Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.
Forum rules
III Our MP3, WMV, MOV, OGG, AVI, Authors' rights

Composers' Workshop
Theory and practice of composition and arranging for classical guitar, discussion of works in progress, etc.

Once you have subscribed to the 002 group, you can attach the following types of files to your messages:
Audio : .mp3 .ogg .wav .flac
Video : .avi .flv .mov .wmv
Score : .pdf .jpg .gif .png
Finale: .mus
User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:08 pm

I am attempting to arrange the famous Carrie Jacobs-Bond piece, A Perfect Day, for guitar and voice from the piano and voice original in Ab major.

I have used the key of A major. There are not many keys I can choose from, as I do not want the vocal line above the top note of E, which near the top of a soprano range.

I have tried to remain faithful to the spirit and intent of the piano score. People who know the piano original may not want to hear a massive departure. As such, it often has three voices.

Do you think this is playable for an advanced player, or is it unnecessarily fiddly to play well - to have a legato accompaniment. Please let me know what you think of the beginning.

Piano original
perfect day extract 2.JPG



My version
perfect day guitar.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

celestemcc
Posts: 1211
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by celestemcc » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:39 pm

Hmmm.

I'm looking at the full original score, nothing in the vocal line goes above fourth-space Eb, which is entirely within soprano or mezzo range but it is not in the happiest part of a soprano's voice -- lies on the passagio which few of us love (trained soprano here). You could also consider putting the piece in G with a dropped D tuning, which would suit most sopranos and mezzos, and even tenors.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:59 pm

celestemcc wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:39 pm
Hmmm.

I'm looking at the full original score, nothing in the vocal line goes above fourth-space Eb, which is entirely within soprano or mezzo range but it is not in the happiest part of a soprano's voice -- lies on the passagio which few of us love (trained soprano here). You could also consider putting the piece in G with a dropped D tuning, which would suit most sopranos and mezzos, and even tenors.
Thanks for the reply

In fact, the arrangement is aimed at the middle range for all voices - so nothing is too high or too low, and male voices would sing an octave lower.
G is obviously only a tone below A, but if you think it is better, I will change it.

I wonder who the original was aimed at, being in Ab. I also have a copy of an original version in F, even higher.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

JohnB
Posts: 1108
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:17 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by JohnB » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:09 pm

Just looking at the guitar part, IMO it could do with much more "white space" (i.e. more spaced out). This, at least for me, would make it much easier to understand what is going on.

By the way, the note stems for the middle voice usually point down but sometime upwards. I don't know whether this is technically OK but I would find it a bit confusing.
Last edited by JohnB on Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso", Christopher Dean 2018, Ana Maria Espinosa 2014

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:16 pm

JohnB wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:09 pm
Just looking at the guitar part, IMO it could do with much more "white space" (i.e. more spaced out). This, at least for me, would make it much easier to understand what is going on.
Good point - that can easily be corrected
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

celestemcc
Posts: 1211
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by celestemcc » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:19 pm

Adrian,

It's your call, really; since you're not writing for a specific singer. I was focusing on the voice, knowing that G would also be a very playable key as well; possibly even a wee bit easier but that's in the eyes of the player. I personally love dropped D!

A flat? Well, maybe the composer had a specific singer in mind, or just liked the key. Remember it's for piano; we guitarists understandably dislike the multi-flat keys. I imagine that's less a problem for pianists. And re the version in F -- there are lots of hymns and even classical songs that you can find in multiple keys.

FWIW, Schubert's Lied "An Die Musik", for one, has been transcribed for guitar (and very well); it's in C instead of the original D.
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:33 pm

celestemcc wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:19 pm
Adrian,

It's your call, really; since you're not writing for a specific singer. I was focusing on the voice, knowing that G would also be a very playable key as well; possibly even a wee bit easier but that's in the eyes of the player. I personally love dropped D!

A flat? Well, maybe the composer had a specific singer in mind, or just liked the key. Remember it's for piano; we guitarists understandably dislike the multi-flat keys. I imagine that's less a problem for pianists. And re the version in F -- there are lots of hymns and even classical songs that you can find in multiple keys.

