SmarterGuide to A Cappella Arranging

i. Introduction
ii. About the Authors

I. Prologue: Enrichment as Purpose

II. First Principles

III. Advanced Explorations

IV. Arranging Step-By-Step

V. Deconstructed (Free) Arrangements


Welcome to the SmarterGuide to A Cappella Arranging, constantly in progress. Expect to find here a thorough working-out of all the concepts and skills you’ll need in order to do a bang-up job at arranging for a cappella, all written within the hands-on explorimental SmarterMusic concept of education. We’ll take on the easy and hard topics, and commit ourselves to Duke Ellington’s grand philosophy of music:

“If it sounds good, it is good.”

—Duke Ellington

That is, we are not dogmatists and not prescriptivists; our aim is to explore which techniques produce which results and not to stipulate any best way. After all, if it weren’t for variety and freedom of choice, there would be no art!

The guide is split into five parts: Prologue, First Principles, Advanced Explorations, Arranging Step-By-Step, and Deconstructed (Free) Arrangements. If you’re new to the idea of a cappella arranging, the posts in First Principles will help acquaint you with the types of things you should be thinking about, and prepare you with a general outline of the process. Second, the Advanced Explorations consists of topically-arranged articles, each with different ideas, information, and analysis. Then, Step-By-Step arranging procedures will be explored to help show how the process might play out in real life. Finally, Deconstructed Arrangements will provide full retrospective analyses of completed arrangements, including scores and audio samples. Learn as much as you wish about anything and everything, and don’t be afraid to let us know what you think — questions, comments, insights, and insults are all appreciated.

We’ll be slowly constructing this guide in the coming months — please share any feedback you’d like. For custom arrangements from Yuri, please visit the Broze Brothers, or from Dan, visit MusicaRanger.



Written By Christian Kavli on February 24th, 2009 @ 9:50 am

Wow! An absolutly fantastic guide. Is there any change to have all chapters just as one single pdf-file?

Written By Daniel on January 27th, 2011 @ 11:33 am

I agree, would be awesome to have available in one package!

Written By David on October 12th, 2011 @ 11:06 am

Any chance of a full “arranging” guide, i.e. not a cappella specific, but for any ensemble?

Written By Ben on January 9th, 2012 @ 3:20 pm

It sounds good.
I’m going to read the whole Guide.
Thank you for make it available.

Written By joseoscar on February 5th, 2013 @ 1:09 pm

Great ! Do you have a page, where can make online arrangments , like ?

Written By kraka doros on November 26th, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

thank you email me on some notes

Written By alapyongnaan on September 26th, 2015 @ 2:14 pm

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