25

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. Just from personal experience, but I know someone who only occasionally plays the guitar, but he has 3 on hand. Why? He found them for a couple hundred dollars. ...


23

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 recorded version ends in a vamp, it'll be based off of a repeated harmonic progression. Just end the progression in a cadence at some point. Often there's a brief ...


23

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 it further by doing this sort of thing." He proceeded to play the same song using ridiculously cool chord substitutions. My mind was blown, and I assumed ...


21

Great question! I just happen to have the Prelude on my desk at the moment - you've got a really interesting project on your hands there, but quite a lot of work - good luck! Hopefully I can add to jjmusicnotes really useful advice with some ideas that will make this a far simpler project for you. Firstly, from your question, it seems like you are "half-...


20

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.


19

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 limit; I can think of tons of scores with thirds below C4. Every musical environment is different, and sometimes you might want that slightly muddy sound. But if ...


19

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 for a pianist's hand. The chord he did write spans only an octave and so fits the pianist's hand. People writing for the piano prefer what is easier (and prefer ...


17

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" works if the original piece has a really cliché fadeout, and the audience is both familiar with the fadeout cliché, and recognizes that you are lampooning ...


15

MattPutnam's answer covered technical aspects very nicely. Here I have some further thoughts that are often overlooked. String quartets require you to be careful about more than notes. Even though the three (there are two violins in the quartet) instruments belong to the same family, they have each their own perks: they respond differently to dynamics; ...


15

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 large variety of volumes. In addition, an "acoustic fadeout" does not necessarily require all instruments to fade out exactly the same. It's actually rather ...


15

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 Buckley has written a dissertation on the subject: " Beethoven's Double Bass Parts: The Viennese Violone and the Problem of Lower Compass". One of the possible ...


15

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 note lower than an E I will do one of three things: If I’m playing 4 string and I need an Eb or a D for a song or two I drop my E string down to a D which can ...


13

When you have a cover song, what defines it is the melody. Two songs may have similar chord progressions, textures, and accompaniment, but the melody is truly what separates them. As long as you don't mess with the melody, you can do almost anything. Dr Mayhem listed a few, and I'll list a few more: Re-harmonize the accompaniment. Change the "feel" (...


13

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 emerging style of music does. Looking back even further, the roots of this vocal style can be traced back to the 1800s and are likely also traceable to African ...


12

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 situations, but it's an idea.


11

Dr Mayhem gives you loads of great ideas here. I can't really add much. But, as a counterpoint to his answer, I would say you need to think about what you don't change when doing a cover of a song. This might seem really obvious, but often you can work out what is most important about a song by trying to strip it back to absolute basics. A great song will ...


11

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 beat. Trying to get Violin 1 to play all four notes as written will probably be sound clumsy at this tempo, and it won't be as "ff" as something easier to play ...


9

Unfortunately, the answer to your question is one that you can only ultimately provide. Orchestration is an art form unto itself, and your choices are personal and unique to your sense of nuance and knowledge of the music. For example, a particular melody or line given to a cornet will sound differently if given to the flugelhorn instead; though the same ...


9

A simple shortlist of obvious ways to make it at least different (which may mean more interesting) is: change the time signature (have you ever tried playing a rock song as a waltz?) change the tempo (speeding up or slowing down can dramatically change a song) change the instruments (use guitars, ukeleles, bagpipes etc) change the vocal style (male voice ...


9

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 exclude the “worst-to-play usual notes” (elaborated below) on common brass instruments (except French horn) are overwhelmingly keys with flats. This is ...


9

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 intervals that are supposed to have color like 3rds and 6ths both will sound "muddied" to most. Perfect internals typically don't observe this problem. This is also ...


9

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 will of course need to be arpeggiated. This isn't that big a deal, and is part of the characteristic sound of violin stops. However, you also need to consider ...


9

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. This will vary by territory. I only know the UK stance on this, however… In the UK, you need no permission to simply cover a song. It is a legal requirement ...


9

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 an octave below that, and not as hard to reach, I prefer to play for people to sing it in key F. One very good reason for that is the fact that after 'Happy ...


8

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 be noted. When substituting closely related chords the function will be similar to that of what you are substituting, but not serve the exact function. For ...


8

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 voices, you want to make sure you have a bass line, the melody, and enough harmonic support in the inner voices to fill out the texture. This means that every ...


8

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 will have a brighter tone than the baritone/euphonium.) But in terms of range, the two instruments are pretty similar, and the baritone can certainly play the ...


8

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 plays two C#s, LH plays two Es. It is easier (for example) to bring out the notes in the RH, than to bring out the upper of two notes in each hand. (Well, yes, ...


8

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, for example, B-flat trumpet players C parts to know that this all too often leads in disaster. In the absence of C extensions, Solution #1 is really your only ...


8

I think you're talking about the 'truck driver' modulation. PLay it, then play it again, up one step! A composing/arranging technique more than an orchestration one. https://www.musical-u.com/learn/the-truck-drivers-gear-shift/ Here's a fun take-off of the technique!


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