At The Cross/ The Old Rugged Cross


                                               Photo Credit: Devotionals Daily
 While [Jesus] was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. — Luke 17:11 (NASB)
He was headed to Jerusalem. He was headed to the cross.
This is why He came.

One of my favorite online blogging friends is Yoke Wong. If you haven't met her yet, please visit her site at http://www.pianomother.com Anyways, she has arranged a beautiful song I'm sure you're familiar with, "The Old Rugged Cross" that was written by George Bennard. Have you played it before? Her arrangement of the song is written in the Key of Bb. Yoke has thrown in some grace notes to give it that country twang sound. I like it! 
First, here is the chord chart in key of A:

    A         A7            D           B7
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
     E          E7           A
The emblem of suff'ring and shame;
       A             A7               D          B7
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
       E             E7          A
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

              E          E7          A
     So I'll cherish the old rugged cross.
              D                       A
     Till my trophies at last I lay down;
             A                       D
     I will cling to the old rugged cross,
           A               E         A
     And exchange it some day for a crown.

Oh that old rugged cross, so despised by the world.
Has a wondrous attraction for me,
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,
To bear it to dark cavalry.

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see.
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross, I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear,
Then He'll call on some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share.
 
good friday cross on the hill photo
 
 Key of Bb
L.H./R.H.

    Csus        Dm11/G           EbMaj7    Cmin
On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
     F         F7           Bb
The emblem of suff'ring and shame;
       Fsus4/Bb       Bb            Eb7/G        C min/Eb
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
       F7                       Bb
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

              Am7(#5)/F          Gm7/Bb    Bb
     So I'll cherish the old rugged cross.
              Ebm           Bbsus/Eb  Dm7(#5)/Bb         
     Till my trophies at last I lay down;
      Bbm      Gm7            F7      Ebm
     I will cling to the old rugged cross,
           Gsus/C         Dm/F      Fmb9#5 Bbmb9#5 Bb9
     And exchange it some day for a crown.

Oh that old rugged cross, so despised by the world.
Has a wondrous attraction for me,
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above,
To bear it to dark cavalry.

In the old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see.
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died
To pardon and sanctify me.

To the old rugged cross, I will ever be true,
Its shame and reproach gladly bear,
Then He'll call on some day to my home far away,
Where His glory forever I'll share.
  




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I hope that Good Friday is special and meaningful for you and the family.

Blessings,
 




"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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Learn To Play The Wonderful Cross

Chris performing live in concert in Nashville,...
Chris performing live in concert in Nashville, Tennessee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Easter season is upon us, one of my favorite celebrations, and I'd like to post some related songs in the next few days or so.
The Wonderful Cross was written by Jesse Reeves, Chris Tomlin and J.D. Walt
© 2000 WorshipTogether.com SONGS (ASCAP) and sixsteps Music (ASCAP)
It's a moderately fast song in the Key of D, with 2 sharps F# and C#. I've highlighted the chords from my songbook in blue and as you can see, it's relatively easy to play. It's often sung on Good Friday. The hymn, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross", was written by Isaac Watts, and published in Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1707.
VERSE 1:
D                 G        D
When I survey the wondrous cross
D            G         D     A
On which the Prince of glory died,
D                 G         D
My richest gain I count but loss,
D           A               D
And pour contempt on all my pride.

VERSE 2:
D                      G          D
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
D          G          D       A
Sorrow and blood flow mingled down:
D                      G      D
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
D                    A      D
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

CHORUS:
       G         D/F#             G         D/F#
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
        G                D/F#               A
Bids me come and die and find that I may truly live
       G         D/F#             G         D/F#
Oh the wonderful Cross, oh the wonderful Cross
        G              D/F#
All who gather here by grace draw near
    A
And bless Your name

VERSE 3:
D                       G       D
Were the whole realm of Nature mine,
D            G        D        A
That were an offering far too small;
D                G     D
Love so amazing, so divine,
D                    A       D
Demands my soul, my life, my all!

Here's the breakdown with slash chords.

L.H. / R.H.

Verse 1-3

D/F#AD  When I sur-
D/ADF#  vey
D/ADE    the
D/ADG   won-
D/ADF#  drous
D/ADF#  cross on which the
D/ADG   Prince
D/ADF#  of
D/ADF#  Glor-
D/AC#E  ry
D/ADE    died

D/F#AD  my richest
D/ADF#  gain
D/ADE    I
D/ADG   count
D/ADF#  but
D/ADF#  loss, and pour con-
D/ADE    tempt
D/F#AD  on
D/ADE    all
D/ADF#  my
D/F#AD  pride.


