Writing for Tenors on a Rock or Jazz Chart

Hello all,

One of the things I love about this forum is the great knowledge base of its members! Actually, that's probably what I love first and foremost.

Here's a question I run up against a few times a summer and never feel like I can adequately answer:

";What is the role of the tenors during a rock or jazz chart?";

In other words, if you are trying to achieve a drumset sort of sound or feel during one of these charts (thus, the snares play a hi-hat/ride & snare drum part; while the basses pay a, well, bass drum part), then what should the tenors play?

Thanks for your insight!
I think it would definitely depend on the specific chart, but I tend to use them in a way similar to how you would use the alto voice/backing rhythms . I think it would also depend on what section of the tune you're talking about - be it a softer section or a massive, shout chorus.  Also, being that they have multiple pitches, they can be used to help support the shape of any melodic lines that might exist. 

";Context sensitive"; would be the best two words to assign to their voice in the ensemble.  I think all of the stuff Mark Thurston did with his percussion sections at Crossmen in the late 80s and early 90s would be a good reference for how they be used effectively, as that was always that corps' style - which he did very well, in my opinion (or IMO for you interweb types). 

Another thing to take into account is drum tuning and implement usage.  In 2004, Bret wanted the tenor tuning lower at Cavaliers so they would be more well suited for the timbale feature in our 3rd Mvt.  What it really seems to boil down to is does it sound cool, and is it appropriate.

I think the can of worms you've opened is a large one :-)
Good topic.  Some people will say they write quads to compliment the middle voices in the pit/winds/brass.  Others will have them play a beat using a cowbell (or other LP toy) and do drumset style fills.  I suppose I do a little of both.  If you look at top DCI/WGI type arrangements of rock/jazz music, the battery is VERY far from playing a traditional rhythm section role, which might be covered by a drumset player in the pit.
It may be a little hard to recognize the connection at first, but MY philosophy of composition for the tenor voice is summed up really well by this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=locRDFcIuiY
I get what you're saying, but [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0]this link[/url] is probably a better example.
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