Density

unison / octaves | two-part | three-part | four-part | five-part


FIVE-PART

Five-part density is generally associated with the saxophone soli, the mixed instrument soli, and full ensemble passages. Anything larger than five-part density should be reserved for notes lasting a second or longer. This will give the listener more time to hear, and appreciate, a complicated harmony.


Below is a mixed ensemble, quartal voicing utilizing five different pitches. It is also an example of planing (see ORCHESTRAL TECHNIQUES - PLANING). Although there are six instruments listed, the guitar does not add density because it is merely doubling the trumpet part an octave lower.

North Rim (concert pitch)

Click to play example.

Click here to stop.


As in Abene's two-part example, this five-part saxophone soli (below) contains many interesting qualities. Several factors make this passage sound very fresh and contemporary. These include linear writing, contrary motion, and quartal voicings - see Bill Dobbins book Jazz Arranging and Composing, A Linear Approach. Each part is an independent line, there is no major effort to voice specific harmonies.

Oleo (concert pitch)

Click to play example.

Click here to stop.