Chorus

D/DF#A  O
D/F#AD  the
G/DGC    won-
G/GBD    der-
G/DGB    ful
F#/DF#A  cross, O
F#/F#AD  the
G/DGC     won-
G/GBD     der
G/DGB     ful
G/DF#A    cross
F#/ADF#   bids
F#/ADF#   me
G/BDA     come and
G/GBD     die and
G/ADA     find
F#/ADF#   that
F#/F#AD   I may
F#/AC#F#  tru-
A/AC#G    ly
A/AC#E    live.
A/C#EA    O
A/EAD     the
G/DGC     won-
G/GBD     der
G/DGB     ful
G/DF#A    cross,
F#/DF#A   O
F#/F#AD   the
G/DGC      won-
G/GBD      der
G/DGB     ful
F#/DF#A   cross;
F#/ADF#   all
F#/DF#A   who
F#/BDA     gath-
G/GBD      er here by
G/ADA      grace
F#/ADF#   draw
F#/F#AE    near and
F#/AC#F#  bless
A/AC#G    Your
A/AC#E     name
D/F#AD

10 Disc Vocal Mastery Program

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Blessings,






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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Five Building Blocks of Music

5 building blocks of music
5 Building Blocks of Music

 Beginner's Corner

I was observing my three-year-old grandson playing with his wooden blocks and watching him turn these blocks into some beautiful buildings. I thought about how books are structured with letters, words and punctuation marks that turn into stories.

When I teach children how to read sheet music, they learn that music has its own symbols. It is not all about music notes but there are signs and symbols to learn as well.

 Here are five basic signs to learn.

1. The Grand Staff
2. The Clef
5. Bar Lines and Measures

The Grand Staff has five lines and four spaces in the Treble Clef, which the notes written on the staff. The notes for the right hand are usually written on the top of the staff and the notes for the left hand are on the bottom staff, with 5 lines and 4 spaces. When you begin learning to read notes that are on the Grand staff, I call this the right hand shaking hands with the left hand, you'll see that both staffs are connected with a bar line and bracket. We call this the Grand Staff. Now your sheet music will have 10 lines and 8 spaces.
Here's what the dictionary says:


The Clef is the symbol at the beginning of each staff. It tells you what each note is. In the G Clef or some call it Treble Clef, the second line from the bottom is the G note. Sometimes I refer to it as a kitty sitting on the fence and it's tail wraps around the G line.

The F or Bass Clef looks like a backwards C with two dots on either side of the F line. The F is the second line from the top. You can figure out all the other notes from there. The notes written in the bass clef are played with your left hand.

The Key Signature is always at the beginning of each line of music and you will often see sharps or flats written on the staff. They tell you which notes are always sharp or flat in the music.

Time Signature has two numbers, one on the top and one on the bottom. It looks like a fraction in mathematics without the line. It is one number on top of the other. The top number tells you how many beats there will be in each measure, and the bottom number shows you what kind of note is the beat and gets one count.

Bar lines are thin pencil-like lines that divide a measure from the next one. There is usually a double bar line at the end of a piece. A double bar line, that has two dots before it is called a repeat sign. This tells you to play part of the music again. You can find a repeat sign at the end of the first line of music, somewhere in the middle of the song or at the end. Look for it. You'll want to play the verses of a song and repeat the chorus, too.

Now the measures in music is the space between the bar lines. Each measure has the same number of beats. Many times you will notice that measures are numbered and this helps group player performing a duet or for a conductor to regroup all the instruments to begin playing at measure nine. Indeed, it is fun to learn the building blocks of music.
One of the best theory books I recommend and I mean it's a huge one in learning lots of music principles is 300pg Course Book. Be sure and use a pencil with this one because you'll be filling in lots of blanks for future reference and quick recall for some answers.

All the best and keep practicing!






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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God Is Great: Hillsong

A View of Earth from Saturn

I love this worship song, God Is Great by Hillsong. Here it is on Youtube. Towards the end of this post you'll see the chord chart in Bb. That's what key our team plays it in. Do you like it?


Here are a few chord charts I found online for whatever range your voice
 is comfortable singing in. 



