All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians

Composing / transposing / adapting


Sax-Mad fiend!
I've got some Disney medleys written for SATB voice quartet and piano accompaniment. I thought there might be an easy way to try to re-jig them for our SATB sax quartet, but I don’t think it will be easy.

That said, I thought it might do my music theory self-education some good to have a go.

So I’ve put one of the pieces into Musescore

DeadAudiolink Removed

I quite like the way it sounds, but the 4 voices have pretty much the same tune, only a little bit of harmony here and there. It is the piano that provides the interest.

So I thought maybe I could write some of the sax parts to reflect what the piano does instead. The sop could hold the tune, the ATB provide the support, or share the tune around.

If I can work out a fool-proof method of sorting the pieces out for sax SATB, I can pick and choose which of the pieces to include in our medley (I have 4 different Disney medley books, covering about an hour and about 25 different songs!)

But my music theory only passed grade 5, and I have no idea on how to get started!

Maybe I should start somewhere less challenging?! :w00t:


I don't know very much about arranging but I just listened to your soundcloud and then I listened to a YouTube of the movie song. The vocal quartet arrangement that you put into Musescore has an angelic feel to it. But there's a trombone in the movie track and that made me think that maybe you could use your bari to get a rhythmic bottom line going and then your soprano for a little high end countermelody (it has a kinda New Orleans jaunt to it). That leaves your alto with the melody and your tenor harmonising.

I apologise if this doesn't make sense but as I said, I'm not an arranger. This is just what I heard. Good luck. I think it's a terrific thing to be doing.

Tenor Viol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
To be fair, G5 theory gives you enough of the basics that you need to know.

You need a strong bass line that sets out the basics of the harmonic structure asnd sets the rhythm. It's usually good practice to not have the lead line (usually sop) parallelling the bass, i.e. they should be in contrary motion much of the time.

You're not writing Baroque so you don't need to change the harmony on every beat. You can then use the alto/tenor to fill in the harmonies and to add colour. Work out your cadence points and how you want to approach it both in terms of style and harmonic progression.

I'm sure you'll be fine.


Well-Known Member
You could always do it bluegrass style. LOL Melody plus third up fifth below and bass well singing bass. simple if nothing else


New Member
Have you got the piano score? If you have you can follow the chords from the original (unless it's a reharmonization you're doing) but drop out the "less important" notes in the harmony (5th's and octaves but they end up getting duplicated in keys and guitar quite often).

For me personally, I would just stick sop or alto on the lead line and then tweak the piano chords to fit the remaining horns. Lazy but it'd stay fairly true to the original. Listening to the keys track it's pretty well decorated with various graces and things (as mr Newman is quite fond of in his "pop" tunes) that could well add a lot of interest to the various parts if spread or played in unison.

Could always work out the various trombone fills as previously mentioned and spread it to the "rhythm" horns either as a single fill for bari/tenor or as a cheeky unison.

No doubt there'll be a better and more technical solution but this way would be enjoyable to do instead of a patience testing, demoralising endeavour.

I've been working on a swing version of "God Save the Queen" for a full big band recently and that's turned my brain all gooey.

Nick Wyver

You could always just buy this and transpose the top alto part for soprano.

If it hasn't got the ones you want it might still be worth getting to see how somebody else tackles the problem.


Sax-Mad fiend!
I could, Nick, although it doesn't really cover the sort of things we're looking for.

I've had a go at arranging the piece given above. It's pretty basic stuff. I haven't changed from what's written in the voice version, but arranged it for 4 saxes:

DeadAudiolink Removed

I'm sure as I get better, I'll be able to do something more exciting.
Saxholder Pro

Members online

Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom