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Author Topic: Having fun re-arranging music  (Read 3572 times)

Tom

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Having fun re-arranging music
« on: June 22, 2014, 07:36:20 PM »
I'm not a "musician" per se, although I wish I was. I "play" various instruments, but my music really comes from my singing and my ability to "hear" a tune.

With that caveat, I've recently been getting some fun out of "re-arranging" a number of songs; Simple key changes, substituting chords, changing the beat, and changing lyrics are all things I've been playing around with. In each case, I have to play/sing the change, and my ears tell me if it sounds right.

One of my re-arrangements is a medley that I hope/plan to present to our uke band. It's really an instructional piece, showing the options available using a simple (aka easy to play) chord progression.

Separately, I'm working on a number of songs from around the world. It's going to take some time, as I have to learn lyrics in various languages. Probably not ready for prime time for another year or two.


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Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2014, 08:22:22 PM »
Quote
One of my re-arrangements is a medley that I hope/plan to present to our uke band. It's really an instructional piece, showing the options available using a simple (aka easy to play) chord progression.

With apologies to the accomplished musicians here ...

Guitar players and other musicians are familiar with the simple I-vi-IV-V7 chord progression, and variations such as I-ii-IV-V. Attendees at our uke beginners class learn these chords as C-Am-F-G7 and C-Dm-F-G, and learn that there were numerous songs written using these progressions. For a little fun, I recently put together a medley and played it to the band at an open mic' session, weaving a (vocal/spoken) story around the songs. It was specifically aimed at the beginners in the band.

Some of these songs were originally written in a different key, and I took the liberty of changing keys and substituting some chords to make them easier for newbies to play; I also tweaked some lyrics (lead sheet attached). The result may not be 100% technically/musically correct, but was good enough to get the point across. I also played/sang 'full' versions of a couple of other songs using the same chord progressions.

A number of newbies have commented that they were sufficiently motivated to learn to play/sing these songs, and to seek others they can play/sing. A few experienced players commented that they now have some 'pocket songs' for the times they get asked to "play something I know".

One song I played around with, but didn't complete the re-arrangement in time, was 'Hey Soul Sister', written and sung by Patrick Monahan of the group Train. It requires a 'different' strum, and the original is sung way above my register, but I was able to get it to work.

Meanwhile, I'm still working on a medley of songs from around the world. Apart from Welsh songs that I grew up with in the homeland, one of the easiest for me to play/sing is the Japanese song Sukiyaki. Just wish I could whistle those two lines  :-[
« Last Edit: July 03, 2014, 08:39:44 PM by Tom »
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Larry N.

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2014, 07:04:41 AM »
Very nice, Tom.
Larry and Mary Ann N.
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2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL
  de N8GGG

Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2014, 08:21:44 AM »
Thanks Larry.
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Mike (ex-f-221)

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2014, 05:33:12 PM »
Tom, I found "Loch Lomond" at your list. A few days ago I bought the CD "Scarborough Fair - Songs from the British Isles" with the song "Loch Lomond" on it.
I like both: the songs on CD and Bryn Terfel. With your list I can sing along with Bryn Terfel. No, better not...
You find the CD here: http://www.amazon.com/Scarborough-Fair-Songs-British-Isles/dp/B001QERPMK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404425929&sr=8-1&keywords=Scarborough+Fair-Songs+from+the+British+Isles
Mike Muellner
Bremerhaven, Germany

Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2014, 05:55:36 PM »
Hey Mike, I'd be really impressed if you could sing tracks 3 and 11  ;D
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Mike (ex-f-221)

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2014, 06:02:22 PM »
I'd better hum  :)
Mike Muellner
Bremerhaven, Germany

Jeff

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2014, 08:23:34 PM »
I like to rearrange music also; I rename the folders in ITunes so they appear in the order I want. ::)

Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2014, 08:29:42 PM »
LOL Jeff. We'll let you solo at a future RV Forum rally  ;D
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Jeff

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2014, 08:34:16 PM »
LOL Jeff. We'll let you solo at a future RV Forum rally  ;D


With my Bluetooth speaker?

Larry N.

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2014, 08:39:45 PM »
I like to rearrange music also; I rename the folders in ITunes so they appear in the order I want. ::)

My rearrangements are LPs, Cassettes and CDs...  ::)
Larry and Mary Ann N.
2016 Newmar Ventana 3709 -ISB6.7 XT 360HP
2015 Wrangler Sahara Unlimited toad
Formerly: Trailmanor 2720SL
  de N8GGG

Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2014, 08:42:40 PM »
Quote from: Jeff
With my Bluetooth speaker?

Whatever speaker you wish Jeff; I have a (wired) sound system with mic's that would work just fine  ;D
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Jeff

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2014, 10:29:36 PM »
Tom my speaker plays whatever is in my iTunes playlists.

Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2014, 06:29:04 PM »
Quote
I'm still working on a medley of songs from around the world.

