Alfred Marching Band Series
Recently we have studied the marching band publications of the American publisher Alfred Publications. Every year in April they publish quite a few new arrangements for big or smaller marching bands. The arrangements vary in level from very easy (grade 1,5) to medium (grade 3). They distinguish the:
The arrangements in the Premier Series are written for the so called "full band" instrumentation. This means that the fundation of this arrangement consists of 8 brass players. The basic instrumentation consists of 3 trumpets, 1 horn, 2 trombones, 1 baritone and 1 tuba. When you are searching on our website with the help of the filter, please choose for the option "full band". As a service for our European customers we alway provide an extra B flat tuba or sousaphone part.
In this series woodwinds may have independent scoring; this means that they are not playing any doublings from parts from the basic instrumentation. The arrangements are instrumented for flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto sax and tenor sax. An optional baritone sax is provided that doubles the tuba part.
These arrangements are written for the following marching percussion instruments: mallets (bells/xylophone), snare drum, multi-toms (quad). 4 tonal bass drums, cymbals and percussion.
These arrangements are coming with an extra drumset part, so the pieces can be played without the marching percussion parts. Besides that piano/keyboard parts and bass guitar parts are included, so you can add a rhythm section to your band in an easy way.
The level of the arrangements for the premier series is medium (grade 3 - 3,5). You can compare this with bands playing the 4th division in The Netherlands or Europe.
The Mega Sounds Series are written for so-called "small band" instrumentation. These are very usable for small bands that still want great challenging arrangements. The arrangements are already playable with 6 brass players. The basic instrumentation of these arrangements consists of: 2 trumpets, 1 horn, 2 low brass (trombone or baritone) and 1 tuba. You can find all small band arrangements on our website by using the filter function. An extra saxophone part is provided which doubles the first low brass part 1. Very useful if you only have a small low brass section. Show & Marching Music is always providing an extra B flat tuba or sousaphone part as a service for our European customers.
In this series, woodwinds may have independent scoring too, so no doublings from other parts for the woodwinds. Most mega sounds arrangement are well playable without woodwinds. Handy for bands with brass only. With these arrangements you will find flute, piccolo, clarinet and alto sax parts in the score. The low brass parts come in different transpositions, so you can choose what part the tenor sax will play.
The marching percussion parts are written for the same instrumentation as the premier series.
Additional parts for drumset, bass guitar, piano and keyboard are included with this series too.
The level of the arrangements from the mega sounds series is easy/medium (grade 2,5 - 3,5). Suitable for European and Dutch bands playing in 5th or 4th division.
The foundation of the big and easy series is written for 6 brass voices. These are written for young or less-experienced bands or for any group that wants to play great pieces with limited rehearsal time. These are written for 2 trumpets, 1 mid voice (horn or alto sax) 1 trombone, 1 baritone and 1 tuba. An extra baritone part that doubles the tuba is included. As an extra service for our European customers we always provide an extra B flat tuba or sousaphone part.
An optional clarinet part is provided , which does not go over the break. All other woodwinds parts are doubling one of the 5 basic brass voices. In the score you will find parts for flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto sax and tenor sax. The provided baritone sax part doubles the tuba part.
In the score you will find marching percussion parts for bells, xylophone, snare drum, quad toms, cymbals and a bass drum part for single pitch. A tonal bass drum part for 4 pitches in included though.
Again extra parts for drumset and keyboard and bass guitar players.
The level from the arrangements of the big and easy series is easy (grade 2). Well playable for European or Dutch bands competing in the 5th division.
As the name suggests, you will find easy arrangements of pop and rock songs in this series mainly. The instrumentation of the Easy Pops Series is substantially equal to the big and easy series. The only difference is that this series has two low brass parts instead of one. So these are "small band" arrangements with 6 voices again. The low brass parts are coming in different transpositions, so they can be played by different instruments like trombones, baritones and saxophones too. We always provide an extra B flat tuba or sousaphone part as a service for our European customers.
In this series the wood winds are doubling the one of the 6 basic voice mainly. In the score you will find woodwind parts for flute, piccolo, clarinet and alto sax. The tenor sax can play along with one of the low brass parts and the baritone sax doubles the tuba part.
There's one melodic percussion part in the score for bells and/or xylophone. Besides that you will find marching percussion parts for snare drum, quad toms and a bass drum part for single pitch. As with the big and easy series a tonal bass drum part for 4 pitches is included.
If you use the printed percussion part in combination with the extra drumset part (instead of the marching percussion parts) these pieces would be great for small youth orchestras or beginning ensembles.
The level of the arrangements is easy/medium (grade 2 - 2,5). Very suitable for European or Dutch bands in the 5th division.
The Very Easy Pops Series are easy arrangements with 4 voices. These are written for trumpet, horn, trombone/baritone and tuba. You can find these pieces on our website using the filter function by choosing the instrumentation option "very small". These arrangements come with different transpositions, so the pieces can be played with other instrumentations. Also with these arrangements we provide, as an extra service for our European customers, an extra B flat tuba or sousaphone part.
In the score you will find woodwind parts for flute, piccolo, clarinet, alto sax and tenor sax. Mostly these parts are doubling one of the 4 basic voices. The additional bariton sax part doubles the tuba part.
There are no melodic percussion parts in the score, but individual parts for mallets are included. Marching percussion parts are supplied for snare drum, quad toms, cymbals and a bass drum part for single pitch.
In combination with the additional drumset part these arrangements are very suitable for beginning ensembles or youth orchestras. Even without the marching percussion parts these pieces sound very well.
As the name suggests, these are all very easy pieces and they vary in difficulty from grade 1,5 to grade 2. Dutch or European bands competing in 5th division should be able to play these pieces very well.
I hope that we were able to create, with the help of this article, some clarity about the different series within the marching range of Alfred. Because of the extra parts and flexible instrumentation most arrangements are suitable for many different kind of bands and ensembles. So if you are looking for great pop songs for your youth orchestra or student ensemble think about the Alfred marching band series!