I’ve tried to arrange a rap song for piano playing. The problem is that with the rap parts, how can I choose the notes to mimic the rap parts? (I have read this but still want to know what approach to use.)

  • 1
    Seeing as rap is an extension of patter-song, there is no melody, so you can't do this. Might as well ask how to arrange Shakespeare for string quartet. Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 14:11
  • @CarlWitthoft What about this? He mimicked the rap parts faithfully. I’d like to learn the approach for rap parts to arrange.
    – user506602
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 14:25
  • Other than the composer's name, that video of a piano arrangement gives me no hint that the original was rap. The arrangement is pianistically polished, but you'd have to explain what rappish aspects it captured, before I could say how it captured them. Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 15:24
  • @CamilleGoudeseune let’s say the most obvious part starts at 1.24 and this is the original part starts at 1.39. Please suggest.
    – user506602
    Commented Aug 5, 2019 at 15:43

1 Answer 1


From the example given by the OP in comments:

If the main accompaniment is gated-reverb percussion and bass, approximate that with unpedaled, nearly staccato, "stride piano" left hand.

If the chorus is sung louder than the verses, in the right hand melody, restrict octave doubling to the chorus.

Fill in other layers as you can, when either hand has a beat free, something like Thalberg's third hand trick.

To really open your ears, study Liszt's piano reductions of the Beethoven symphonies, available as an inexpensive Dover reprint. This wide range of textures easily covers what's found in rap. Study in particular what parts Liszt omitted.


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