Marc Sabatella

I want to be a sideman

published3 months ago
1 min read

Hello! The subject line of this issue is the title of a song by the late great Dave Frishberg, celebrating the joys of being an accompanist or otherwise playing a supporting role in a band. Like many of his songs, it's funny but insightful, and full of clever rhymes ("I want to be a sideman / just a highly qualified man"). It came to mind as I thought about my focus on accompaniment this week. Check it out, and I hope it brings a smile to your face!

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we look at various instruments that you can write for and what you need to know about using them. It will be some MuseScore how-to combined with a mini-lesson in orchestration!

The MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

When you add instruments to your score in MuseScore - either when first creating your score via File / New, or later via Edit / Instruments - by default MuseScore only shows you a list of "common" instruments, to avoid overwhelming you with too many options. So you might not realize there are actually hundreds more instruments available. If you click the dropdown at the top of the dialog where it normally says "Common", you'll see you can change to any of a variety of genres to see instruments used in those worlds, or "All instruments" to see everything:

There is also a convenient search box to let you quickly find all different variants of recorder, sackbut, ukulele, or whatever!

Music Master Class

This week in the Music Master Class with Marc Sabatella, I plan to focus on accompaniment - the things going on underneath the main melody of a composition. As usual, I'll be looking at music submitted by members, while also referencing possible models in the literature.

The Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

My choice to focus on accompaniment this week was motivated in part by a number of posts I've seen lately in the Community, the MuseScore forum, and elsewhere. In particular, check out this post by Jim Ivy (whose arrangement of the Irving Berlin tune I didn't get to last week, but I hope to look at this time):

Jim shows some specific piano accompaniment patterns common in early 20th century sheet music arrangements. It would be possible to expand on that, and also to construct similar "cheat sheets" for other genres. It could be an interesting project to collect examples! I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments to his post, or start a new one to discuss other genres.