contains orchestration examples for different instruments and voices — as well as example arrangements for:

  • Five-piece rock band
  • Jazz big band
  • Marching band
  • Orchestra
  • Choir
  • Pop recording

Corrections and Clarifications

As happens with any printed work, a few errors slipped into the initial printings of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Arranging and Orchestration. This page lists all known mistakes and confusing passages.

  • Chapter 2, p. 33: In Table 2.2, “Verse 3” should be “Verse 2”
  • Chapter 3, p. 41: In the first Tip, final sentence, “seconds and fourths of the chord” should read “seconds and fourths of the scale”
  • Chapter 3, p. 41: In the example of altered bass chords, the fourth chord should be Dm7/G, to reflect the iim7/V discussed in the preceding paragraph
  • Chapter 3, p. 42: Final paragraph, on the page, the text should read “this means replacing the C major chord” — not C# major
  • Chapter 3, p. 43: In Table 3.2, the first row should be a major seventh chord a second below, with BbM7 as the example
  • Chapter 4, p. 49: Sparse Voicings, second paragraph, the reference should be to Figure 4.8, not 4.7
  • Chapter 5, p. 65: Figure 5.4, the caption should read: “Our original melody with a new one-bar cadence added at the end of each phrase.”
  • Chapter 7, p. 90: Figure 7.2, the caption should read: “The tied notes in this passage are played on the same up- or down-bow.”
  • Chapter 11, p. 133-134, Rhythmic Patterns, the example cited on the bottom of p. 133 and shown at the top of p. 134 is actually made up of melodic patterns M155, M116, and M63 (not M164, which doesn’t even exist)
  • Chapter 11, p. 134, rhythmic patterns R25 and R26 are identical. Sorry for this duplication.
  • Chapter 17, p. 213: In the “Pass the Melody Around” section, second paragraph, the second sentence should read “transfer the melody to a second voice”

Author: Michael Miller

Publisher: Alpha Books

Published: June 2007

Price: $21.95

Page count: 280 pp. with audio CD

ISBN: 1592576265

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