First-Time Arranging Suggestions, Part Deux

As far as first-time arranging tips, I’d advise against taking the basses too low.  Even if they have a solid low E, the chords will ring better with the basses up the octave, and they’ll sing better, too!  The same goes for the low F and frequently the low G as well. If you’re stuck […]

First-Time Arranging Advice

A reader wrote in requesting some pointers on arranging for his high school a cappella group, and I thought I’d post a few here: advice for writing your FIRST arrangement.  These tips do not necessarily apply to ALL arrangements and are not general rules, but are good ways to make sure nothing goes too haywire […]

Bell Chords in A Cappella

This expands far beyond “Clocks” by Coldplay — thank goodness. Bell chords are used by all kinds of groups in all kinds of different situations, and are not limited to those in which a pop piano accompaniment must be imitated. Let’s take a good look at the different ways these can turn out, and when […]

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 […]

Arranging for Women’s Voices: Range Compensation

A cappella arrangers for All-Female Groups: Here are a few tips and ideas to try on that might just make all the difference for your next arrangement.

Arranging for Women’s Voices: Range Limits

Men’s choirs and mixed choirs have something of a built-in advantage to women’s singing groups — a group of baritones with swallowed tones and an affinity for Barry White known as “basses.” They happily crank away at low notes down to an A or a G, and then start groaning like wounded wildebeest as they […]

SmarterGuide to Arranging in the works

SmarterMusic is growing in fits and starts, and the SmarterGuide to A Cappella Arranging is off to a particularly fitting start! Two consecutive music directors of the UNC Achordants (and chief arrangers) are currently collaborating in various backrooms of the halls of academia to bring you the most comprehensive and in-depth guide available on the […]

New Site, New Layout, New Spirit, Nu.

Welcome to SmarterMusic, now with Jjjefff. More soon, of course, but the major behind-the-scenes tinkering with technology is done with. Thanks to Blogsdna for the free theme; in time I expect I will modify it beyond all recognition. But for now, we have a start and a new voice. Music stuffs to follow; first will […]

Arrangement: Army

Another one already, you say?  Sounds great.  This track was inspired in a large way by the Ben Folds Live CD — the excitement of the crowd in singing the descant part along.  This is a strong arrangement, and takes a very different tack than Don’t Stop Me now.  Here, the parts aren’t as difficult […]

Arrangement: Don’t Stop Me Now

From time to time, I’ll be posting arrangements from the Broze Brothers collection, along with in-depth descriptions of the techniques used and why. Take them as arranging tutorials. Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen. TTBB, as sung by The Achordants. A firey and energetic song, to say the least! This arrangement is challenging but rewarding, […]