ECB SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
The following guidelines apply to any submissions for the Ensemble Concert Book Series.
So we can have consistency throughout the series, we must ask that each arrangement conform to these guidelines as much as possible.
We provide guidelines in the following areas:
Number of Voices in the arrangements
Ranges Of the Parts
Duration of the arrangements
Musical Format of the arrangements
Rehearsal Markings in the score and
Formatting for print
The final format of all submissions should be as PDF files. (See Formatting for Print, below, for more information.)
For interim, progress-check submissions, we will accept PDF files with MP3 files (of your computer rendition); Finale files (we prefer the latest version, if possible).
If you work in Finale, you can download a Finale® 2018 template file here. You may use this template file as a framework on which to build your arrangement.
All the Ensemble Concert Book series books arrangements will be in FIVE PARTS. They will be designated Soprano 1, Soprano 2, Alto, Tenor, and Bass.
We considered many options in deciding on this number of parts. We finally determined to go with 5-part arrangements because these books could then supplement the repertoire of existing brass or woodwind quintets, because five parts give us access to a much richer chordal structure than fewer voices would, and because this number of voices seemed the best compromise between the fewest voices possible while still providing for rich chords.
When you set up your notation program to produce a score for your arrangement, we suggest the following voices:
Soprano 1: Clarinet or trumpet;
Soprano 2: trumpet;
Alto: Alto saxophone (horn voices are usually a bit too shrill for proper audition balance);
Keeping in mind the ranges of all instruments that can be expected to play each part, you may wish to include optional octave doubling in certain parts.
You can indicate preferred and alternate notation either through a
text annotation beside the part name, such as this:
(Flute, Picc may play an octave higher than written)
(Play lower notes where possible)
or through indicating the non-preferred part by decreasing the size of the non-preferred noteheads to 65% of the full notehead size.
The ranges of each of the five parts are as follows. All pitches are concert pitch.
Soprano 1 and 2:
From the C below the treble clef to Ab above the treble clef. Please reserve use of notes above the top-line F for infrequent use, because these notes are taxing on many trumpet players and will tire them quickly if used too much. Please keep in mind that many of the players of these tunes will be non-professionals, people who play in a community band, or in their church, or only occasionally.
Instruments that can be expected to play the soprano parts include piccolo, flute, Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, soprano saxophone, trumpet/cornet, flugelhorn, and violin.
Instruments such as the Eb cornet or soprano bugle in G are not used much, so we will not provide parts for those instruments unless requested.
Instruments that MIGHT play the soprano parts if they have very good players include alto saxophone and French horn.
The alto parts will cover the range from Eb in the middle of the bass clef up to the third-space C in the middle of the treble clef. Because of the difficulty of some of these instruments in the extreme ends of the range, we should avoid using the extreme top or bottom of the range whenever we can.
Instruments we can expect to play the alto parts include the Bb clarinet, English Horn, alto clarinet, alto saxophone, French Horn, and viola.
Other instruments that can play the alto part, but probably won’t unless they get “pressed” into service, include the tenor saxophone, bassoon, trombone, baritone horn (euphonium), and cello.
The tenor part will range from the second-line Bb in the bass clef up to the F above the bass clef.
Instruments we can expect to regularly play the tenor part include the bass clarinet, bassoon, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, French horn, trombone, baritone horn/euphonium, and cello.
Other instruments that can play (most of) the tenor range include the alto clarinet and viola, and some tubas.
The bass part covers the range from Ab below the bass clef up through F in the middle of the bass clef. However,because some instruments expected to play the bass parts cannot go that low, we need to double the notes an octave up for any notes below E below the bass clef staff, as indicated earlier on this page.
Instruments we can expect to play the bass parts include the baritone saxophone, bass clarinet (and lower clarinets), bass trombone, euphonium, tuba, cello, and string bass.
A French horn can also play the bass parts, although it won’t usually do so unless pressed into service as such, with a good player.
The score should have one line for each voice (i.e., 5 lines).
As a general guide, we want to keep the arrangements in the ECB Series books to a difficulty level not greater than a challenging Grade III.