 
VERSE 1:
G      C                Dsus D
All creation cries to you
G                 C             Dsus D
worshipping in spirit and in truth
Em7    C                Dsus
glory to the faithful one
  Em  D              C2 D C2 D
Jesus Christ God's Son
G     C                    Dsus D
All creation gives you praise
G     C                 Dsus D
You alone are truely great
Em7    C                  Dsus
You alone are God who reigns
Em   D    C Dsus C Dsus
For Eternity

CHORUS:
         G              C               Dsus             C
God is Great and His praise fills the Earth fills the Heavens
          G             C/E                      Dsus  D
And Your name will be praised through all the world
         G              C               Dsus          C
God Is great Sing His praise all the earth all the Heavens
               Em7           C             Dsus
Cause we're living for the Glory of Your Name
       D           C  Em7  Dsus  D
The Glory of Your name

VERSE 2:
G      C                Dsus D
All to You O God we bring
G        C              Dsus D
Jesus teach us how to live
Em7       C            Dsus
Let Your fire burn in Us
  Em  D  C                     Dsus
That all may hear and all may see

BRIDGE:
G    C       D                     Em7  C   
            Dsus D
Holy is the Lord, The wole earth sings the Whole earth sings (3xs)

CHORUS KEY CHANGE:
         A              D               Esus             D
God is Great and His praise fills the Earth fills the Heavens
          A             D/F                      Esus  E
And Your name will be praised through all the world
         A              D               Esus          D
God Is great Sing His praise all the earth all the Heavens
               F#m7          D             Esus
Cause we're living for the Glory of Your Name
       E           D  F#m7  Esus  E
The Glory of Your name
 
 
 
God He Reigns
B       E                      F#
All creation cries to you
B                           E               F#
 Worshipping in spirit and in truth 
G#m7 E                    F#
Glory to the faithful one
G#m7  F#                  E   F#   E   F#
Jesus Christ god’s son


All creation gives you praise
You alone are truly great 
You alone are god who reigns 
For eternity 

CHORUS: 
               B                  E
God is great and his praise
                  F#                E
Fills the earth fills the heavens 
                  B                   G#m7
And your name will be praised 
                           F#
Through all the world
               B                E
God is great and his praise 
              F#                   E
Fills the earth fills the heavens 
                     G#m7              E                  F#                   
Cause we’re living for the glory of your name
         E     G#m7   F#
The glory of your name



All to you o god we bring
Jesus teach us how to live
Let your fire burn in us
That all may hear that all may see

CHORUS

B       E        F#
Holy is the lord
                             G#m7
The whole earth sings
E                         F#
The whole earth sings
(Repeat)
CHORUS 
 
church worship
 
 
Bb       Eb           F
All creation cries to you
Bb              Eb             F
 Worshipping in spirit and in truth 
Gm7   Eb              F
Glory to the faithful one
Gm    F            Eb   F   Eb   F
Jesus Christ god’s son


All creation gives you praise
You alone are truly great 
You alone are god who reigns 
For eternity 

CHORUS: 
        Bb           Eb
God is great and his praise
           F              Eb
Fills the earth fills the heavens 
          Bb          Gm7
And your name will be praised 
                  F
Through all the world
        Bb             Eb
God is great and his praise 
              F            Eb
Fills the earth fills the heavens 
              Gm7           Eb            F                   
Cause we’re living for the glory of your name
      Gm  F       Eb F Eb F Bb (to verse)
The glory of your name



All to you o god we bring
Jesus teach us how to live
Let your fire burn in us
That all may hear that all may see

CHORUS

Bb       Eb  F
Holy is the Lord
                  Gm7
The whole earth sings
Eb                F
The whole earth sings
(Repeat)
CHORUS

 Hillsong United                                                               
Mighty to Save
                       
Also, you may be interested in the world's first calculator for musicians.
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 All the best,
 





"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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Learn To Play The Solid Rock

morro rock
Morro Rock

One morn­ing it came into my mind as I went to la­bour, to write an hymn on the ‘Gra­cious Ex­per­i­ence of a Christ­ian.’ As I went up Hol­born I had the chor­us,
‘On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.’
In the day I had four first vers­es com­plete, and wrote them off. On the Sab­bath fol­low­ing I met bro­ther King as I came out of Lisle Street Meet­ing…who in­formed me that his wife was ve­ry ill, and asked me to call and see her. I had an ear­ly tea, and called af­ter­wards. He said that it was his usu­al custom to sing a hymn, read a por­tion, and en­gage in pray­er, be­fore he went to meet­ing. He looked for his hymn-book but could find it no­where. I said, ‘I have some vers­es in my pock­et; if he liked, we would sing them.’ We did, and his wife en­joyed them so much, that af­ter ser­vice he asked me, as a fa­vour, to leave a co­py of them for his wife. I went home, and by the fire­side com­posed the last two vers­es, wrote the whole off, and took them to sis­ter King…As these vers­es so met the dy­ing wo­man’s case, my at­ten­tion to them was the more ar­rest­ed, and I had a thou­sand print­ed for dis­tr­ibu­tion. I sent one to the Spir­it­u­al Mag­a­zine, with­out my ini­tials, which ap­peared some time af­ter this. Bro­ther Rees, of Crown Street, So­ho, brought out an edi­tion of hymns [1836], and this hymn was in it. Da­vid Den­ham in­tro­duced it [1837] with Rees’ name, and others af­ter…Your in­sert­ing this brief out­line may in fu­ture shield me from the charge of stealth, and be a vin­di­ca­tion of truth­ful­ness in my con­nect­ion with the Church of God.
Edward Mote
Let­ter to the Gos­pel Her­ald
My Hope Is Built


