Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
MUC 152A
Course Title:
Contemporary Arranging: Settings for Originals and Covers I
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Develops skills in the tonal placement of sound required for orchestration and arrangement for various styles of music and sizes of musical groups. Focuses on individual instruments and the scoring of each section in the jazz idiom. Includes instrumental and vocal transposition, ranges, harmony, voicing, form, counterpoint, styles, introductions, modulations, interludes, endings, harmonic progression and experimental materials. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Material for this course will be presented in lecture format. Listening will be generalized. Highlighted in this latter will be foreground/background interplay, feature instruments, song form, and areas harmonized in closed position.

  1. Students will be able to transpose for all basic instruments where necessary.
  2. Students will be able to write for saxophones, bass, piano and guitar.
  3. Students will be able to harmonize melodies in two, three, and four notes in closed position.
  4. Students will be able to employ standard jazz rhythms where needed.
  5. Students will be able to compress their arrangement into a simple 4-5 line score.
  6. Students will be able to write a 1-2 minute arrangement for saxophone quartet.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Grading policy will be somewhat individual since a wide range of skill and background characterize the €œaverage€ student. Attendance of at least 80% of classes and 100% completion of make-up work will be required for A or B. Criteria will include:

  1. Weekly listening tests.
  2. Bi-weekly student playback arrangements.
  3. Mid-term: chord types, rhythmic problems, transposition, and melody tones.
  4. Final: Quartet for four saxophones and rhythm section to be performed by professionals at a date TBA.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Standard rhythms; stylized rhythms/
  2. Triads and four note chords.
  3. Passing tones and neighboring tones.
  4. Blocking melodies using four note chords.
  5. Three and two part harmonization.
  6. Harmonic progression in major, minor, and blues settings.
  7. Listening will include foreground/background relations and song form.
  8. Transposition and range of saxophones.
  9. Part writing and €œmini-score€ techniques.

Competencies and Skills:
The following skills are expected to successfully meet the minimum requirements of €œC€ or €œPass€ for the course:

  1. Saxophone transposition.
  2. Aural and notational recognition for chord types.
  3. Ability to harmonize melodies in four, three and two parts.
  4. Ability to write entry-level backgrounds.
  5. Writing acceptable, accurate parts and score.
  6. Completion of weekly testing and playback assignments as per agreement with instructor.