Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

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Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby torben » 27 May 2022 18:39

Foreword by Hugh

The original title of this topic was Tonight, and it was posted in Instrumentals. However, the ideas behind what Torben has said deserve more of an airing, mainly because the Instrumentals section is for Members Only, and where it is now can be read by Guests as well as Members.

Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

When setting out to play a piece of music, what are you trying to achieve?

One approach can always be to try and get as close to the original arrangement as possible. Torben has done this with his "Tonight" recording, which he explains below.



Dear fellow musicians

When a composer creates a song he/she usually sets up a style/tempo or similar especially for this achievement.

This song can of course be played differently by others - in another tempo/style/rhytm etc.

But this would - in my view - many times “betray” the original idea of the composer. Which I hate to do.

Instead I usually stay as close as I can to the the composers idea. Or leave the song completely.

You might call the song the same as the original. But - do not be fooled - it is your own song - nothing like the original. Could be better or - unfortunately - in many case a lot worse. Which is not surprising. You are not the professional here…

So - in spite that some songs here on this forum are brought forward by the same name - I bring you my version of the original song “tonight” by the great composer Mr. L Bernstein:

Do a right-click to open this up in a New Tab.
https://app.box.com/s/rdx3nh6o8v41b1m3k87n64svalq19bho

This is a dramatic song in the musical. A song of do or die. Imagine the macho hero Tony in the musical singing this song in the rhumba rythm! :D Completely unthinkable! Out of question. Period!

Please enjoy - or hate!

Kind regards

Torben
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Re: Tonight

Postby JohnT » 27 May 2022 20:56

Hi Torben. Enjoyed your interpretation of this one. A different style and sounds I wasn’t expecting. I have posted the same one on bye challenge. John
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Re: Tonight

Postby Hugh-AR » 29 May 2022 20:46

Torben,

You have got that 'urgency' feeling created by the backing, and this is what we hear in the film (the main melody starts at 2:05):

West Side Story - Tonight (1961)



When the advert appears, click the X in the top right hand corner of the rectangle to get rid of it.

Indeed, congratulations Torben for getting the very essence of the music in the film.

Hugh
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Re: Tonight

Postby George » 01 Jun 2022 13:50

Hi, Torben,

Well that's a great Show classic enjoyed the arrangement and well played.

George.
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Re: Tonight

Postby kens » 01 Jun 2022 19:03

Spot on. Ken S.
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Re: Tonight

Postby torben » 02 Jun 2022 08:32

Thanks guys. Tried to play as true as I could to the original idea…

Best greetings

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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby theleans » 20 Jun 2022 09:08

Hi Torben,

Firstly, your view on the playing and interpretation of a song. I readily take your points, but have to disagree overall. Insofar, that many of us very much appreciate the artistry and creativity that a musician can produce, which means, that what we hear is ''The Musician', not just the song. !! The creative skills of a musician can be very much appreciated and enjoyed. The song, not always so.

Whilst I enjoyed your choice of song, which was well played, the orchestration and arrangement did nothing to tell me about 'the musical you'. You played it 'straight' so to speak, which might well have been close to the original, but told me nothing about you and your musical skills. Your 'own' arrangement and orchestration would have done so. !! Cheers,

Colin
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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby theleans » 20 Jun 2022 09:10

Sorry Torben, I should have used my username to sign off with. It is 'theleans'. Cheers,

theleans.
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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby Hugh-AR » 20 Jun 2022 13:13

Colin,

Signing off with your 'real name' is perfect! We prefer this forum to be a group of individual people rather than a collection of faceless pseudonyms. I much prefer a "Hi Colin" to "Hi, theleans".

What you have said is very true. We all put out own 'stamp' on what we play, and I reckon you only have to listen to a piece being played to know who is playing it. Jon D using his expression pedal (volume pedal) to give 'lift' to his music .. and never playing a melody 'straight' is unmistakable. I personally like to use a Left Hand Voice when I play as I like to hear the harmony of the piece in the background .. and play my chord inversions to get the sound I want to hear. Ken plays an organ so doesn't just 'hold chords down'. Fingers of both hands are moving in all directions. That's how an organ should be played. Brian will often put little counter-melodies into what he plays, either from what he hears in the music .. or just what he thinks will embellish the song he is playing.

