To arrange music is to add your own personal spin. It’s a creative activity like composing, but instead of inventing a brand-new melody or chord progression, you’re re-working tunes that are already known to listeners.
The value you add to the music is your own ‘special touch’ that no one else has yet thought of.
I Love Coffee, I Love Tea is a traditional piano piece. Oral music is passed on person to person over many generations and usually takes on small changes after a while. You may notice in the videos below that there are many different ways to play it!
This blog post challenges you to make changes on purpose and rearrange the order of the different parts in your own special way.
Prior to making your own creative decisions, listen to the videos below and then decide how you’d like to arrange the music.
Here are some suggestions on changes you might make:
- Begin with an opening or intro.
- Choose which ‘riffs’ you’d like to include in your version.
- You might leave other riffs out.
- Choose the order you’d like to play them.
- Change some rhythms.
- Go up instead of down, or down instead of up.
- Change the octave the music is played in.
- Change the tempo, either slower or faster.
Intro or Ending Pattern
This pattern is played at the end of each part of I Love Coffee, I Love Tea. It could also be played as an intro or between each tune!
Moving across the keys
The two following riffs move across the piano keys. How might you change them?
‘Knuckles’ or ‘Fisticuffs’
The two following videos demonstrate the rolling knuckle pattern.
Notice that different people play this in different octaves on the piano. Which octave will you choose for your arrangement?
The following three tunes all make use of catchy little key patterns, one on black keys only and the others on black and white keys. Will you choose one or two or use all three?
I Love Coffee, I Love Tea
That’s Where the Money Goes
Bonus: Arrange the Bass and Chords
Here are two different ways of playing the bass and chords of the lower duet part. Both have the exact same chord progression, but with slightly different arrangements. Will you choose one or the other, or combine parts of both into your own unique arrangement?
Now take the tunes you’ve heard above and mix and match them into your very own arrangement! Then teach it to a friend!
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Video of the Week
The Way Back Home, Intermediate, Level 4, has a lyric folk style in Aeolian. The melody has flowing eighths with scalar runs, similar to an Intermediate sonatina. The LH features intervals in various rhythms including syncopations, carries the tune in one section, and in several places, plays over the RH. This piece captures the feeling of making your way back home. When it’s been a while and there’s a long journey ahead, this is what it sounds like.