Before You Arrange All-Female A Cappella



While arranging music for any a cappella group requires  musical sensibility–not necessarily training, but sensibility–arranging music for an all-female group requires particular dexterity. It is a socially challenging activity, especially at an 18% Greek liberal arts school when you’re asking hot, cool girls to sing nonsense syllables. More often than not, collegiate a cappella groups are comprised partly, if not almost entirely, of excellent shower-singing members–not musicians who get excited about chord progressions. Before you arrange your next (or first!) song, read over these ideas to get your mind right.

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Hi there – agree with all this!

But you also missed the most obvious point – possibly too obvious, but hey – and that is having the singers pick the songs for you to arrange. They’ll all have songs they fantasize themselves singing like divas, and if you give them arrangements to make that dream come true, they’ll lap them up.

Don’t know how much this only applies to women, though. I mostly arrange for women anyway, but when I arrange for men they seem to have idiosyncrasies and foibles too…

Written By liz garnett on December 22nd, 2008 @ 9:53 am

Hiya Liz,

You make an excellent point; I’m halfway through writing a post on that very topic. Song selection is tough stuff. Thanks for your thoughts!

Written By Catherine Cheng Jones on December 22nd, 2008 @ 3:33 pm

Thank you for posting this! I found it very helpful.

I direct an all female a cappella group at my university. We’re a very young group, and we’ve been trying to arrange our own music. It is a challenge at times. I was wondering if you have any arrangments, or know anyone, that you would be willing to share with us. We would really appreciate it, and we would give full credit at our concert. Let me know what you think. Thanks again for the good advice.

Written By Jennifer Calhoun on January 4th, 2009 @ 4:16 pm

Yes, in fact — we’re currently putting together another dozen or so articles, including some intended to release free all-female arrangements. Keep checking back; January will be a big month.

Written By Yuri Broze on January 4th, 2009 @ 5:03 pm

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