In other words, we want a decent high-school-senior level musician to be able to play the arrangements with minimal rehearsals, and professional-caliber musicians to be able to sight-read them at a performance.
We do realize that some arrangements, particularly of such things as marches, come with a built-in difficulty level a bit higher than this, but those will be the exceptions rather than the rule.
Each arrangement should be no less than two minutes and no longer than eight minutes, with a preferred duration of from three to five minutes.
However, keep in mind that this is a guideline, not a rule, and there’s no such thing as music that’s too long – there’s only music that’s too boring. So if you have a grand idea for an arrangement that lasts nine minutes, and it’s exciting from start to finish, please submit it, and we’ll let you know if it’s okay.
If you have a dynamite arrangement that just has to go over two pages, then please be careful to provide rests on the parts for page turns.
The only hard-and-fast rules we have for how you structure your arrangement musically are that it should sound good and be appealing to a senior crowd, and that the main melody should be recognizable throughout most of the piece.
Don’t get so clever that the melody gets lost, or so avant-garde that your arrangement sounds like a warm-up before rehearsal starts.
If you have original and clever ideas (that follow the above guidelines) that don’t fit any other format, please submit them and we’ll let you know if they are worth pursuing. Chances are, if they sound good and we can easily recognize what tune it is, we’ll give you the green light
On the other hand, we are definitely looking for things that are NOT boring.
In other words, we won’t be excited if you write a plain vanilla once-through-the-verse-and-chorus then quit.
If you need a boost to get started with your arrangement, you might consider following a format something like this.
- Intro or Lead-In. This section is optional, and can be
anything from a fanfare to a motif preview to a vamp. Generally, we would rather see an arrangement with an intro than without, although there are some great arrangements that simply start with the melody.
- Statement of the Melody. Generally, it’s a good thing to state the melody very plainly the first time through. You want to introduce the tune in such a way that there’s no question in a listener’s mind what they are hearing. If there is a verse and a chorus, you probably want to include both of them in this initial statement. Depending on the length of the melody (and your arrangement), you might want to have a plain repeat of this section, or you might want a modulation or variation repeat.
- Development. In place of the typical, somewhat confusing development section of the sonata-allegro form, we prefer to see the “development” section be more of a variation on the theme, perhaps in a new key, perhaps with a
stretched melody line with a different rhythmic chord accompaniment, maybe passing the melody around to the different voices, or some combination of all of that. In our development sections, the listener should always be able to distinguish the original melody.
- Final Melodic Statement. To wrap up the tune and provide a sort of recapitulation, you can go into a new key and state the full melody one final time. You might or might not include both the verse and the chorus (if applicable). While the melody is to be re-stated quite clearly in whichever voice has it, in this section you can be free to introduce new and delicious chordal variety, perhaps an original countermelody. The ending of this section can be more grandiose and allargando, to give a “winding up” feel and flow smoothly into the coda.
- Coda. The ending of the arrangement should have a satisfying “ending feel,” and should reflect the mood or sense of the entire arrangement.
We will provide the following parts and transpositions for the voices for each arrangement.
SOPRANO 1 and 2:
Treble Clef: In C, Bb, Eb, and F. The Eb part should be transposed for alto saxophone. The F part may never be used, but it’s better to have it.
Add alto clef for soprano 2. You can never tell when you might have an ambitious trombone or bassoon player.
That’s a total of four transpositions for soprano 1 and five for soprano 2.
Treble Clef: in C, Bb, Eb, and F. The Eb part should be transposed for alto sax.
Bass Clef. Yes, there are some trombone/ baritone players who might want to play this part.
That’s a total of six transpositions for the alto part.
Treble Clef: In C, Bb, Eb, and F. The C and Bb parts should be transposed to read an octave higher than they sound, such as would be read by a baritone horn or tenor sax player. The Eb part should be transposed for baritone saxophone.
That’s a total of six transpositions for the tenor part.
Treble Clef: In C, Bb, Eb, and F. The C and Bb parts should read two octaves higher than they sound; the Eb part should be transposed (and have suitable octave doublings) for baritone saxophone. The F part should use the Octave basso treble clef, so the notes appear an octave higher than they sound. Yes, good horn players can play these notes.