boat dock in morro bay
Boat Dock in Morro Bay

 The Solid Rock

(Matt. 7:24-27)


1976, Paragon Associates, Inc.
Words and Music by Edward Mote and William Bradbury




    E      C#m      F#m      B
My hope is built on nothing less,
      A      F#m       A    B   E
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
   E        C#m        F#m      B
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
      A    F#m      A B    E
But wholly lean on Jesus' Name.

            E                A
      On Christ the solid rock I stand,
          E      C#m      F#m      B
      All other ground is sinking sand,
          A      F#m       B       E
      All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
 

Edward Mote was born in London in 1797. His parents managed a London pub
 and left Edward much to his own devices. "My Sundays were spent in the 
streets," said Edward of his younger years. "So ignorant was I that I did not know that there was a God."



boat returning to the bay
Boat Returning At Dusk
 

Another Version


 
Chorus

                              A

On Christ the solid Rock I stand

        E              Bsus  B

All other ground is sinking sand

        E             B     E/G# A2 E2 E/G# A2 E 

All other ground is sinking sand



Verse 1

        E            Bsus   B

My hope is built on nothing less

          A            B        E Esus

Than Jesus' blood and righteousness

                             
           B
I dare not trust the sweetest frame

        A          B        E

But wholly lean on Jesus' Name



(REPEAT CHORUS)



Verse 2

  E                      Bsus  B

When darkness veils His lovely face

    A                B   E Esus

I rest on His unchanging grace

                            
         B
In every high and stormy gale

     A            B        E

My anchor holds within the veil



(REPEAT CHORUS)



Verse 3

E                    Bsus B

His oath His covenant His blood

    A              B       E Esus

Support me in the whelming flood

                   B            

When all around my soul gives way

     A             B       E

He then is all my Hope and Stay



(REPEAT CHORUS)



Verse 4

E                       Bsus    B

When He shall come with trumpet sound

   A             B      E Esus

Oh may I then in Him be found

                                    
                B
Dressed in His righteousness alone

    A              B            E

Faultless to stand before the throne



(REPEAT CHORUS)

  Young Edward took up an apprenticeship with a cabinetmaker, and at sixteen his master took him to hear the preaching of Tottenham Court Chapel's John Hyatt. This experience would change Mote's life, for it was here that he dedicated himself to Jesus Christ.
The Solid Rock History

many boats in morro bay
Beautiful Morro Bay Harbor

Hillsongs Version

Verse 1:
   D                A                        G                    D
My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus's blood and righteousness

D                    A                     G              A      D
I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus's name


Chorus:
                      G                 D                       A
On Christ, the solid rock, i stand; All other ground is sinking sand

      D               A      D
All other ground is sinking sand

Arrangement in Key of G

They who trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be moved... Ps. 125:1

B/D           My
GB/DG     hope
GB/DB     is
GB/GD    built
GD/GB    on
DD/GB    noth-
DD/F#A  ing
DD/F#A  less
GD/GB    than
CE/GC     Jesus' blood
CC/EA     and
DB/DG    right-
DA/DF#   eous
GB/DG    ness
GB/D       I
GB/DG    dare
GB/DB    not
GB/GD    trust
GD/GB    the
DD/GB    sweet-
DD/F#A  est frame
GD/GB    but
CE/GC    wholly
CE/GC     lean
CC/EA     on
DB/DG    Je-
DA/DF#  sus
GB/DG    name.

