OT- Front Ensemble Writing

I was wondering if anyone has some advice on writing styles for front ensemble.  I have written many percussion ensemble pieces for indoor but not on the field.  Everything I'm writing is coming off very chordal, no motion.  Any advice how to take a piece to the next level and add movement and rhythm to a something that has never had percussion parts, let alone a band arrangement (its based on a choral work, hooooray ballad pieces.)?  Thanks in advance.
Alex, send me an e-mail... bryan@visaudiodesigns.com

In the meantime... https://www.tapspace.com/store/product.php?productid=16136&cat=3&page=1

The Jims have some wonderful advice in this wonderful piece of literature :-)
This book is the New Testament and Fresh Perspectives is the Old Testament and combined, they are my bible!

I use them all the time in writing and teaching.  There is always something new I find in UpFront that I missed a time before.  It's a great book and has helped me, a totally battery person, compose some interesting and effective additions to my Front Ensemble music.  I definitely recommend them.  I never go to a practice/rehearsal without them.
Up Front rocks!!!
If your stuff is sounding chordal, with no motion, try arpeggiating and inverting your chords working up and down the keyboard. Sounds sort of elementary, but it can really create some interest in your writing.

Plus, not everything you write has to be the ";lick to end all licks.";
[quote author=erath link=topic=1776.msg8630#msg8630 date=1181050005]

Plus, not everything you write has to be the ";lick to end all licks.";

Never have truer words been spoken...
I agree, but some tasty things here and there make peopels heads turn.  During exposed sections can be the best thing you can do for musicality and percussion scores.  But My show is Niagara Falls(Daugherty), Water Night (Whitacre), and Blue Shades (Tichelli).  So theres some tasty things happening but I keep hitting the wall on Water night.  It doesn't even have a band arrangement yet from whitacre so its all free form thinking.  Ive been doing some ripple roll sections and that but still want to keep the very simplistic writing of complex chords.  Theres not even any 16th notes in the piece at 70 bpm.  It should lend itself easy to slow six tuplet runs but, think it may end upo cluttered and over written.  Thanks for the help.
Effective music does turn heads.  Flashy stuff may get crowd response but if the judge is worth his salt he should know the difference.

When you're writing front ensemble music you have to get out of the mentality of drumline ";park and bark"; writing.  Putting in sextuplet runs for the sake of showing off won't win you points, but putting in sextuplet runs as a textural device when they're warranted will.

In short, concentrate on making music, not ornamenting music with technical displays.  erath's advice on arpeggiating/inverting chords is a good one for some contrast, but in general find places for counterpoint, know when to execute the proper role of the front ensemble (support, texture, taking the melodic lead), and be brave enough to provide some fresh melodic/harmonic ideas that don't necessarily have to come from the original arrangements.  Having a few fun/challenging licks in the book for the kids' sake isn't a bad thing, but definitely don't approach the writing that way. 
Login or Signup to post a comment