Sunday, November 23, 2008

Worship Confessional - Arrangements

This week was pretty cool. We were able to do a couple of my favorite worship songs, "Face Down" being one of them. They just seemed to fit with the message (The Transfiguration, matt. 17).

Things went pretty well. We had a little trouble with some arrangements that we did. Brandon our drummer was really excited about playing a couple of the songs just like the CD, but as you know, that doesn't always work on a Sunday morning; so we had to adjust. He did a great job holding back.

So here's a couple of questions that I have for you.

1. How often do you re-arrange songs and how often do you use an arrangement as is from the album.

2. How do you usually re-arrange the songs (tempo, verse/chorus/bridge structures, keys, etc.)

3. Why do you re-arrange the songs (unsingable key, lack of musicians, too long, too fast/slow, etc.)

I'm really interested to see what your responses will be.

Here was our setup for the week...


Bradley - Lights
Andi - Pro-Presenter (Gotta love a girl who will serve on her birthday weekend!)
AJ - Audio (his dad was supposed to do it, but he stepped up and nailed it!)
Cindy - Audio

Band (Father/Son Crew this week!):

me - agtr/vox
Dave R. - keys/vox
Daniel R. - egtr
Kevin S. - bass
Brandon S. - drums


Oh Praise Him - Crowder
Marvelous Light - Hall
God Almighty - Tomlin (off his new album "Hello Love")
Face Down - Redman
Jesus Paid it All - Stanfill


Travis Tingley said...

We usually do a re-arrangement if the album version doesn't work usually because of instrumentation. I wouldn't call a key change a different arrangement

Karl said...

We do a re-arrangement if I've asked my musicians to learn an mp3 on Monday, and then we start to rehearse it on Saturday, and I'm like, 'Ugh.'

Then I listen for which instrument or instrument(s) is causing said reaction, and see if that person has the ability to change the way they are playing. If they do not, we re-arrange it.

The other times for re-arrangement are for flow and/or dynamics. And every once in a while, to give new life to an old song. :)

Jeff T. said...

Dude - I've got to try and not completely go off on this topic!

There's almost nothing that drives me crazy like worship leaders/bands who re-arrange songs and make them WORSE! The golden rule should "Only rearrange a song if it IMPROVES the song"!

I can't stand it when worship leaders "tweak" the melody to a well-known worship song - it just screws with the congregation and makes things unnecessarily confusing!

When I rearrange, it's often to shorten or lengthen an instrumental section, add some choruses on the end, or changing the ending intensity of a song (sometimes I need a song to end "up" and the recorded version doesn't).

And finally, we rearrange based around the "golden rule" of arranging - do what your band can pull off ten times out of ten. Not 6 times out of ten. A simplified version that you absolutely NAIL is infinitely better than trying to pull off the song "like the album" and butchering it.

Sorry - I'm cranky about this topic!

eric beeman said...

Great Comments Guys!

Travis, do you ever have to re-arrange a song because you changed the key? Maybe the chord structure doesn't work in that key or for some reason it just loses energy in a lower key? Sometimes I feel that way, but maybe that's just me.

Karl... I'm with you... What do you say when your band just isn't hitting it? 'Ugh...' ;)

Love your passion Jeff! I totally agree with you too. I hate it when people try to re-arrange things because they think they can make it better. Like I know better than a team of Dove award-winning Artists and Producers... How arrogant is that!

The majority of the time, when we re-arrange it's because we just don't have what it takes to pull off what they're doing on the album.

But sometimes, what they're doing on the album just doesn't work on a Sunday morning... For example, what works at an arena filled with 12,000+ people doesn't always work for a church of 300. Or, to take it to the extreme, you probably wouldn't bring a full band to a Bible Study of 5 people... it just doesn't work.

Oh yeah... and the only time I tweak a melody is when my voice cracks... ;)

Great comments guys!

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