GB/GD   On
GB/GD   Christ
AC/F#D  the
BD/GD   sol
GB/GD   id
CC/GC   Rock, I stand; All
GB/GD  oth-
G/DB     ther ground
GB/DG  is
GG/DB  sink-
BG/DB  ing
DF#/DA sand,
CF#/D    All
BG/DG   oth-
GG/BG   er
CG/EG   ground
GG/DB   is
DG/DA   sink-
DF#/CA ing
GG/BG  sand

 Enjoy playing this wonderful hymn full of assurance.

Become A Better Church Pianist Now!
Learn How To Play Hymns Using Color Chords
& Exciting Runs & Fillers


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Blessings,






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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Arranging Fundamentals: Reinventing Melodies

The New York Trombone Conspiracy
The New York Trombone Conspiracy


I found this wonderful article by Pete McGuinness in my 2007 JAZZed Magazine. I found it very relevant for today. Let me know what you think. Oh, you might want to read more information about him at, www.petemcguinness.com

Arrangement Fundamentals: Reinventing Melodies


 Some of the greatest experiences an arranger can have are the opportunities to lovingly "mess with" someone else's melody. It is also the one aspect of arranging which I've found that less experienced musicians are the most intimidated by. However, altering aspects of a song's melody shouldn't be looked upon as something that is taboo. Rather, the process can be thought of as actually paying tribute to what makes a work great in the first place.

Selection and Approach

When picking a melody I want to reformat, I always try to select a tune I feel a strong personal connection with. But even when working with lesser material, it is important to find something to love about the given tune and to deeply understand the song's structure and history. This will keep you inspired and informed, helping creative ideas come more easily.
If the selected tune is one the average listener is generally familiar with, then the way an arranger treats it can act as a window into his or her creative thinking and personal style. Whenever possible, it helps to start by listening to a recording of the original version of the song, or at least a version done in the traditional manner. This will help make clear the tune's original intention as a composition. Assuming there exists plenty of freedom to alter various aspects of the song (melody, harmony, style, meter, etc.), the most crucial choice the arranger first makes is with respect to the new overall "feel" of the composition. This decision should be allowed to evolve very generally, by choosing basic things like tempo, overall level of tension, and so on.
Then, the arranger should pick a rhythmic style that best addresses those overall ideas. For example, if I want to turn a standard-sounding ballad into something "fast" and more "tense" in mood, I might select a samba for the groove, with a heavily syncopated treatment of the melody, perhaps adding some unusual re-harmonizations as well. Maybe
I would also incorporate some kind of underlying rhythmic vamp figure, which could possibly enhance the feeling of tension. Not every change of groove or tempo is going to work for the arranger, personally. He or she must sit with the tune for a while and play around until something feels right. It's really a matter of taste. 
The idea here is to convince the listener that your new arrangement of the tune could, in fact, be the originally intended version - very tricky to pull off! But, if the arranger is familiar enough with the rhythmic and stylistic language of many styles of music (underlying drum patterns, bass lines/comping patterns, traditional rhythmic treatment of melodies), he or she will have more options, and the music will sound authentic. Personally, I find this to be one of the most fun parts of the arranging process.
I suggest trying lots of approaches out. You may find that you can hear the tune in more than one new context, so you should give yourself time to find the "right" one. Most importantly, pick one in which you can hear the melody work within the rhythmic style. Remember, it is generally the melody that is the most important aspect of any song, so deal with it first. You can worry about re-harmonization, orchestration, and everything else later. They are the icing on the cake in comparison (the exception being a more conservative alteration of the melody in favor of other changes, such as more heavy reharmonization, vamps, etc.) Regardless of the style chosen, let it be one that is familiar to you. I often start by listening to classic recordings, typical of the genre I've chosen for my chart, in order to get my head into the specifics of the style. Then, I'll think about the structure of the melody I'm arranging in relation to this chosen groove.
In some situations, this may seem like putting a square peg into a round hole, but if you think about the original rhythmic design of the tune's pitches, and compare that to traditional melodies in the chosen style, you may see rhythmic possibilities leap out at you. Trust your ear and your knowledge of the style. Remember, there is some reason you first chose this approach for the tune (or more likely, it chose you). Start by experimenting with the layout of the pitches. If the song has lyrics, even if the arrangement is to be an instrumental, try to hear the lyrics of the song as you restructure the pitches. Do the words still seem to have a grammatical flow and logic? Melodic structures working with lyrics are often composed with this in mind. How about rhythmic sequences in the original's phrases? Where's the tune's climax (usually the highest note somewhere towards the end)? The arranger must thoroughly understand the important features of the tune's original melodic structure, and use technique to "comment" on them.

