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In music, an arrangement refers either to a rewriting of a piece of existing music with additional new material or to a fleshing-out of a compositional sketch, such as a lead sheet. If a musical adaptation does not include new material, it is more accurately termed a transcription.

The American Federation of Musicians defines arranging as "the art of preparing and adapting an already written composition for presentation in other than its original form. An arrangement may include reharmonization, paraphrasing, and/or development of a composition, so that it fully represents the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic structure" (Corozine 2002, p.3). Orchestration differs in that it is only adapting music for an orchestra or musical ensemble while arranging "involves adding compositional techniques, such as new thematic material for introductions, transitions, or modulations, and endings...Arranging is the art of giving an existing melody musical variety" (ibid).

A satisfactory musical arrangement will most likely (ibid, p.4):

  • Provide "contrast between high and low sounds"
  • Avoid heavily doubled parts with an emphasis on solo sections
  • Be "sufficiently transparent to allow the musical lines to be clearly heard" and
  • Not have all the instruments playing throughout.
(ibid, p.4)

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Arrangement" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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