1. What is Adaptable Band — and why now?
Answer: As bands re-form this Summer and Fall, many schools may, for social distancing reasons, dramatically limit the number of players. Frank Ticheli is arranging certain of his works so they can be played by any number of players, starting with four.
2. How can that be?
Answer: Ticheli has kept the original music of his works, but orchestrated the music into just 4 voices.
3. You mean Joy is now a quartet? Simple Gifts?
Answer: Not exactly. Joy and the other adaptable works can be performed as quartet, or any number of instruments greater than a quartet.
4. So, then, the treble instruments are taking the higher voices, and the lower winds and brass have the lower music?
Answer: Not necessarily. It’s more versatile than that. Read on.
5. OK then, how does this work?
Answer: Every instrument has four possible parts from which to play, from Voice 1 (“soprano”) down to Voice 4 (“bass”).
6. So that means I can perform one of Ticheli's adaptable works as a flute quartet, you’ve provided the parts for that?
Answer: Yes, that would work fine.
7. How about as a sax quartet, or a trumpet quartet?
Answer: Yes, those too. Parts are provided to perform the work in those ways. You can perform the work with any four instruments
8. So it’s fair to say, then, that each instrument can perform the work in a “sectional” meeting of, say, all clarinets, or all winds, or all horns, or all brass?
Answer: Yes, you can do that.
9. OK OK. I get it. Or, do I? How about if I want to mix the winds and brass, say: Clarinet, Alto Sax, Trumpet, Trombone. Would that work?
Answer: Absolutely. (And you don’t necessarily need to have Clarinet playing the top voice — you could have Alto Sax there instead.) How about: Tenor Sax, Horn, Euphonium, Tuba? I can do that? Answer: Yes, that too.
10. So, any combination of any instruments?
Answer: Yes, any combination of any instruments. 4 Tubas. 2 Trombones and 2 Tubas. 2 Flutes and 2 Clarinets. 2 Horns and 2 Trombones. You name it, the parts are there to do that.
11. All right now, I don’t want to be mean, but, could I put, say, Horn in the soprano voice (the melody) and three clarinets under the Horn?
Answer: Well, yes, you could. It would sound different, with the melody under the harmony, but, yes, Ticheli has structured the music so that it would still work even if the melody is lower than the accompaniment. That’s where the creativity of the director comes to play.
12. So I can get creative then?
Answer: Let’s say you have 8 instruments in the room. You can experiment and try different combinations of which instrument or instruments plays which voice.
13. So, everybody plays all the time then?
Answer: If there are only 4 players, then, generally yes. But say you have more than 4, then you can vary the orchestration of the work by having certain players rest while others play.
14. And my percussionists — is there something for them to do?
Answer: The original percussion parts are provided for Joy for Adaptable Band (that’s Timpani plus 3 players); Simple Gifts will vary movement by movement.
15. But I have eight percussionists in my band. How do I keep them occupied?
Answer, there’s no reason you couldn’t put your extra percussionists on mallets playing any of the Voices for instruments in C. Said another way, you could have mallets doubling all four of the Flute/Oboe voices.
16. Can I post my performances online, say on YouTube and and my school’s site?
Answer: Yes, there is no licensing fee to do so (synchronization license is gratis and automatic).
17. We’re meeting only virtually, so can I do this with a virtual ensemble (where the players are at home, all in “boxes” on-screen)?
Answer: Ditto that — Yes you can do this, there is no licensing fee to do so (synchronization license is gratis and automatic).
18. And I can email the parts to the players, and they can print them out; or I can print them out and mail them?
Answer: Yes, all of that is fine — the music is supplied as pdf files, and not on paper.
19. Where can I find the adaptable band music?
Answer: It’s for sale as immediately-downloadable pdfs on the Manhattan Beach Music website and from you music retailer.
20. And I see you also have works for flex band. Is that different?
Yes. The Adaptable Band music requires a minimum of ANY four players (plus optional percussion). The Flex Band/Flex Orchestra music requires a minimum of five players, which must include both treble and bass instruments (plus optional percussion). Want to know more? Visit the creative repertoire initiativ
Some ways to use Adaptable music:
• Just 4 players? Assign the 4 parts, and then vary the assignment of parts so that each player tries out playing the melody, an inner line, and bass.
• More than 4 players? Have fun varying the orchestration: Who doubles? Who tacets — when do players drop out & in?
• Fewer than 4 players? Experiment with duets and trios.
• Players insecure? Have all play the same voice, together.
IN VIRTUAL PERFORMANCE:
• Phone apps are available to create a virtual ensemble of any number of voices.
• 4 people can play 4 parts and then multitrack more parts (record more voices).
• For only 2 players, try voice 1 (melody) and voice 4 (bass line). A single player could multitrack all 4 parts (or two players could record two parts each).