Interpreting a Smile

If you look at the notation examples, I've prepared, you'll see various re-working of a song near and dear to my heart, "Smile," by Charlie Chaplin for the soundtrack to his film Modern Times (1936)...
In the examples below, I've tried to come up with several possible contexts in which "Smile" might appear, while trying to retain as much of the tunes original character as possible. Example 1 is simply the straightforward, unaltered presentation of the song's first four bars (for reference). Notice that the first note is a longer time value (half note) than the notes that follow.

Arranging : Rhythmic Context Change

Ex.1) Original, unaltered version (first four vars)

4/4  C  D E / D C B A / B  C D / C B A G

If you clearly establish what the tune is early on, you will have more liberty to stray further from the tune later on... Notice the various grooves and styles that have been chosen, and how the melody has been made to fit rhythmically. In examples 2-6, only the original pitches were used, nothing extra.
Ex. 2) With common swing-type phrasing (various tempi)

4/4 rest C D E D /  tie C B A B / tie C D C / tie B A G

Ex. 3) As a bossa-nova
4/4 rest C tie D E D / tie C B tie A / rest rest B tie C D C / tied b A tied G
Ex. 4) As a samba
2/4 rest C D E D / rest C rest B rest A B / tie C tie D C / tie B A G A
Ex. 5) As a jazz waltz
3/4 rest C rest D E / D C B A / B rest C D / C B A G A
Ex. 6) Light swing - playing around drum brushwork (i.e. "Soft Shoe")
4/4 C rest rest D E D / rest rest C B A / rest B C D C / rest rest B rest A G

Ex. 7) With embellishments around melody's original pitches
                                                            
4/4 C rest D E D B E D / rest G C D C B C A tied / rest rest B C D C / rest G D E B A B G tied

In Closing

... The key is to have enough of both reused and varied material to keep things interesting. This is part of the game of arranging - the fun of pulling the listener along, giving them something to guide their ears through the chart, such as reuse of material, as well as offering surprises along the way. Good luck. I hope you will feel more confident that it is okay to "mess with" other people's music, even famous tunes. If your arrangement is done well, you may find that the composer will be very flattered!
Great article, thank you!

You may be interested in Backpocket Band Software
Back Pocket Band is a unique best metronome like product that is much more than a traditional metronome. Back Pocket Band provides a track-like experience including a drum beat, base, or cool slamming grooves!
Here's one example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfoCBgQLcXk

All the best,






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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The Art of Piano Chord Voicings

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Piano Chord Voicings

There's lots of music talk about voicings. So, what are they to the musician? What is this all about?

The Art of Voicing is a manner in which one distributes or spaces the notes of chords. When you listen to music, you probably focus on the melody. That is the familiar part of a tune that is easy to hear.

When you sing along or hum throughout some of the music, it is the melody and not the background that you think of. To have this important part of the music stand out, the melody should be louder than the accompaniment. However, this is not always easy to do.

Every voicing should flow smoothly to the next one and your hands will more than likely be moving just a little. By voicing chords you bring attention to certain notes more than others. So sometimes instead of using a clear melody, artists play a bunch of double notes and chords. You should always voice all double notes and chords to give them more clarity.

If you are playing all the notes at the same volume, you cannot hear the melody very clearly. So you will want to pick out the one note in each chord to play a bit louder. This is what we mean by voicing.

If your hands are jumping all over the place, you are probably not using good voice leading. The art of voice leading is the smooth movement of notes from one chord to the next. Very often the note you should voice is on the top of the chord, but sometimes the middle voices have hidden melodies that are more interesting than the top voice.

When looking at a chord passage in your music, decide which voice needs more sound and which can be played softer. Listen to other recordings of pianists bringing out the top voice for each chord in the right hand.

With practice try playing the middle note of a chord louder than the other two notes. Next, focus on the bottom note of a chord. Think of chords being sung in a choir. Each note is a different voice such as bass, tenor, alto and soprano. Your ear will usually hear the soprano sing and ride on the melody line. Those wonderful harmony parts add so much color, flavor and tone in the background of the song.

Voicings become easier to play and you will discover that your hands are barely moving especially when it comes to shell voicings since the roots are moving down in fifths or up in fourths. Later on you will learn more left hand voicings in bebop style, rootless left hand voicings and rootless shell voicings. When the left hand plays the third and seventh of each chord, these rootless shell voicings allow the right hand the freedom to improvise.

Blues Piano Voicing (YouTube)




You may be interested in:

Jazz101 and Jazz201 or Tritones

*affiliate links in post*

All the best,






"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you." B.B.King
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