Sukiyaki is still a work in progress, but almost done. Meanwhile, I thought I'd play around with a few Welsh folk songs, then got distracted by the well-known Welsh love song Myfanwy. I'm fortunate to have grown up hearing and singing the original in Welsh, although I'd never played it on an instrument until a few days ago. I transposed it from the original key of G into the key of C. I also tried playing it on several instruments, and decided that a baritone ukulele is optimal, probably closest to the triple harp often used to accompany soloist singers and, occasionally, choralists; It might be interesting to play it on guitar (when I've learned to play).

I found that a thumb strum (I'd call it more of a thumb roll) works best. Folks who can speak Welsh will realize that I've split a number of words to coincide with the playing of chords; Otherwise, these words make no sense. I'd guarantee that playing and singing this to a Welsh audience would result in no dry eyes in the house.

I'll get the English translation finished shortly.
Edit: Fixed typos in lead sheet.
 
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 05:38:57 PM by Tom »
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halfwright

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2014, 09:48:00 PM »
People cry when I sing too. And dogs howl. Nearby plants wither. sometimes glass breaks.
Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, half poodle-- half garbage disposal
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter

Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2014, 05:18:45 PM »
Quote
...the well-known Welsh love song Myfanwy...I'll get the English translation finished shortly.

First cut of the English version of Myfanwy. Interesting challenge I didn't think about ahead of time ... Welsh grammar is quite different from English; More like French, with nouns written first, followed by adjectives. Also, some words & phrases don't translate literally. The combined result is that the English words appear in 'different positions' than their Welsh equivalents, and the length of some phrases changed. Since I'd never sung this song (or heard it sung) in English before, I played around with the relative positions of chords and words so the result 'sounds right' when I play and sing the song. Maybe not the musically-correct way of doing it, but it works for me.

Personally, I prefer to sing and hear the Welsh version.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 05:41:06 PM by Tom »
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Stan Birch

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #16 on: July 13, 2014, 12:57:49 AM »
First cut of the English version of Myfanwy. Interesting challenge I didn't think about ahead of time ... Welsh grammar is quite different from English;

My eight year old granddaughter recently took part in a regional vocal recital, attempting to sing in English and part Welsh while her teacher accompanied her on the piano. After hearing what she was required to sing, I was totally amazed that she even attempted to do it. Part way through the Welsh part, she totally lost it, and couldn't continue!! And that was the point where I stopped breathing, fully expecting her to burst into tears and run off the stage crying. Nope! Not my granddaughter! She is even more stubborn than I am. She just glared at her music teacher accompanist as if to say: "Don't stop now! Let's just get on with the English part!" And so they did.

As an organist, I am somewhat more than merely aware of the wonders of Welsh music. It is absolutely awesome!! And no big surprise that Welsh Katherine Jenkins, a most wondrous mezzo-soprano is at the very top of my list of favourite singers.
 
Since I'd never sung this song (or heard it sung) in English before, I played around with the relative positions of chords and words so the result 'sounds right' when I play and sing the song. Maybe not the musically-correct way of doing it, but it works for me.

Not to get all tangled up with "the musically-correct way". . . That's sort of a modern concept. Way back in the pre-Bach Lutheran era, church music was typically written in a simple single line melody with no inferred harmony. The job of supplying the harmony was the duty of the organist, challenged to come up with a different harmony with each and every verse of a hymn.

In similar vein and era, like Clarke's simple Trumpet voluntary, originally written in the 1600s as a mere two line theme for two trumpets, has developed into so many wondrously complex entities. With no "correct" way to play it, and never the same.

 Like you, I really prefer to play it MY way!
 
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 01:04:52 AM by Stan Birch »
1999 Winnebago Adventurer 32T Ford V-10
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Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #17 on: July 13, 2014, 05:19:18 AM »
Great story Stan. I'd have loved to have been at your granddaughter's recital. I'm curious to know what she was singing.

Katherine Jenkins is also one of my favorite singers, and not because we lived in the same town. I didn't receive any formal.music education (long story), and listen in amazement to many of the wonderful singers and instrumentalists.
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Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #18 on: July 13, 2014, 10:52:17 AM »
As an aside, I was introduced to the Hawaiian love song Kainoa by Joe & Kristen Souza, owners of Kanile'a Ukuleles. Joe did a nice job of playing and singing, while Kristen danced a very nice hula. However, there were IMHO errors (music and lyrics) in the lead sheet I had. I made some changes, introduced the song to our ukulele band, and it's become a staple in the Hawaiian breakouts at our concerts.

It occurs to me that Myfanwy is a Welsh parallel to Kainoa, but I'll probably need to sing it (Myfanwy) in English to introduce it to the band and get them to embrace it.

