I have some questions about playing guitar in a musical's pit orchestra

#1
Next fall, my high school is putting on Shrek the Musical. It was announced that they're looking for someone to play acoustic/electric guitar and ukulele, and I feel like it would be a good experience. I've never done anything like this before though, so I'm wondering:



1. What's the difficulty level for playing guitar in a pit orchestra?

2. Do you read tabs, sheet music, or a mixture of both?

3. I can't find any Shrek the Musical guitar parts online, but I really want to get a head start and practice reading music. Can someone link me to some free broadway guitar sheet music that would be worth learning?


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Last edited by Quen234 at Jun 24, 2014,
#3
1. i doubt you'll have a huge role. you'll be surrounded by other loud instruments that will assist in smothering any small mistakes you make.

2. both. i prefer tabs for reading and sheet music for writing. edit: lol just realized this wasn't a personal question. yeah you're gonna get sheet music but you should be able to convert it to a tab if you really need to.

3. no clue.

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Last edited by Eastwinn at Jun 24, 2014,
#4
1. In a professional one, pretty rigorous. For HS, probably the ability to play backing chords for the orchestra.
2. They'll probably give you the sheet music. Nobody uses tabs besides guitar players and composers aren't about to write in a different format for one instrument. At worst it'll have weird voicings for chords.
#6
I've played in most of my high school musicals (and composed music for some of them). In most times I was given a chordsheet or sheet music for the melody lines. Generally I was given a lot of free space to find my own parts. It depended on the piece really. One time I was doing legato runs playing the melody of a classic wals and the other time I was using a lot of delay and a slide to create ambiance effects or kicking in a heavy overdrive for some straight up blues soloing.

All in all; be all-round. If the director/composer asks for something, do it. Classical composers seem to have limited knowledge (at least with the composers I've worked with) of what the guitar can do and tend to write parts from a "piano point of view" which results in some odd voicings, intervals etc.

Staying one afternoon showing your skills can help both you and the composer find the best way to add more "you" to the music. Your strength lays in unconventional sounds which traditional instruments cant make. Try to come up with your own parts.

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#7
Inb4 your only job is to play Smash Mouth.
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#8
The fact that your high school has live accompaniment, let alone a pit orchestra, makes me realize just how ghetto mine was.

Odds are you're just going to be playing chords read by rhythm slashes. Just look up exercises pertaining to that.

As for sightreading: Annie Get Your Gun, Cabaret, Sound of Music etc. should all have free transcriptions somewhere on the net.
#9
I did the guitar for Legally Blonde in grade 12. Shit was wild. When you get the music, sit the **** down and start working on it. I know someone who is going to be doing guitar, mandolin, and banjo for Shrek at a local theatre this summer, so I don't know how much playing you'll be doing if you just have guitar. It will be all sheet music, and you won't be able to find any online because it's all hella copyrighted and you can't even legally photocopy the book that you get.
#11
1) its not very hard

2) its just going to be chord charts, maybe a couple of single note stuff here and there

3) watch the broadway dvd or something, the OST should be on youtube or spotify
Last edited by GezzyDiversion at Jun 24, 2014,
#12
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That wasn't funny.

ooohhh look what we have here a '11er thinking he's all high and mighty with his chairman mao avatar "i dont partake in crude humor filthy casual" i bet to as how you'll respond
#15
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ooohhh look what we have here a '11er thinking he's all high and mighty with his chairman mao avatar "i dont partake in crude humor filthy casual" i bet to as how you'll respond

It wasn't not funny cause it was crude, it was not funny because it was stupid and unfunny.
#17
Quote by Quen234

1. What's the difficulty level for playing guitar in a pit orchestra?

2. Do you read tabs, sheet music, or a mixture of both?

1. It shouldn't be crazy hard if its just high school drama. You'll probably mostly just be playing backing chords and a little lick here or there.

2. It's all sheet music

Sawce: Acted in musicals before and have seen what the musicians have to do
#18
This subject is my jam. Even though the Shrek show was pitiful, despite a crazy good cast on Broadway.

Anyway:

1. Depends on the show and depends on you. Being Shrek, it shouldn't be too hard unless your reading sucks (see point 2)
.
2. Nearly always musical notation. However most shows are composed on piano and are then orchestrated out to include guitar. Which means the notations are occasionally dodgy in terms of rhythm, as certain strumming patterns are kinda hard to explain if the composer isn't familiar with a guitarist's vernacular.

I've only seen tab used in maybe one show, and even then it was for a small section. Also, learn to read chord sheets, be able to count rests and look at your conductor properly. God help you if you come in during a vamp where you're supposed to be tacet and **** up an actor's dialogue.

3. Sheet music: http://www.scribd.com/doc/218081707/Shrek-Guitar-1

Though your conductor will make some changes and I think the regional version has been changed up a lot since Broadway. Also, there's the filmed live on broadway DVD out there too (coughdownloadablecough)


EDIT:

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You'll be playing Smash Mouth and Counting Crows, I would have thought.

Accidentally In Love is F*CKING AWESOME.


None of the licensed music is in the stage show

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Last edited by ozzyismetal at Jun 26, 2014,
#20
I played guitar one year for my high school's production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and it was pretty easy. The music came in the form of notation, which was mostly chord changes like you would find in a jazz chart (probably copied from piano) but there was a lead line here or there that I would have to actually read. Unless otherwise told by the director, plan on turning down so you're almost unheard. (This actually comes in handy in case you screw up or just don't want to play for a bit.) Overall it was pretty fun, so you should do it or something.
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#21
Quote by Quen234
1. What's the difficulty level for playing guitar in a pit orchestra


Dunno. Some pit orchestra parts can get quite difficult (Looking at you, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying) but TBH if you're any good and can read music AND slash/chord notation you're all set. Any mistakes you make will likely be drowned out and, let's be honest, nobody is listening specifically to the pit orchestra unless they're like me and bitter because Beauty and the Beast doesn't have parts for any instruments I play.

Can't be bothered to answer the other questions... I'm mainly a sax player and you guys bore me with your guitar nonsense.

Quote by mtshark
I played guitar one year for my high school's production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and it was pretty easy.

Screw this musical. The production we did (the only paying gig I ever did.... The college put it together and it was a huge county-wide collaboration) was great but some of those sax parts got pretty beastly. Also, I almost got hit in the eye with an easel during that faking boardroom scene. Overall a fun experience, but the fact that I was able to attend exactly one rehearsal (all state auditions) kinda pressured me a lot. I ended up having to sightread half the book at our first performance
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Last edited by S0n1c '97 at Jun 26, 2014,
#22
Quote by S0n1c '97
...unless they're like me and bitter because Beauty and the Beast doesn't have parts for any instruments I play.

Can't be bothered to answer the other questions... I'm mainly a sax player...

m8, try being a musical theatre bass player that doesn't have access to an upright. Pretty much stuck doing Grease, JCS and Rent.

Fuck errything.

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#23
Quote by ozzyismetal
m8, try being a musical theatre bass player that doesn't have access to an upright. Pretty much stuck doing Grease, JCS and Rent.

Fuck errything.


Lel. At least I can do the rock operas >_>

Little Shop of Horrors is always fun.
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Currently Playing/listening to/Reading:


Kerbal Space Program,
Binding of Isaac
Opeth - Orchid
S. by Doug Dorst
The Martian by Andy Weir
#24
I have a friend who played guitar for this musical. He said there are some pretty exposed guitar parts compared to some other musicals, and I think there are mandolin parts as well. You're going to need to know how to read music, obviously. It probably won't be difficult to play but reading musical scores can be a real pain in the ass.