Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
MUC 152C
Course Title:
Contemporary Arranging: Settings for Originals Covers III
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. Must have prerequisite or instructor permission. Prerequisites: MUS 152B. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Material for this course will be presented in lecture format.  Listening from instructor's library of big band arrangements will focus on individual section sonority, mixed section sonority, and, finally, arrangement flow, this to include use of intros, transitions, and thematic variations of primary and background melodies. Playback of student two-part inventions will focus on relative melodic motion and active backgrounds.

  • Students will be able to write in various textures for individual sections.
  • Students will be able to write in various textures for mixed sections.
  • Students will be able to organize an arrangement texturally and rhythmically.
  • Students will be able to write backgrounds of all types (passive, riff, etc.).
  • Students will be able to recognize the above usages aurally.
  • Students will be able to prepare score and parts accurately for big band.
  • Students will be able to write a two to three minute arrangement for big band

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Grading policy from first and second terms (Music 152 A, Music 152 B) will be continued here, this to include 90% attendance of classes. Criteria will include:

  • Weekly student two-part inventions, performance and rating
  • Surprise listening quizzes with focus on instrumentation, texture
  • An original ballad or jazz waltz for saxophone and rhythm section
  • Mid-term: scoring for rhythm section, blocking 11th, 13th, and added tone diminished chords
  • Final: an arrangement (two to three minutes) for big band

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Precision scoring for big band
  • Rhythm only outline technique
  • Transposing from blocks-review
  • Interlocking blocked sections (saxes/trumpets trombone/trumpets etc.)
  • The added tone diminished 7th chord
  • Voicing review of special chords (dominant 7th plus nine, dominant 13 etc.)
  • The four relations of melodic motion: parallel, similar, oblique, and contrary
  • Two part writing using these relations
  • Reducing a block to three notes; increasing a block to five notes
  • Listening analyses of ballad and jazz waltz form
  • Theoretical analyses of ballad and jazz waltz including proper rhythmic usage
  • Thematic backgrounds
  • Motivic variation including inversion, retrograde, augmentation, and diminution
  • Writing an improvised solo
  • Special presentation: markets for the wrranger.
  • Special presentation: adapting course elements to all styles.
  • Writing for strings1 - guest lecturer
  • Writing for voice 1 - guest lecturer

1Written material for strings and voice is not required of the student in the given time span of this class. These presentations are for future reference; it is important that the student be at least aware that vocal and string writing might be encountered at some point!
Competencies and Skills:
The following skills are expected to successfully meet the minimum requirement of "C" or "Pass" for the course.

  • Execution of sectional and interlocking passages for big band
  • Identification and use of relative melodic motion
  • Precise and detailed scoring for big band
  • Writing an improvisation using correct and varied rhythms, correct and varied melody tones
  • Voicing and/or transposing the following: added tone diminished 7th, dominant 7th plus 9, dominant 13th, dominant 11th, and minor 11th chords
  • In essay form: identifying and explaining possible venues and/or markets for arrangements of own material
  • Completion of compositional tasks as per agreement with instructor