FWIW, Schubert's Lied "An Die Musik", for one, has been transcribed for guitar (and very well); it's in C instead of the original D.
I have already started to follow both suggestions here - thanks. Will post again when I sort it out

Sorry, what I meant to say is that I have a version in C, which makes the top note a high F.

However, as you say, with a particular singer in mind, that high note may represent the climax of the song, or a note near the top of the singer's range, so a high note may be deliberately put in for dramatic effect.

My very knowledgeable editor tells me to keep most arrangements from G below middle C to E in the top space, for a range that will not freak out most people (ie, a general singer, not a virtuoso). Would you agree with that general advice?
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:50 pm

JohnB wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:09 pm
Just looking at the guitar part, IMO it could do with much more "white space" (i.e. more spaced out). This, at least for me, would make it much easier to understand what is going on.

By the way, the note stems for the middle voice usually point down but sometime upwards. I don't know whether this is technically OK but I would find it a bit confusing.
Yes, that can be an issue on guitar writing when three voices are squeezed onto one stave - fine for piano across two staves. Believe me, I tried for consistency, but due to stem clashes etc, I could not always achieve it. The other option is to go for broke and simply put everything on two voices, and lose some of musical intention from the original piano score.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

celestemcc
Posts: 1211
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by celestemcc » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:56 pm

My very knowledgeable editor tells me to keep most arrangements from G below middle C to E in the top space, for a range that will not freak out most people (ie, a general singer, not a virtuoso). Would you agree with that general advice?
Completely agree, excellent advice for the general singer. Also works for congregations.

Bravo!
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:13 pm

celestemcc wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:56 pm
My very knowledgeable editor tells me to keep most arrangements from G below middle C to E in the top space, for a range that will not freak out most people (ie, a general singer, not a virtuoso). Would you agree with that general advice?
Completely agree, excellent advice for the general singer. Also works for congregations.

Bravo!
Many thanks for confirming this

ps. I am doing an ongoing project on arranging Victorian/ Edwardian ballads - if you want to see any more and comment or advise, please look at the Members' score section.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

celestemcc
Posts: 1211
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 5:43 pm

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by celestemcc » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:29 pm

Embarrassed to say I find it a bit difficult to negotiate the site at times. Have a link? I'll be fine from there! :)
2015 Connor spruce/Indian rosewood
1978 Ramirez 1a cedar

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Jul 22, 2018 7:24 am

There are a few of my arrangements on this page lablelled for "guitar and voice", eg. Until, I Hear You Calling Me

Your opinion is much valued!

viewforum.php?f=12
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:10 am

Ok, thanks to the great suggestions here, I have changed it to G major with a dropped D tuning (I will need to indicate this on the score) and spaced it out more. Looking better?

Here is some of it, but if you want to see the whole, PDF, please head over to members' scores in this forum
perfect day in G extract.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

JohnB
Posts: 1108
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 6:17 pm
Location: Bristol, UK

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by JohnB » Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:22 am

Just looking at the music - the readability (is there such a word) of the standard notation is dramatically improved.
Hermanos Conde 1968, Stephen Frith 2007 "Guijoso", Christopher Dean 2018, Ana Maria Espinosa 2014

User avatar
Adrian Allan
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:56 am

Re: Does this score look unnecessarily hard?

Post by Adrian Allan » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:26 pm

JohnB wrote:
Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:22 am
Just looking at the music - the readability (is there such a word) of the standard notation is dramatically improved.
Yes, I wasn't happy with it at all last night - but now it looks approachable, thanks to your advice on spacing and making the voices clearer.

The other issue - is it playable - my thoughts are that it is quite playable for an advanced player, but if anybody differs in that opinion, please let me know.

It is quite a challenge to fit a piano score onto a guitar; adding bits in, taking bits out, making it idiomatic to guitar but also faithful to piano score, so I now appreciate how skilled guys like Llobet were, with his arrangement of Sevilla, etc.
D'Ammassa Spruce/Spruce Double Top

Return to “Composers' Workshop”