There's more to it than "omit the instrumental part"
November 2, 2009 8:25 AM   Subscribe

A guide to a capella arranging from SmarterMusic, including some nice analysis of examples.
posted by Wolfdog (16 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Kwine at 8:47 AM on November 2, 2009

If only William Billings had had this guide.
posted by wfitzgerald at 8:54 AM on November 2, 2009

(pssst... 2 p's and 2 l's in cappella)
Nice examples!
posted by plinth at 9:21 AM on November 2, 2009

I'm going to vocalize my response.

"Ooooooo-wop. Dooo-doooo-doooo-dot! Ooooooo-wop! La la la la la la la!"

Actually, on a serious note, I went to a production of Lohengrin this weekend that reminded me of the fact that not every musician is capable of singing a cappella. Elsa was terribly out of tune while the rest of the quintet seemed just fine in the a cappella quintet at the end of Act 1. Not that I think that most college a cappella singers could play the role of Elsa in Lohengrin... but it would be nice if Elsa had a good grip on the part, even when she didn't have an orchestra under her.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:13 AM on November 2, 2009

Neat. I wonder if we should try an a capella challenge for Music some time.

(pssst... 2 p's and 2 l's in cappella)

Usage varies, OED cites both.
posted by cortex at 10:19 AM on November 2, 2009

The whole thing, especially the examples analysis, is wonky as all shit. Most, most excellent.

But the post's not complete without hearing one of the examples in real life.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:27 AM on November 2, 2009

odoh. it's at the end of the example :*
posted by mrgrimm at 10:29 AM on November 2, 2009

Cappella means "chapel" in Italian. Hence, a cappella is "as sung in the chapel, or choir".
Note plinth's correction. Spelling is especially important when the word is the topic of a post.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:44 AM on November 2, 2009

Yes, sorry; the spelling mistake was just a bit careless. I hope it doesn't turn out that's the most interesting thing to talk about.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:48 AM on November 2, 2009

Is this the thread where I can finally admit I have a deep, abiding love for a cappella music- its unrestrained joy and the beauty of the human voice in true harmony- without feeling a crushing shame or loss of dignity?

Because... fuck yeah, I love a cappella, and this is a great fucking link.
posted by hincandenza at 11:50 AM on November 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

Many cheers.
posted by phenylphenol at 12:32 PM on November 2, 2009

I love William Billings.
posted by straight at 1:08 PM on November 2, 2009

Great timing, as I've been trying to work out a piece for three female vocalists and the link covers doing just that. Great resource, and a great post.
posted by lekvar at 1:47 PM on November 2, 2009

I am so sending this to my friends who arrange for an a cappella group. Thanks! You may have just speeded up the release of their next album.
posted by immlass at 1:50 PM on November 2, 2009

This brings back happy memories of a long flight to Singapore spent writing down a cappella arrangements of Motown classics for female voices.

In fact, that might have been the same trip I did some keyboard tracks for a Malaysian hip-hop group.

My life got boring at some point between then and now.
posted by chrismear at 4:39 AM on November 3, 2009

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