What you need to know
Members are strongly advised to obtain written confirmation of all engagements. The MU provides minimum rates and standard contracts for arrangers and copyists.
In cases where standard MU contracts are not used, written evidence of engagements is essential. A letter or note should specify the date, time and place of the engagement, the fee, and that the engagement is subject to Musicians’ Union rates and conditions. You should ensure that such a letter or note is signed by someone who is fully authorised to do so.
Remember, the MU cannot always assist if you do not have such a contract, or your agreement does not fully protect your rights.
Often, an artist or other commissioner will want to record or perform an existing musical work but in an edited format and/or with a different orchestration. An arranger will receive a brief to this effect and work to modify the piece to these specifications
It is vital to remember that making an arrangement of a work requires the prior permission of the copyright owner. The Music Publishers’ Association can assist you in locating the relevant publishing company. Where an arrangement has been commissioned by a third party for their own use you should ensure that they are responsible for obtaining permission and have written confirmation that they have done so.
Copyists assemble and extract parts from scores, copying out musical scores and parts for as many instruments as are needed for a particular arrangement.
They play an essential role for composers, in theatres, publishing houses, film and television, ensuring that players and conductors work from parts that accurately reflect what the composer intends.