Thursday, May 4, 2017

Behind the Scenes; Arranging a Chart

I decided that I will seek out similar videos or articles that speak to the educational side of our craft. I can't promise how often; but if you see something that sparks an interest - forward it on to me and I am glad to share it via the blog to a wider audience.
Image result for patrick williams

This one is a video from film composer Williams. And by this, it is Patrick who is lesser known than John. But I am still very familiar with his work and I am guessing you will know it as well. He notes over 65 film scores from Swing Shift, to Cry-Baby, and an Oscar for Breaking Away. Also TV theme songs for the Mary Tyler Moore show, Columbo and the Bob Newhart show to name a few more. He has a brand new collaboration out called Home Suite Home with great vocalists like Patti Austin, Tierney Sutton and Dave Grusin. He is apparently taking his background as an educator at the University of Utah and Colorado and sharing it as a regular feature on Facebook. So if you like what you see here, bookmark it for future episodes.

He talks about the process he uses in detailed terms. He uses holiday tunes as a template since they are familiar to us all in terms of which direction you can take them. It starts with finding the right song that resonates and then making sure it is in the right key. If your lead sheet is in the wrong key, it makes the entire process more difficult. He talks with broad brush strokes about both direction, intent and then finding just the right tempo which sets a ground plan. Then he talks about find the correct or substitute chord changes that brighten it without re-writing it. He references the concept of "harmonizing the melody vs. melodizing the harmony." Then move on to the bass line which anchors the chart. And finally coloring the arrangement with accents or embellishment. Lastly deciding on to an intro or outro that makes the entire song cohesive. All good things to know.

Since the platform originates on Facebook, the only link available is the link to his page. So here it is. And again throw things my way if you have an angle on a feature.
Patrick Williams: Thoughts On Arranging 

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