Tip #7 – Extreme Dovetailing

Continuing with the idea of alternating between instruments, there is the technique of dovetailing. As the definition already goes, dovetailing is when things interlock with each other at some joint area. Melodically in music, dovetailing is when a relatively incomplete music idea is carried out by another voice starting from where the original voice ended. Typically, there is usually at least one note of overlap, but these rules can easily be diverted from – so long as there is a sense of flow instead of alternation.

Inspired by the guitar technique of “chicken picken’ ” where a guitarist plays a chord or melody between alternating sounds of pick, mute, bend, cluck, etc. – we get this extreme for of dovetailing that can be applied to any music ensemble.

Take an original melodic line:

Now, look at the ensemble. Find where their ranges overlap. You might need to transpose the melody to a shared octave so that there are no jumps between voices. After doing so, break up the melodic line between the different members of the ensemble. Remember, having some melodic overlap is okay, in fact, probably even better. However, this example does not do so. Finally, experiment with having each instrument do different techniques. It would come out looking similar to this:

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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