Must admit, it is fun to put your own interpretation into a piece of music.

Hugh
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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby theleans » 21 Jun 2022 09:29

Hi Hugh,

Thanks for your response. I was hoping to have a response from Torben, but nothing as yet. So, I've taken the liberty of sending here something I've done, which hopefully will demonstrate my point of 'not copying' original arrangements etc. This is a medley of Gershwin songs, which is totally my arrangement and orchestration. No music - purely by ear - no outside apps or programs - my arrangement - actual key changes - and most definitely all my own work, just on my Tyros 4.

I hope this demonstrates the point. !! And perhaps others might like to listen to it. - Cheers,

Do a right-click to open this up in a New Tab.
https://app.box.com/s/7mkc8ixqq3hu8hneuzy6
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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby Hugh-AR » 21 Jun 2022 17:10

Colin,

That was certainly very different, and you must have brought out just about every available sound you have on your keyboard!

Hugh
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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby JohnT » 21 Jun 2022 18:21

Hi Colin. Well where do I start. Loved your interpretation of the tunes and the varied use of sounds. I often wish I could just sit down and play a tune from memory and not just visualising the dots, putting my own stamp on it. Making full use of sounds and keys. Not been frightened of making errors, having runs etc to enhance a performance. I think however you must have a natural ability to play in the first place. Must try and practice something different and not just playing the dots. However throughly enjoyed your performance. Food for thought. John
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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby torben » 21 Jun 2022 21:18

Hi guys

Interesting answers etc. But I think that some of you got me wrong.

We can all - if we are able to do it - try to make our own interpretation of the songs we play. We change orchestration, voices, rhythm, improvise etc. etc. Fine - BUT to me there are limits. If we leave the essence - the idea - of the song we are gone to a place that we should not be. Then things become ridiculous.

Like this song from West Side Story played in a rhumba rhythm. Or playing The Hills Are Alive from the Sound Of Music in a cha cha rhythm.

So as I said, I always try to stay true to the idea of the composer. And that is I at least think where we should be.

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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby Brian007 » 22 Jun 2022 07:28

Hi ALL,

My 10 Pence worth is play it as you feel it , after all we are all different and have and enjoy different tastes in music and are therefore bound to have different ideas about how we play a song.

All the best, Brian007
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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby theleans » 22 Jun 2022 08:22

Sorry Torben, I have to disagree.

Music, and one's taste in music is 'personal'. In any event, the actual playing ability of the individual is bound to influence what the player plays, and his/her interpretation. There is no 'right or wrong', merely interpretation. It's personal, and most definitely not 'ridiculous'. - Cheers,

Colin.
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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby Hugh-AR » 22 Jun 2022 14:00

Torben,

You said in your original post:
This song can of course be played differently by others - in another tempo/style/rhythm etc. You might call the song the same as the original. But - it is your own song - nothing like the original.

In other words, the song can be played completely differently ... not trying to re-create the work of the original composer. As you say, it is your own song and you have created your own arrangement of the piece as you see it .. or maybe I should say, as you hear it. Many songs are interpreted differently from the way the original composer had written them, and it is often the new interpretation that has caught the imagination and become a 'hit' of the day.

Here is an interpretation of Tonight by George Turner (George), who says:
"Tonight" is a song from the 1957 musical West Side Story with music written by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It was published in 1956.

When George played this he 'arranged' it as a piece of music to be listened to in its entirety 'as an instrumental', and not as part of a film story with words.



Now as far as a piece of music is concerned I personally much prefer to listen to George's interpretation of this piece to listening to the original. So there you go! As Colin says, it's all a matter of individual taste in what we like to listen to.

Hugh
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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby torben » 22 Jun 2022 16:10

OK OK

Let us agree to disagree …


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Re: Your objectives when arranging a piece of music to play?

Postby kens » 23 Jun 2022 09:33

Hi!

Your final post put it in a nutshell. Ken S.
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