Scoring Technique

Peter Herbolzheimer

Body and Soul  

The examples are taken from the vocal score to Body and Soul contained on the CD Focus on Vocals by the German National Youth Jazz Orchestra, BuJazzO (Mons Records MR 874 - 803). The choir consists of four girls and two men. The arrangement is by Peter Herbolzheimer.

Example 1 shows bars 1 to 4 of the rhythm section. These four bars are repeated to complete the eight bar intro. The intro is repeated three times thus: first time guitar only; second time the rest of the section; third time with singers added.

The guitar plays in a similar fashion throughout the piece. His part is constructed on the Db and Ebm scales. The bass motif occurs regularly. Tempo is about 4 bars to seven seconds. The recording is awe­–inspiring.

In Example 2 the opening chord sequence repeats itself behind the melody up to the Eb7(#11,#9) of bar 21. A glance through the part will show the pitching difficulties of the lower voices, the hardest one being the tonic of the second lowest  bass singer in bar 27 on the inverted D maj7(#5)/C# with major seventh in melody and bass. In the next bar he reverts to the C# (here written Db) while the bass singer moves to a D, then up to the fourth of a Cm7(b5) in bar 29.

At the change of key there is a recurring pedal bass throughout bars 47 to 52 as follows, with the chord changing on each bar: D maj7/A, Gm6/A, E7/A, D7/A, F#7/A, E7/A.

At bar 70 the four bars are repeated behind the vocal up until the Eb13(#9,#11) of bar 82. On bar 86 comes another D maj7. This one is harder to spell: a D maj7(b5,#5)—the notes, played by the trombones, are, from the bass up: D, F#, G#, A#, C#. The chord continues up to a Cm9 in bar 90, followed by an F7(#5,b9) in 92, Bbm9 in 94, and Bbm(maj7) in 95. Here the bass singers must pitch a major seventh against a seventh in the melody: the orchestral chord there reads, downwards from the melody, Ab, F, Db, C, A, F, Bb.

I have omitted the chord symbols on the vocal part deliberately. It is more interesting to look first at the horizontal lines, try them out, and then see what the arranger had in mind.

Example 3 shows part of the ensemble that follows the vocal. The guitar, alto and tenor saxophones double the first trumpet melody one octave below, with the baritone an octave below that. The flute doubles in the same octave. This gives the passage a beautifully haunting, mellow sound, in the way that the French horns add colour to a Rob McConnell ensemble. The spelling of the fourth chord (BI7(#9)/D is probably the nearest one could get to a conventional chord type, although aural logic makes it more of a D Major 13 with added #11 and I13 (#12!), or even a GI chord. Note that in one or two cases the first trombone, in his upper register, doubles the fourth trumpet, giving a boost to important dissonances. The two final chords of the example are voiced in fourths. This is easier to recognise if they are played without the written bass notes.

Example 4 comes at bar 65 of the piece (see last article for vocal part), and also appears right at the very end. It’s worth trying the brass on their own at first, then with the bass, and lastly with the saxes, who once more emulate a horn section in the first two bars.

In Example 5 we see the backing for bars 53 to 54 of the vocal, leading into the change of key. There is nothing remarkable about the chords or the voicings, but the study of passages of oblique motion is always useful, and this one, when played at this point of the melody, is particularly striking.

Score excerpts Copyright ©1997 Peter Herbolzheimer

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