Lesson on arranging tunes in this style?

Lesson on arranging tunes in this style?2022-05-20T10:12:37-07:00

Home Help Forums Lesson Help And I Love Her Lesson on arranging tunes in this style?

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  • Anthony Beltran
    Post count: 1

    This question is not specific to “And I Love Her”, but is instead a general question for which I can’t find a place in the forum.

    My question is that right now, you have lessons on how to play these tunes, but I would also like to see a lesson or group of lessons on the process of arranging tunes in the general style of these, especially the more advanced tunes.

    I could see possibly using the book “Chord Systems” as a basis for discussing how to build an arrangement. It seems to me that learning the chords in that book in the context of playing tunes would really be worthwhile, and it seems that these arrangements are primarily chord based.

    I have the entire 28 tune lesson bundle and fully intend to learn all the tunes, but would also like to learn how they are built, possibly step by step. I am sure there is a process to doing something like these arrangements.



    Leon White
    Post count: 2

    Thank you for your question. The answer is “yes, Chord Systems is set up to facilitate chord melody arranging.” You’re the first person to make that connection in public and it surprised me. The stringset idea, along with systematic inversions and chord substitution are the three components that intersect at creating (or arranging or improving) chord melody songs.
    I teach that, but I have not written anything more on the subject. There are a number of short explanations on the internet that sort of get at the approach, but without specifying how to select the chord voicing. They look something like this:
    1. Pick a song you want to play and a style or tempo you want to include
    2. Place it in a key that keeps the melody on the top two strings of the guitar, and that is a friendly key (not Db if possible)
    4. Get the melody into your head through repeated playing
    5. If you write notation you may wish to write the results down
    6. Look at the original chords provided (in the new key) and try to roughly play some version of the
    chord in the places the original melody had them. (Or where you think they sound good.)
    7. The melody should be the top voice of the chord, so adjust fingerings til you have that. Probably
    at least two chords per measure but could be more or less.
    8. This should give you a basic chord melody arrangement, but perhaps not really interesting.
    9. You may have to move the melody to a new location to get a chord sound you really like. (Like up
    the neck on the 2nd string instead of down the neck on the 1st string)
    10. Using Chord Systems, search for voicings you wish to try (looking and listening to what you’re
    want – its a personal choice). (Big subject here as to what matters – I can’t start to outline
    11. Start using chord systems fingerings to support some idea – like walking bass, or quick trebly
    chords ala Herb Ellis in a trio setting, or one of Ted Greene’s many styles, or ?
    12. Use the systematic inversions to connect or extend a chord sound; use the chord substitution
    rules to add or replace chords, and keep at it.

    There is much more, however, to get a Dan Sawyer level arrangement. Dan plays many instruments and works as a composer and arranger aside from his guitar playing. So, he’s drawing on a lot of different sounds and ideas.

    The end of Chord systems has an example of ‘dressing up’ a simple arrangement via back cycling and a bit more. That could show you how to add chord substitutions. There are a lot of ideas you can use.

    Good Luck,

    Leon White

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