Recorded by Frank Sinatra
Arranged by Lowell Martin and Billy May, Prepared by Dylan Canterbury, and Jeffrey Sultanof
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Cat #: JLP-9920DL


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Edition: Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement with Vocal

Description: Swing - Medium Difficult

Publisher: Jazz Lines Publications

Frank Sinatra's version of Don't Fence Me In can be considered an example of a hybrid arrangement. Most of the background figures behind the first melody statement were arranged by Lowell Martin (the first section of the arrangement), with the rest of the chart having been written by Billy May (the second part including the shout chorus). Despite being stitched together from two completely different works, the arrangement operates as seamless accompaniment to Sinatra's iconic vocals.

Frank Sinatra appeared on the Your Hit Parade program on December 23, 1944 and performed this song, which at the time was the #1 song in the country. The arrangement was conducted by Axel Stordahl and the Lucky Strike Orchestra. Stordahl counted off the arrangement a little too fast and Sinatra could not keep up with the fast pace of the lyrics. As a result, he stumbled on the words "underneath the Western skies." Then, after the phrase "I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences" he utters "too many words," most likely in an effort to explain his on-air slip-up. Shortly after his performance Sinatra was fired from the Your Hit Parade show supposedly due to his on-air comment about the lyrics.

A quick horn fanfare precedes Sinatra's entrance with the melody. The backgrounds underneath are definitely in the style of Sinatra's former employer, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and should be approached with an appropriate level of bounce and swing. It's also worth noting that the arrangement is taken at a slightly brighter clip than the song is normally associated with. Indeed, the brisk tempo even seemed to catch Sinatra off guard during a live recorded performance.

The full ensemble shout chorus begins at measure 35, and is largely based around the song's melody. Said melody is handled mostly by the brass, with a few measures at 43 being the exception. It's interesting to notice May's arranging style in an early stage here - take particular note of the "swooping" sax riff at measure 44. Sinatra re-enters at measure 51, at first accompanied only by some gently prodding strings before the Dorsey-esque horns return. The melody is played through one more time, concluding with another horn fanfare of equal brevity as the introduction.

This arrangement is for male vocalist with studio orchestra. In case you do not have access to horn players, trumpet 4 and trombone 4 function as alternate parts. This publication has been prepared using both Lowell Martin and Billy May's original pencil scores as well as the parts used during the radio performance.



Full Score
2 Alto Saxophones
2 Tenor Saxophones
Baritone Saxophone
3 Trumpets
Horn in F (Or Trumpet 4/Trombone 4)
3 Trombones
3 Violins
Harp (Optional)
Vocal Key: D
Trumpet 1: D6
Trombone 1: C5