The Art of Arranging

Being a good trumpet player, I am often asked, along with some others, to play at church. In these situations, it calls for me to have to transpose piano music to fit the key of the trumpet.

This is a rather simple process, as all that is required is raising each step by one whole step. Viola! Sometimes, if the music is simple, it's not hard to do this in your head, but if it's a rather complex piece, you're better off just writing it out by hand.

The below picture shows the first piece I transposed for church accompaniment.

{Please note that this was a few years back}

But, as you'll notice, the topic of this post isn't about transposition, it's about arranging. Taking music that already exists, and changing it, reformatting it, transposing it. It's a rather difficult task. I first dabbled with arranging last spring, when I sorta just played with the song 'Amazing Grace', and fancied it up a bit. In late June, though, was when I really began to arrange bigger pieces, for more instruments. At camp I took on the challenge of taking trumpet music for the song 'A Whole New World' and arranging trombone and cello parts to go along with it. 
And now I've accomplished another arrangement.

Last week at handbell choir, my dear friend Elrania gave me a proposition. 'Cornet Crazie!' She said to me. 'We should play a duet in church sometime. You on trumpet, and me on clarinet.'

That got me thinking. All we needed now was a good song, and it could be easily arranged and formatted to fir a trumpet and a clarinet. My body burned with a deep desire to have something to arrange. After all, I had been arranging deprived since early July. And then, while cleaning out my room I found the choral arrangement of the song 'When You Believe' from Prince of Egypt.

Yes, I thought. This piece would be perfect. So I set to work. 

Arranging this piece was extremely difficult. It was a monstrous load of writing, it being a rather lengthy song, but boy was it worth it. After an entire week spent scratching out rhythms and notes onto blank composition paper, I had a song. I had two parts. I had a new arrangement. If I had not been sitting in the library when I finished, I would have jumped up joyfully screaming when I finished, that's how happy I was. After arranging a piece, you feel so fulfilled, so happy, so accomplished. But the best part really? Playing the music and being able to say 'Oh yeah. I wrote that.'

Arranging music, it's an art I'm glad to have found.



Emma said...

Wow! That's some pretty tough stuff! I would love to be that musically talented! :) Go you!

*Shadowflower* said...

Very cool!!!