Closing out a recent flurry of quartet arrangements is the incredibly soulful “Hold On” by The Alabama Shakes. I initially hesitated on arranging this one as the melody relies so much on an intense vocal delivery, but it was actually the rhythm section that convinced me to arrange this. The main guitar riff works out beautifully as a cello line with some percussive slaps, and the key ended up lending itself to a lot of double-stops worked into the melody and harmony parts to bring some soul into the string delivery. And of course, I close the quartet with a bit of a round, pretty much a hallmark of my arrangements by now.
What a song! I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like The White Stripes, so it was finally time to arrange one of their tunes. It’s actually pretty difficult to find suitable arrangement material from musicians who excel at their instrument and feature it boldly, because no amount of clever arranging could make a quartet sound like a grand piano, a finger-style guitar, or in this case, one of the dirtiest blues riffs ever written. To approximate some of the bends and other guitar-specific techniques, I actually took the blue notes even further, adding even more diminished harmonies than in the original recording. I’m really happy with the result – a short, energetic, and bluesy rendition of a great song!
A few years ago when I arranged “Maps” by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, I had to first spend a week or two if I was going to arrange that song or “Zero” as they’re both excellent songs with lots of potential for the quartet. Well, it took a while, but I finally got around to arranging “Zero” as well! The song features a good dose of heavy rhythmic techniques for most of the players as they simulate the synth and drums. The violins and viola add some harmonies to the song’s original solo vocal parts and the arrangement ends with a small round and a chorale.
I really, really adore a lot of 80s music. I received a request for an arrangement of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” (well, actually a slower singer-songwriter cover of the original) and instantly was pretty excited. I ended up arranging the original version in a pretty quick afternoon and have been singing it to myself ever since!
Always a favorite of mine, I broke my own arrangement rule of arranging a song for strings that has strings in the original arrangement. This one is just too good to pass up! You can view a one-page sample of the score below.
Arranged for my own wedding in March of 2014, this fun song uses a few extended techniques and gives each instrument a moment in the spotlight.You can view a one-page sample of the score below.
This is the only song I’ve performed at multiple weddings, and funny enough, it’s been the Iron and Wine version each time. This one was sort of a slog for banjo which is accustomed to playing with speed. The string quartet version, though, thrives with the slower tempo and lush harmonies. You can view a one-page sample of the score below.
Though I strangely don’t really love The Pixies, this is an undeniably fantastic song. This one worked really well in the cello/banjo/flute format, but works even better as a string quartet. You can view a one-page sample of the score below!
Once a banjo/cello/flute arrangement, it took no time at all to rearrange this quirky tune for string quartet. You can view a one-page sample of the score below!
From the same summer wedding, this is a string quartet arrangement of the originally cello/banjo/flute arrangement I made. You can view a one-page sample of the score below!