New Quartet Arrangements

November 18th, 2013

First of all, some exciting news… I’m engaged! We’re currently in full wedding-planning mode with the date set at March 29th. Part of the ceremony is going to involve the Echelon String Quartet, including two new arrangements. In the spirit of getting things DONE, I completed both in a stupidly busy week.

The first I arranged is “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It’s a simple song with the same ostinato driving throughout except during the two chorale sections. The vocal melodies are straight-forward and only occasionally layered, and there aren’t really any virtuoso instrumental parts. I put this one together in no time, lacing in some occasional instrumental percussion, additional harmonies, and a much larger focus on a really cool guitar part that’s buried in the original mix.

After finishing “Home,” I moved onto “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor. I’ve known this song for a long time, so I figured it would be really easy, but this ended up being quite a challenge. I broke my one rule about arranging – don’t arrange a tune that’s already strings-heavy. The reason I don’t like to arrange a song that’s already using strings is that it’s not really arranging; it’s transcribing. People expect to hear those string parts, so they have to be delivered mostly in their original form. In addition to that avenue being closed off, the melodies in this song really, really proved tough to transcribe. The rhythms are very improvisatory and loose, there are moments of sing-speak, and the vocal timbres change so much it’s tough to track what’s really going on. I drove myself nearly nuts a few days going back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, but eventually I got it.

I’m pretty happy with both arrangements and know they’ll really add to what’s sure to be an amazing day.