Counterpoint in Jazz Arranging

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  • Suggested Retail Price: $24.99
  • Format: Book with Online Audio
  • Pages: 152
  • Dimensions: 9x12
  • Audio Tracks: 198
  • ISBN: 9780876392041
  • SKU: 00294301
  • Publication Date: December 24, 2020

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Add dimension and interest to your music. This essential, core material is for anyone who arranges jazz standards or writes original jazz compositions.

Counterpoint is a vital part of the writer’s palette, providing textural variation for the listener and more musical parts for players. This study will help you craft melodies, countermelodies, bass lines, and grooves. It will help you manage the intricacies of interactive lines, control dissonance, and improve melodic development.

Carefully guided exercises let you practice exploring and controlling contrapuntal relationships. The accompanying recordings demonstrate techniques in typical jazz arrangements.

You will learn to:

  • Gain greater control over your music, clarifying your ideas and strengthening their relationship to one another
  • Add variety and interest to your compositions and arrangements by setting multiple lines in dialogue with one another, creating a stronger composite whole
  • Suggest harmony without relying on harmonic accompaniment
  • Develop rhythmic interactivity and create new grooves using the techniques of cumulative rhythm and layered ostinato

“Counterpoint is useful not only for large ensemble writers but also for every musician. This book explains how to enrich and strengthen the music; strong counterpoint makes beautiful melodies even more beautiful. This book is like a travel guide that will take you where you want to go, teach you how to equip yourself, and also how to find treasures along the way.”

—Hiromi, Grammy Award Winning Pianist/Composer

“Bob Pilkington’s Counterpoint Techniques in Jazz Arranging is a most welcome addition for arranger/composers. Bob explains everything in a very clear and intelligent manner, and I feel that this book could be a real asset for teachers. Being mostly self-taught, I have already learned something and will continue to refer to this book. I am always wanting to learn more, and I recommend this publication highly.”

—Michael Abene, Grammy Award Winning Producer/Composer/Arranger/Educator

“The study of counterpoint is criminally neglected by most jazz musicians, which is unfortunate because everything that we call ‘harmony’ is actually the product of voices in motion—in other words, counterpoint. Pilkington’s book is a well-organized, practical approach to placing counterpoint in the foreground.”

—Darcy James Argue, Composer/Bandleader

“This book should be required reading for anyone studying or practicing the art of jazz composition and arranging. It successfully fills a gap that has long been open in the world of jazz writing. Practical, concise, clearly organized, and highly valuable. The clarity in the generous number of recorded examples alone, is a goldmine and is an added bonus to this excellent volume. I will, without a doubt, be recommending this book to all of my students.”

—Dave Rivello, Composer/Conductor/Assistant Professor of Jazz & Contemporary Media at Eastman School of Music/Author of Bob Brookmeyer in Conversation (Artist Share, NY)


Bob Pilkington

Bob Pilkington is a trombonist, composer, arranger, and educator. Much of Bob’s career has been devoted to original music projects,…