Piano Arrangement Guide "Cheat Sheet"

(This is a brief description of some of the subjects and styles we learn over the course of 52 lessons.
The terms won't mean much to you now, but will become clear as you progress through the course)

Steps To Take When Arranging a Song

Possible Techniques To Use

Play Song as Written

Pay attention to harmony, melody

Understand how song is supposed to sound

Analysis: Chord Structure

Identify, practice every chord progression

Note key signature and accidentals

Note key changes

Identify relative minor/major, if desired

Analysis: Form

Identify individual and repeating parts

Identify verse, chorus if any

Identify dynamic possibilities

Identify parallelisms or other qualities

Give each part a letter name

Analysis: Context

Identify song style

Determine appropriate style (ragtime, western, boogie, blues, classical, etc.)

Determine appropriate techniques

Bass Clef

Western, boogie, alternating, descending, octaves, chording, Alberti bass, swing, arpeggios, block, open voicing, upward inversions, waltz, polka, march, walk-ups, walk-downs, chord substitutions, augmenting/diminishing a chord, syncopation. See also: counter-melodies, switching melody to left hand

Treble Clef

Harmonic intervals, octaves, octave thirds, parallel sixths, lightning runs, straddle-downs, 2-1 break-ups, 3-1 break-ups, twangs, grace notes, parallelisms, pentatonic scale fills, turnarounds, walk-ups, walk-downs, triplets, triplet break-ups, triplet walk-downs, turns, chromatic turns, glissandos, tremolos, chord substitutions, augmenting/diminishing a chord, arpeggios, syncopation, eighth-note repetitive chording, echoes, cascades, passing tones, color tones, suspensions


Staccato phrasing, legato phrasing, changing register, changing key signature, adding syncopation, adding accents, altering loud/soft parts



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