Music Composition Class publishes instrumental ensemble

January 4, 2018

Music Composition Class publishes instrumental ensemble

Directed by Mr. Holmes – Students in the Music Composition Class were asked to arrange a Christmas carol for a small, instrumental ensemble. After they selected their piece, they completed a traditional harmonization to accompany the melody. Next they were asked to re-harmonize their selections using a more complex harmonic progression and create a lead sheet. Using their new harmonic progression and lead sheet, they next began the process of arranging their selection for small instrumental ensemble. The class chose a brass quintet, woodwind quintet, and woodwind choir. Each arrangement was then input into Musescore or Finale for additional playback and analysis.

As part of their Winter, Final Exam, students were asked to write, as a combined class project, a concert band medley of Christmas carols by combining their small instrumental ensemble Christmas carol arrangements. There were a number of decisions the class had to make concerning the construction of their medley. In addition to deciding the order of the pieces within the medley, they had to re-arrange each carol for full concert band, and transitional material had to be created to connect the four carols. Some of the carols had to be transposed to better fitting keys to accommodate other instrument groupings. Opportunities were found to add additional counter-melodic lines, break the melody up between instrument families, and experiment with larger instrument groupings. Once the medley was completed and input in Finale, a MIDI file was created and put into GarageBand for mixing and to provide for better computer generated instrumental sounds. An audio file was then created and asked to be shared on the schools social media.

Video and Ensemble below.

Jamie Glasgow

“Away in a Manger”

Emma Jenne

“Jingle Bells”

Claire Sullivan

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Joseph Watts

“Silent Night”

Brian Jackson
Director of Marketing and Communications
Houston Academy