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25 votes
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Why are so many pieces originally written for the lute now arranged for guitar?

Availability. Guitars are far more available than lutes. You can go down to any music store and buy a guitar for a very reasonable price. Even non-musicians will sometimes keep a guitar on hand. ...
anonymous2's user avatar
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24 votes
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How much of a jazz tune should I pre-arrange?

A relevant story I was in a lesson once with Arturo O'Farrill, a brilliant jazz pianist. He asked me to play a ballad, and when I was finished, he said something like "for that song, you can take ...
jdjazz's user avatar
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23 votes

How would you live perform a piece whose recording has a faded ending?

I'd recommend just finding a number of fade-out songs and looking for live videos on YouTube (etc.) to see how they're handled. There are a number of ways, but here are some common ones: If the ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.7k
20 votes

How to transcribe an arpeggiated 4-note chord to be playable on a violin?

The octave your violinist suggested is fine. Another possibility is the following: Why did Beethoven not write the above chord in his piano sonata? Because that major tenth is rather awkwardly wide ...
Rosie F's user avatar
  • 5,192
20 votes
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Low Eb on electric bass

There's plenty of 5-string basses out there. I'd just write it. You can give a 4-string player a get-out like this. But he'd do it anyway.
Laurence's user avatar
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19 votes
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"Only open voicing below middle C!" Really?

There are acoustical reasons for not wanting close voicing in the lower register; in short, the upper harmonics muddy each other up and fog up the sound. But in my experience, C4 is a really high ...
Richard's user avatar
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18 votes
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When to abide by Sibelius and not

You should consider the performer. An able player will be able to produce this without problem - but less experienced players will simply not be able to perform that note at all. Beginner trumpet ...
Brian THOMAS's user avatar
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17 votes

How would you live perform a piece whose recording has a faded ending?

Another option is to actually overplay the fade out! The singer slowly stepping away from the microphone, the drummer dramatically only slightly touching the drums, etc. This kind of "comic overdoing" ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
16 votes

Double basses in Beethoven's Eroica

Beethoven wrote those low notes even though he knew they were not playable on the instruments available. The subject of Beethoven's disregard for the range of the bass has been much discussed. Stephen ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
  • 21.4k
15 votes

How would you live perform a piece whose recording has a faded ending?

If a live all-acoustic band is trying to perform such pieces, it's not really feasible to do a fade. It's a little-known fact but most acoustic instruments and even vocals are capable of producing a ...
user32502's user avatar
  • 151
15 votes

Low Eb on electric bass

There is a big difference in the sound of the lowest Eb on a 4 string bass and an Eb an octave lower so if that is the sound you want go after it. As a bassist if I know someone wants that note or any ...
John Belzaguy's user avatar
13 votes
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Chord voicings used by backup trios in Motown girl groups?

This vocal style comes from the American traditions of close harmony. As popular music (and the radio) came into being in the 20th century, it took influence from the styles of its times, just as any ...
user45266's user avatar
  • 12.7k
12 votes

How would you live perform a piece whose recording has a faded ending?

What Gustav Holst did in... Neptune, I'm 99% sure ... was he had the female choir in another room, and someone slowly closed the door on them. Of course, that can't quite happen in most concert ...
user228118's user avatar
12 votes

Can saxophones be in orchestras, not just like the symphonic jazz orchestras/big band?

Yes, there is a body of classical, non-jazz music for saxophone, including works for orchestra. Although not a standard part of most orchestras, saxophones are added when needed.1 A 2014 article in ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 90.2k
11 votes

How to transcribe an arpeggiated 4-note chord to be playable on a violin?

Don't be so literal minded. This is easy to play, and effective: If the quartet know the original piano version, they can easily simulate the arpeggio simply by violin 2 playing a bit ahead of the ...
guest's user avatar
  • 111
10 votes
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Key choice for brass instruments

Adding to the narrative in other answers, here is a chart that might help further explain why brass players tend to prefer sheet music written in keys with flats. As is shown, written keys that ...
lauir's user avatar
  • 652
10 votes

What's the most comfortable key for a group to sing "Happy Birthday"

Either F or G are the keys I've played it in, with many different bands. That takes the high note - the one that's hardest for some to reach - a D, when in key G. However, since the lowest note is ony ...
Tim's user avatar
  • 194k
10 votes
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Notation for rapid diminuendo

The amount of annotation you can put in does of course depend on how much horizontal space you have in this bar (this can drastically limit the amount of ps you might put there). Writing molto dim ...
Lazy's user avatar
  • 21.3k
10 votes

What is the best way to notate an arrangement and melody for a low singing voice?

The standard way to do this is to notate the voice part on a separate staff. This clearly delineates the vocal part and accompaniment part(s). However, if it's necessary to notate on two staves, then ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 90.2k
9 votes

"Only open voicing below middle C!" Really?

Closed vocings aren't bad, but you need to be aware of the register you are in no matter what you compose. In lower registers, having notes close together isn't always what you want. Specifically ...
Dom's user avatar
  • 47.7k
9 votes

How to transcribe an arpeggiated 4-note chord to be playable on a violin?

Disclaimer: I'm not a violinist. What follows is all head-knowledge, not practical experience. As you know, since a violin bridge is curved, no more than two strings can sound at a time, so any chord ...
Caleb Hines's user avatar
  • 20.8k
9 votes

Do I have to pay royalties for using my own rearrangement of a famous song as videogame bgm?

Late edit Re the other, anonymous, answer Of course you have to pay [If I hadn't already made that clear] The main issue is whether you will be allowed to use it at all, if you've heavily modified it. ...
Tetsujin's user avatar
  • 27.8k
9 votes
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Double basses in Beethoven's Eroica

I would strongly advise against Solution #2 (tuning the string down). Especially if this is a school/amateur orchestra (as you say), this could wreak absolute havoc. I have enough experience giving, ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.7k
9 votes

Notation for rapid diminuendo

The Italian word 'niente' is usually used for 'nothing'. So you write "al niente" or "𝆓n". "𝆓ø" is often used instead of "𝆓n". According to Elaine Gould's ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
  • 21.4k
8 votes

Using SATB arrangements with a SAB choir

You certainly don't want to just leave out one of the parts; it will almost certainly have at least some vital musical information that will hurt the final product. Typically with arranging for three ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.7k
8 votes
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Can chord substitutions take place unrestrictedly without invalidating a progression?

First off, every progression is valid. Whether it sounds good, makes sense harmonically, or is what you want is entirely different. So every progression you list is valid, however some things should ...
Dom's user avatar
  • 47.7k
8 votes

Can a baritone be used for a trombone part?

There will be differences in the tone quality, because the baritone/euphonium is a conical bore instrument whereas the trombone is a cylindrical bore. (Generally speaking, this means that the trombone ...
Richard's user avatar
  • 84.7k
8 votes
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Why would a composer arrange chords such that hands cross on piano

The crossed version is quite easily playable (assuming you can reach octaves with ease), and it makes it easier to control the balance between the notes making the theme. So in the first chord, the RH ...
Brian Chandler's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How to arrange a song written on piano for guitar?

Don't try to find a "fastest possible way". In any case it won't be fast and easy. You're asking about eating an elephant - the only way to do it is: one piece at a time. Learning to sight-read a ...
piiperi Reinstate Monica's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

How to "fix" Toccata and fugue?

There is no "one fits all" procedure. What you want to do is arranging: cutting out parts, changing where notes are to fit the instrument or your hand. Arranging was and is very commonly ...
Soleil's user avatar
  • 654

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