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rrayner 04-10-2016 06:14 PM

Night Crawlers
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“Night Crawlers” was composed and arranged by Manny Albam (not Album) for the LP “Something New, Something Blue”, recorded on May 15, 1959. The original LP included eight tracks, with two arrangements each by four composers/arrangers: Manny Albam; Bill Russo; Teo Macero; and Teddy Charles, and featured the Manhattan Jazz All-Stars. The personnel included Art Farmer (trumpet), Phil Woods (alto), Al Cohn (tenor), Frank Rehak (trombone), Unknown (baritone), Bill Evans (piano), Eddie Costa (vibes), Addison Farmer (bass), Ed Shaughnessy (drums). The arrangers were given the task to arrange a new piece written by the arranger (Something New) and a jazz classic (Something Blue). If you would like to hear the original recording, check out an mp3 of it on my BOX site:

For the LP’s liner notes, Manny Albam wrote this rather tongue-in-cheek quote, “Living in a large urban community such as New York City, one is quickly made aware of the fact that a great amount of life is lived in the early morning hours, just as countrified living allows one the discovery of the sound of the night. The Night Crawlers operate in either environment, the difference being mostly in the sounds they produce. The city sounds are predominantly man-made, while the country’s are produced by many more types of life. I suppose this piece depicts both. The structure is basically minor blues, with a bridge for respite. Let us assume that the power sounds -- piano and baritone sax -- speak for the machines which crawl about the city, or for frogs and such which are heard out a-ways, and the upper horns -- trumpet, alto sax and trombone -- represent the shriller high noises (crickets, birds or the night laughter of the streets). Or let us suppose that nothing of the sort exists, that the piece is simply a chunk of minor blues played by a group of swingers, somewhere between the hours of midnight and four a.m. Enough of this, let the music and dancing begin.”

This arrangement was painstakingly captured by ear from a CD copy of the original LP. The LP’s original instrumentation was for two trumpets, trombone, alto, tenor and baritone saxes, piano, bass, drums and vibes. I did not try to capture the vibes part. I have substituted guitar for the vibes, as the band I did this capture for has this instrumentation.

There are places in the score that will be dull to listen to as there is nothing but a bass line and a repetitive drum beat pattern. These are sections that are open ad-lib solo sections for the band.

At Rehearsal Mark E (measure 124), I have the horns marked “2x only”, telling the real players they should only play this part the second time through the repeat. I can’t control this in Composer, so you will hear the background played both times through the repeat. Of course, you won’t be hearing ad-lib solos, as I don’t attempt to try to score ad-lib solos.

Typically, in jazz/swing/dance band notation, simple slashes are used as time markers for piano, bass and guitar. Four slashes under a chord symbol means you have four beats of the chord shown, etc. In this piece, instead of slashes, which cause problems in Notation Composer when using the Compress Measures of Rest (qcmr) command, I have used a quarter note with a triangular notehead and a slash to serve this purpose. I can’t say I like the look of it, but I think the players will adjust to it quickly.

The Drums staff is for printing. The Drums Work is where the notation is for making the drum sounds you hear. If you want to see the “Work” instruments, select the “Conductor’s Score” drop-down and select “Working Score”. You will also see in measures 38, 70 and 116 how I notate a jazz drop.

A special note on the Drums staff -- another symbol that is frequently used in jazz/swing/dance band notation is the “measure repeat” symbol, a slash surrounded by two dots. This symbol means repeat the content of the previous measure. If this symbol has a number above it, say 6, this signifies to repeat the previous measure 6 times. Using this symbol can significantly reduce the size and complexity of a drum part when there are a lot of repeated measures. You will see in the score that wherever this symbol appears, there are an equivalent number (minus 1) of following measures that are blank (rests are hidden). When the drum part is to be printed, I use the Notation Composer qcmr command to compress measures of rest. Then all that shows is the repeated measures symbol. I have included a PDF of the drum part so you can easily see the end result.

Also note that I really don’t have a good sound for the implied “soft mallet cymbal roll” at the very end. It sounds more like a machine gun, so I have reduced the volume considerably. And, except where "as written", the bass part is my own free-form bass line.

I have put quite a bit of work into capturing this score. It is very valuable to me to be able to hear a professionally recorded piece and see a graphic representation of it -- particularly seeing how the arranger voiced certain sections, assuming I captured the correct voicing.

So, after all the above, I hope you get some value out of seeing what I have done.

Ralph Rayner

Sherry C 04-11-2016 03:19 PM

Re: Night Crawlers
Hi Ralph,

As always you never cease to amaze me. To pick out this entire score by ear like you have is pretty astounding!

I'm saving this for my practice time, comments about bass lines and drums being dull to listen to notwithstanding ;)

I made a couple of changes to the file that I downloaded to make it more Notation Software Synth friendly. I'm thinking you probably composed this while using your Clavinova and all it's awesome sounds :)

  1. After opening the file, I opened Staff/Setup
  2. Clicked the Device header, and in the dialog box that came up, I selected "Notation Software Synth" as the device, and "General MIDI" as the MIDI bank. This just makes sure that all instruments will play on the default internal synth for most users.
  3. I then noticed that I could not hear the drums, and saw that "Drums" volume in the Staff/Setup was set to 1. Since the "Drums" and "Drums (Work)" staves both share the same channel, the volume setting of "1" was affecting both staves. I know you mentioned that you use the "Drums (Work)" for the actual sound and the "Drums" staff for the printout. There are a few different ways that this situation could be handled.
    • Copy the volume Graph from the "Drums (Work)" staff on to the "Drums" staff, but set all the velocities of the "Drums" staff to 1, which you'd already done. (The volume settings affect anything on a given channel; the note velocities affect individual notes.) I did this and it sounded great to me :)
    • Change the channel for the "Drums" staff to an unused channel, although it looks like for this piece you've used up all 16 channels for a single device :) If you do change the channel number, you'll just have to be sure that the noteheads are set for percussionists :)
    • Change the assigned device for the "Drums" staff to a different device, and keep that device off during playback.
Cool file, and well done. Thanks for sharing this with us :)


rrayner 04-11-2016 06:51 PM

Re: Night Crawlers
Thank you, Sherry. I have incorporated all of your suggestions and have reposted the score.

The Clavinova was not involved. This was all done using your native Notation Composer on a Windows 7 PC. When I am making the final "sound" touches, I will connect to my Clavinova to try to improve the sound levels, etc.

This type of exercise is very beneficial. At Berklee, this was one of the Arranging Class requirements -- take a big band track you liked and copy as much of it as you can. This one was a lot easier than big band, as I only had the six horns to deal with. When there are four trumpets, five saxes and four trombones playing in ensemble, it is really "best guess" as to what the voicings might be. You try to capture the chord sound associated with each note, and that can really be a bear. A lot of that depends on how the players are set up in the recording studio. Fortunately, this piece was quite linear with a lot of doublings -- not as hard to pick out as the voiced passages. Although I really enjoyed trying to figure out the voicings of the ensemble play in the bridge at Rehearsal Mark E17, with the lead staying at one pitch and the voices underneath the lead moving throughout the chord structure. For this part, I simply voiced the top four horns in four-way voicings with the trombone and bari doubling the first two voices down an octave.

Ralph Rayner

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