Testing, Testing, I ii iii (IV V7 vi viiº)

In about 2 hours, I’m starting a master’s degree.

I know what you’re thinking. “Michael, what could they possibly teach you? You know everything!”

It’s true friends, there’s nothing left for me to learn in music (or in life ((especially in relationships, I have that totally nailed))), but for the sake of appearances (so that the other professors don’t feel bad), I have to go back to school to get the degrees to demonstrate that I’m actually qualified for the position I’m already in (and to learn the appropriate use of parenthetical asides).

Step one of the adventure is a placement exam in harmony and commercial orchestration.

I didn’t even start thinking about the placement exams until a few days ago, and then started freaking out a little bit last night. It’s not that I think I’ll bomb, it’s that I think I’ll do just OK, and that would be terminally embarrassing for me. I’ve already met and been talking with the faculty who teach the program, and they all know that I’m coming in as a prof at another university “just to get the ink”. It would be a very, very poor reflection on me, and our school of music, if I didn’t absolutely rock the exams.

I do a ton of arranging, but I do all of it on computer, and the whole reason a computer exists is to do the menial basic tasks for you. It’s been forever since I’ve actually looked up the exact ranges of specific instruments – on the rare occasions when I take them a half-step too low, bells and whistles go off, and I rethink the voicing. It’s been an eternity since I’ve had to actually DO manual transposition from score to parts. I know how do to it, but I haven’t done it in a long, long time. There are a hundred little standard indications on a score that the software just inserts and manages for me, which is exactly the point of using a computer to do notation. It relieves you of having to think about all of those things, and lets you think about what you’re actually writing.

So, all that to say, can somebody please tell me the actual range for a Bb Trumpet?

16 thoughts on “Testing, Testing, I ii iii (IV V7 vi viiº)

  1. michael Post author

    Yeah, I finished most of the degree this afternoon, they just asked me if I wouldn’t mind swinging by for 6 hours or so every night of the week for the next 5 years, just to brush up on a few things.

    So, yeah, mostly done.

  2. Madge

    I think with a tape measure and slide rule you could extrapolate the range for the little B flatter. Old school.

  3. michael Post author

    OK, so I killed it on the harmony part of the exam. I had to analyze a piano score and write out the chord notation (cake), then take a different melody and chord notation and write out a full piano part for it (again, cake).

    I got into some trouble on the orchestration side of the exam. There were a series of phrases written out for different instruments, and you had to indicate if the given phrase was easy, awkward, or impossible for that specific instrument.

    There was a chromatic scale for a harp, which I said was awkward, without noticing that the tempo indicated was allegro, which is way, way to fast to pedal a chromatic; it should have been labeled impossible.

    I labeled a flute phrase as easy which should have been awkward – the fingering was cake, but it asked for a crescendo on a descending line down to the low C, which is very hard to do.

    One question gave a high “A” on a violin, and asked you to indicate all of the different ways to notate a harmonic for that note. Mmmmmmmm-kay. Bombed.

    Then, I had to take a piano reduction and orchestrate it for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, and strings. I got a few points deducted for crossing off the horn line and writing “horns are ridiculous, and I refuse to even dignify them with a part.”

    So, I passed, but I think I may take the orchestration class anyway, because I really should spend some time reviewing this stuff.

  4. harmonicminer

    If the harmonic question had been for viola, I would have had the answer. Just wrap your hands around the viola player’s neck and squeeze… the harmonic that comes out is always high A…. and it’s the only way they know how to play it.

    Sorry, Alex

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