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Playability of piano arrangements

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So, I've never used a forum before because I'm too much of a Zoomer, so please do excuse me if I do anything wrong. I have read the rules though. I managed to navigate there.

I'm arranging a piano version of NSMBWii's Final Bowser battle theme and everything was going well until about one minute into the arranging when a vocal part popped out of nowhere. Having already notated two driving rhythmical voices in the left hand, I had no more room to add this vocal part unless I was to remove an existing line (which would dramatically tone down the arrangement, something you don't really want to do in the middle of a climax) or make the piece basicially unplayable since there would be a melody and two timpani-like parts in one hand. I tried playing it and although I'd consider myself a relatively competent player, I was unable to play it well.

So my question is, do all arrangements have to be playable? Can I say in the score that one or more parts can be excluded to make the piece bearable?

Kind regards, GrodanGnaskar

depends on the arranger.  all arrangers will be trying to strike a balance between accuracy and playability, but some favor one thing over the other.  imo there's nothing wrong with just rewriting some stuff or shifting the octaves around to make it fit better, even if it changes the overall texture of the piece.  some people might say go for accuracy but I prefer playability myself.

Believe it or not, you are asking the essential question to the "playability vs. accuracy" debate.

This sort of problem comes up all time, and on occasion, less experienced arrangers aim for only one route. Some of them make their sheets perfectly accurate, to show that they have a good ear and are less likely to make a transcription mistake. And some others make sacrifices in their scores; they may not be sure if they're hearing a B or a B-flat 2 in the bass, but at least they themselves can play it, which usually means anyone else is capable of taking on the song.

Throughout the three years I've been on here, I have not been satisfied with every decision I've made while writing an arrangement, but I see now that it's a trial-and-error deal. I've made accurate sheets and gotten called out for demanding too much of the performer, and I've made playable sheets and gotten asked why a rhythm I wrote in was not correct. This is all just a matter of experimenting with ideas and comparing them with other's viewpoints, tweaking the way we do things from time to time. There's not one perfect way to do it, as we are all (especially me,) far from being perfect arrangers.

So to answer your question, sheets need to be playable; a person on here once observed that we are not "NinMIDIMusic". But you have to be open to ideas on how to improve a sheet and hit that perfect balance that Mikey is talking about. Don't be afraid to try new things, we're all here to help each other with that.

May we see your sheet and discuss what you can do to improve it?

Hi, welcome to NinSheetMusic! Great questions. To add onto what mikey and Levi said...

--- Quote from: GrodanGnaskar on January 29, 2020, 08:56:18 PM ---So my question is, do all arrangements have to be playable? Can I say in the score that one or more parts can be excluded to make the piece bearable?

--- End quote ---
What you do with your arrangements is up to you, but for sheets being considered for the main site, the short answer is yes to your first question. They can be demanding but must be playable.

Generally speaking, the point of having a solo piano sheet is to communicate to a performer how to play an arrangement. Writing in more than the performer can realistically play gets in the way of that goal. That's not to say that certain things can't be left up to the performer's interpretation (for instance fingering and pedalling), but sheets are intended to be instructions, rather than guidelines.

So, I would suggest trying to work with what you have to make something that is both playable and faithful to the original. Remember, something can be a good representation of the original music without keeping everything from it. Some things like the melody and what chords are being used should be kept intact, but other things can be adjusted to make something well-suited for piano - for instance adjusting the left hand accompaniment to outline the chords while using the rhythm of a more percussive part. Over time, with practice, you'll get a feel for what works and what doesn't.

Don't hesitate to reach out for help! :) That includes posting work-in-progress arrangements.

(Also, I'm moving this topic to the Help board)


--- Quote from: Latios212 on January 30, 2020, 01:26:03 AM ---Don't hesitate to reach out for help! :) That includes posting work-in-progress arrangements.

--- End quote ---
I'm using MuseScore for arranging and I don't know if you can post MuseScore files here so I'll upload it temporarily and you can see it on the web:


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