Bass Clef. In this clef, the notes are written where they sound.
String Bass. This part is written an octave higher than the notes sound.
That’s a total of six transpositions for the bass part.
We need about 15 seconds to one minute (read out loud) of narrator notes for each tune.
The notes should say something interesting, and if possible, humorous, about the tune, the author, how the tune has been used, or anything that will pique the interest of the audience.
For an example of narrator notes, please see the Silver Clef Narrator Notes collection.
While we don’t require that you submit narrator notes with your arrangement, you need to know that we cannot release the Concert Book for publication (and sale) until we have a complete set of narrator notes for the tunes in the book. So it would be a good idea if you could include some suggested narrator notes with your submission.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to arrange but would like to do narrator notes, go for it! Contact us for more information on this.
Any arrangement of 16 bars or more needs to have rehearsal markings.
Please use measure numbers as rehearsal markings rather than letters or sequential numbers.
Enclose the measure numbers in opaque rectangles, and place them close enough to the staff that they do not appear to be assigned to the wrong staff, but without colliding with any elements of the staff. The rehearsal numbers should appear on the top line of the score, and on each instrumental part.
Please provide all parts as PDF files formatted to print on 8½ x 11″ paper. We will be using page layout software to position the PDF files on each page, so you do not need to worry about page margins or page numbers.
Please do NOT include page numbers.
The title must be prefixed by the number of the tune in the volume. (This will be provided to you.) For example, if you are arranging “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” which is tune number 8 in Volume 2 of the series, the title on each part and the score should read, “8. Alexander’s Ragtime Band”.
The first criterion when formatting for print is that the player needs to be able to READ the music.
This means that the music cannot be too small, too crammed together, or have collisions between notes, articulation markings, phrase markings, text entries, or dynamics.
The second criterion when formatting for print is that the music needs to have a professional appearance.
Here are some of the techniques we’ve found useful in achieving these criteria.
First, we decide whether the part can easily fit on one page or if it needs to go to two pages.
To do this, we experiment with the number of measures per line (in Finale®, highlight the entire piece with the mass mover tool and press Ctrl-M ) and the spacing between staves.
Generally, you can fit most arrangements of the duration we’re looking for in these books on either one or two pages.
Whether it’s on one or two pages, it should fill up the pages.
Again, experiment with the space between staves and the number of measures per line to get close, then move individual measures between lines for the final adjustment.
After you have the pages and lines per page adjusted, look at “measure density.” This means that eight measures of half notes on one line looks fine, but only four measures of sixteenth notes per line looks too cramped. You want your layout to look like the density is balanced throughout the part. Adjust this by moving individual measures from line to line.
Only after you have the layout of the lines per page, measures per line, and density adjusted, then move other elements around so the pages present a professional appearance.
Look at phrase markings and slurs, dynamic markings, text entries, articulation markings, and make sure all of them are legible and don’t collide with other elements on the page.
Elements on the pages: The first page of each part should contain the title (centered), the part name (on the left), the tune author (on the right), and the tune arranger (under the author), all at the top.
At the bottom, you should have the following copyright notice, centered (replace the year with whatever the current year is):
Arrangement Copyright © 2022 by Silver Clef Music, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. Please see www.SilverClefMusic.com for Contact Information
On second and subsequent pages, at the top of the page, you should have the title, centered, in 14-point type; and the part name on the right side.
If you want to do an arrangement for the ECB Series, first get in touch with us (see our CONTACT page) to make sure the tune you want to do hasn’t already been done, or to get the name of the tune to do if you haven’t already picked one. See our BOOKS AND TUNES page for a list of the tunes we’re looking for.
Once you get started, when you have your outline done, go ahead and submit it to us to make sure you’re on the right track.
Submit it to us at each stage of the process until you’re comfortable that you know what we’re looking for, and we’ll give you confirmation that what you’re doing is going in the right direction.
Bottom line here is let’s just stay in touch to make sure what you’re doing will fit in with our concept for these books.
We look forward to working with you.