Reminds me of the time I introduced the Welsh favorite Ar Hyd Y Nos to our Music Director, suggesting it would sound great sung in 4-part harmony by his 80+ strong mixed chorus. Sure enough, they sang it at their next concert, although they sang the English version, All Through The Night. I was honored to be invited to sing it (solo) in Welsh to the chorus at one of their pre-concert rehearsals. One of these days I'll introduce it to the ukulele band, after doing a little arranging.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 11:10:54 AM by Tom »
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Stan Birch

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #19 on: July 13, 2014, 07:37:59 PM »
She sang Suo Gān,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM9uyA0wVIA

which is hard enough for an 8 year old in English, let alone having to do two verses in Welsh. She was doing just fine a home, but getting up on stage in front of an audience can add enough stress to tip the balance. She isn't at all like me: On stage I just go blank! But she has been on stage so often since her early years, that even if she messes up, she just takes it in stride as if nothing had happened, and just keeps on going.
1999 Winnebago Adventurer 32T Ford V-10
Newmarket, Ontario

Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #20 on: July 13, 2014, 07:46:34 PM »
Thanks Stan. I haven't sung that since before puberty (when things dropped). It's a wonderful song and, if she got through one verse, she deserves a medal. Anyone who didn't grow up speaking Welsh has a really tough time with pronounciation.

You have good reason to be very proud of your granddaughter!

You probably have them, but here's the Welsh and English lyrics to that song.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 07:48:57 PM by Tom »
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Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2014, 08:00:44 PM »
BTW Stan, I was looking back at prior discussions, and realized I didn't comment on your Phoenix organ in this discussion.  What a wonderful instrument. Cherry is also our favorite wood (we remodeled our retirement S&B home in cherry, and have cherry in our coach), but it never occurred to me that I could order an instrument made out of cherry.
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Stan Birch

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2014, 11:20:15 PM »
Thanks Stan. I haven't sung that since before puberty (when things dropped). It's a wonderful song and, if she got through one verse, she deserves a medal. Anyone who didn't grow up speaking Welsh has a really tough time with pronunciation.

You probably have them, but here's the Welsh and English lyrics to that song.

No I don't have the lyrics; and Gasp! No wonder she couldn't remember the lyrics; I can't even read nor pronounce them!!

As you recall "I haven't sung that since before puberty"; and that just seems to be exactly where Suo Gān belongs. In perusing appropriate Youtube offerings to appropriately demonstrate Suo Gān, I turned down Katherine Jenkins and even Charlotte Church as being too old, in favour of the wondrous Kings College boy sopranos rendition. That just seems to be the ideal setting for that lullaby for me.
1999 Winnebago Adventurer 32T Ford V-10
Newmarket, Ontario

Stan Birch

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2014, 12:20:21 AM »
BTW Stan, I was looking back at prior discussions, and realized I didn't comment on your Phoenix organ in this discussion.  What a wonderful instrument. Cherry is also our favorite wood (we remodeled our retirement S&B home in cherry, and have cherry in our coach), but it never occurred to me that I could order an instrument made out of cherry.

Going the cherry route probably happened quite by accident. In a world where everything our house was built from oak, and 99% of the organs, same thing, our introduction to cherry emanated from somewhere around South Carolina? where Yamaha pianos were being built in North America.

I well remember the day we had spent an entire day in the Toronto area at all of the music dealers looking for a new piano. Wow! What a terrible bunch of crap! And on our way home feeling totally defeated, with some sort of electronic contraption being the only remaining option, we checked into a Yamaha piano dealer located in a tiny village north of Toronto. And again Wow!! Did these Yamaha's ever sound great!! And then as I played them, I discovered ONE that stood out far above all the others. I bought it on the spot!! I just happened to have a cherry console.

From there, the cherry theme spread throughout the house: from a high end grandfather clock, and complete dinning room suite, to renovating our entire kitchen from oak to cherry. And I really like the idea of cherry woodwork in our new motorhome, wherever it might be hiding.

As for our Phoenix organ: in an oaken world they mentioned how excited their craftsmen were in getting a chance to build a cherry console for a change.
1999 Winnebago Adventurer 32T Ford V-10
Newmarket, Ontario

Hfx_Cdn

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2014, 06:59:19 AM »
    Tom, this is a little off topic, but I found this while looking to see what we were going to see this winter while in St Petes.  Given your Uke involvement, thought you might want to take a swing over to the right coast this winter.

http://www.themahaffey.com/show/Wellington-International-Ukulele-Orchestra-at-the-Palladium-Theater/362

Ed
Ed & Donna
Winter-Pinellas Park FL, Summer- Maritime Canada
2000 Coachmen Catalina 34' DP (owned 2004 to 2015)
2006 Jeep Liberty Toad

Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2014, 10:07:09 AM »
Thanks Ed. There are a number of good ukuele bands that perform internationally and put on great shows. I can only watch/listen in awe.
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Tom

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Re: Having fun re-arranging music
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2014, 07:26:41 PM »
I've been re-arranging Welsh, Irish and Scottish songs. The challenge for me is to change the key of a song to one I (and others) can play, without going out of my vocal range.

I have several goals in mind, including establishing small "wandering leprechauns" groups for Saint Paddy's Day performances.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2014, 02:04:15 AM by Tom »
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