If someone gives you a house and asks you to renovate it, how would you do it? Some might just paint the walls, others could change the roof with different materials, and some might simply decorate the house with flowers. But there's something that nobody can do – entirely reconstruct it from the foundation. We see the same thing happening when it comes to arranging a song. When arranging a song, you can't change its foundational elements. If you change those, it's composing, not arranging. So, what is the foundation of a song? It consists of certain musical elements: melody, rhythm, and harmony. To arrange a song, you should keep at least two of these elements intact so that people can still recognize it as an arrangement. By giving examples of arrangements of “Spring Day” from BTS, this blog will help you to understand that there are simple ways to arrange a song without altering its essential musical elements.
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Musical Analysis of "Spring Day"
"Spring Day" by BTS was released in 2017 and is known for its nostalgic lyrical themes, which are sophisticated shown into the melody and harmony. The melody effectively captures the sentiments of longing and nostalgia. A notable characteristic of the melody line is its rich ornamentation, elaborated melismatically. The song maintains a moderato tempo with a steady beat, which provides a solid foundation for conveying the emotional storytelling. If this music was fast, it was almost impossible to convey such deep nostalgic emotion to listeners. The rhythm is predominantly driven by percussion elements, with a prominent snare drum contributing to the song's overall rhythm and feel. "Spring Day" boasts a diverse range of instruments, encompassing both acoustic and electronic elements. Fantastically, it incorporates piano, strings, and synth elements. The song begins with a quiet and understated introduction, but as it progresses, it undergoes a transformation, building up a lush harmonization and intricate instrumental arrangement. This evolution allows listeners to become immersed in the music as it unfolds. As a result, "Spring Day" seems to have intricate musical elements that makes you feel nostalgic; lyrical depth, melodic richness, and a careful setting of instrumental arrangement are somewhat hard to get changed. You might feel little depressed by thinking it is almost impossible to maintain the uniqueness of the song while giving it a change to music. However, here are our tips!
Then, What are the Hacks?
Firstly, changing the musical instruments is a simple yet effective approach. Each instrument has its own unique tone color or timbre. If you find an instrument that suits your taste, give it a try! This can bring freshness to the music without altering its essence. You don't have to change the harmony and rhythm, and you don't need to make the melody more complex. The only skill required is to learn the instrumental technique. Understand what the instrument can and cannot do. It's essential to know the instrumental technique, but if you don't want to learn, you can use well-known melodic instruments like the violin or flute. Let's look at some examples.
Pianella Piano, a YouTuber who mainly covers pop songs with piano arrangements, shows us how changing the instrument can make a difference. In her rendition of "Spring Day" by BTS, she retains the beautiful melody and harmony without making significant changes. However, she employs piano techniques, such as left-hand accompaniment and consistent variations, which require some piano knowledge. For those not familiar with the piano, it might seem challenging, but I assure you that learning these skills is not too complicated. All you need to do is get sheet music to learn by yourself and apply it to your future arrangements. Here, I recommend a website where you can find sheet music to learn how to create accompaniments with the song.
For those who prefer the cello over the piano, here's another example of an arrangement of "Spring Day" by Tomo and Julie. They provide insight into what a perfect arrangement looks like. They maintain the song's originality and demonstrate how to balance instrumental dynamics. While there are subtle changes in the melody line, the violin preserves the original melody, while the piano significantly transforms the song. It adds variations through dynamics, keyboard range, and accompaniment styles, making the music more vibrant. Here's also their sheet for those who want to learn their music arrangements!
Finally, here is one of the most challenging aspects of music arrangement – completely changing the musical genre. This requires a sophisticated understanding of musical genres, as well as the skills and techniques to seamlessly transform the music. The following clip demonstrates how a change in genre can transport you to a different musical dimension.
In this clip, Song So Hee, a well-known Korean singer with a background in traditional Korean music, showcases the distinctiveness brought about by her traditional singing style. Her traditional singing training sets her apart from the original version of the song. While the fundamental musical structure and elements still align with the pop category, her unique vocal style makes a significant difference. Her singing technique, especially when employing the traditional Ggeokki technique to accentuate pitch changes, adds depth and character to the arrangement. Despite no alterations in the instrumental arrangement or melody, her singing skill serves as a powerful example of how a musical genre can be transformed through technique and style. As you can see, it is not impossible to arrange music even if you are not an expertise in music making. Important thing in the world of arrangement is that you should be able to keep the essence unless you want to make the music from the scratch!
Conclusion The examples shown illustrate how changing instruments can bring a fresh perspective to a song while preserving its essence. These arrangements effectively highlight the importance of rhythm, melody, and harmony, emphasizing their significance in arranged music. To create a perfect arrangement, it's crucial to maintain these fundamental elements while also having the flexibility to adjust dynamics, keyboard range, and accompaniment styles.
For those considering a genre change, it may be helpful to start with an easier transition. If you're familiar with bossa noba, give it a try! If you're more into blues music, it's your chance to shine with your musical abilities to change it to blues music. There is no huddle in arranging music.
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