Your arrangements are so accessible, so easy to play and sing. And the added parts for C instruments, Bb instruments, synth strings, etc., have made a huge difference. Using a combination of only three instruments - guitar, keys and drums - we've managed to do some truly memorable and wonderful hymns.
From HymnCharts arranger Don Chapman:
I’ve designed HymnCharts for praise bands: drums, guitars and keyboards. However, they also sound great in a more acoustic setting with additional instruments. Each HymnChart arrangement comes with these additional parts:
- primary part: flute, oboe, sop. sax
- secondary part: trumpet, clarinet, alto sax
- synth strings: for synthesizer, violin and cello
The parts come in C, Bb and Sax transpositions. Any other transposition you need can be easily created with Finale.
These are NOT “Camp Kirkland” – type full orchestrations. Although Mr. Kirkland is one of the finest church orchestrators in Christian music, his arrangements work best with a full ensemble. Who has a full ensemble? Well, Super Church down the street does, but I’ve always had an odd assortment, like flute, trumpet and cello. One ministry I worked with had up to 18 instrumentalists at a time and I still had to tweak the store bought orchestrations to make them sound right.
I’ve developed a concept that will work in many situations. I believe in building a solid rhythm section that provides the core of the arrangement (even just keyboard and acoustic guitar) then adding other orchestral instrumental parts for color. The HymnCharts instrumental parts will not carry the arrangement – that’s what your band is for! The instrumental parts don’t just play the melody, either, but a distinct, composed part.
I’m calling this instrumental technique modular orchestration. I have a primary part with a main theme, useful if you have a single instrument (a flute or two, clarinet or even trumpet.)
I also have a secondary, supporting part that would be suited for additional instruments (clarinets, trumpet, trombone, sax, etc.)
Keep it simple: I’ve worked in ministries where the director tried to get his amateur instrumentalists to play the studio arrangements with less than desirable results. I believe in keeping it simple – HymnCharts aren’t performance pieces (although you’re free to use them in that way if you want!) They’re meant to be learned quickly for congregational accompaniment. You’ll get great, professional results using the HymnCharts instrumental arrangements with musicians of average skill. I arrange music for regular people, not studio musicians!
All the parts are on one page, so have fun mixing and matching. If you have a flute and trumpet, put the flute on primary and the trumpet on secondary. If you have a trombone and 2 clarinets, put one clarinet on primary, one on treble clef secondary and the trombone on bass clef secondary. If your players are weak, put them all on one part to build strength.
The synth strings part can be given to an additional keyboardist and string players. I love to have strings participate, but intonation is usually poor with the typical few players you’ll find in a church setting. A synth string player fills out the sound and keeps the group in tune.
All parts are available as Finale files (as well as Acrobat) so you can tweak, transpose and tailor the musical data to suit your needs.
Synth Strings comes with a PRAISE TEAM subscription, all instrumental parts come with a CHOIR subscription.
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