Easy Brass Composing

Nothing beats a great horn section, right? From jazz to ska to rock a smoking hot brass section provides a whole lot of power with warm tones.

Perhaps you're interested in adding some brass to your own songs. Most likely this would be in the composition/songwriting phase. If you're working on something that needs to be played live then you're going to need real musicians, generally speaking (your keyboard player could rip out some nice brassy stuff quite easily if they have some quality sounds). Or, if perhaps you are looking for something a little extra for your own recordings then a brass section is a great way to do it. You might add a few brass tracks to a digital piece you are composing and then print out the tracks, show them onscreen, or bounce it all down for a listen.

Still, if you've never composed for brass before, where to start? First, pick your instruments. Go for trumpet, trombone and saxaphone. You don't need all three to start. The score below shows a single bar scored for two instruments (if you really want to know we tested it in software using trumpet and trombone. Worked fine). If you do some research you can learn of other instruments that will fit too.

Now, a great secret to composing brass lines is compose in 5ths. In the score below the top notation is a four note run based in C Major. If you can't read traditional notation, then we're confident you can work them out with a little effort. We're purposely not telling you the notes! Come on, we can't do it all for you. The second instrument in doubling all the notes in 5ths. Again, work them out.

So, all said, that's really the whole basics of this lesson. Get yourself a nice little melody, riff, hook, whatever and then have a second brass instrument double it up in 5ths. It's a technique that goes way back and still sounds as good as ever. Get composing. In fact, you could be all cool and say to your band mates, "hey, check out this brass section I orchestrated for the bridge in our song". Have fun.

easy brass lesson

#songwriting #jazz #soul #funk