Through an arrangement a copyrighted musical work by means of musical and / or technical design element is changed in its original form of expression in music. Arranger is the person who is responsible for such arrangements.


In classical music, the faithfulness requires a faithful reproduction of the scores, even for minor redesign is here no room. The faithfulness gives the works a secure recognition, regardless of which Symphony Orchestra plays. But the realization of the work itself in strict scores needed but the interpretation by musicians and singers, and thus the aesthetic design of the notes, even if the limits are set closely. Arrangements are thus a special form of interpretation and the deviation from the score of the original musical by means of design. Arrangements as a form of interpretation of the work there is, therefore, usually only when other styles of music, particularly jazz, pop music and rock music.

As Arrangement only the redesign of an already published original is understood. Should we forget that - had composers often resorted to arrangers, because they would not arrange themselves or could - even in classical music. The package is a typical for the area of popular music creative appearance. The scale of the arrangement reaches from occasional intervention to a complete redesign of the original.

The type of processing can be very different:

  • The content of the original image is preserved, such as in the description ( transcription ) of a composition for a different occupation.
  • Parts of the original or different original compositions are assembled into a new order and may incur additional composed reconciliations as suites, potpourri or medley of popular tunes of a particular policy group.

Means of design

The importance of the arrangements can be read with reference to the elements of a composition. A composition consists of primary components ( melody, rhythm, harmony and form) and secondary components ( arrangement, interpretation and recording technology ). For arrangements which are musical arranger and / or technical design resources. From them he may emphasize one or more of the Arrangement, ignoring others in turn. The design elements consist primarily of other instrumentation, reharmonization or modulations.

Musical design element

For a different arrangement, the same design tool available that can also apply to the composer in the design of his original work. Among the musical design elements include instrumentation, melody, harmony, rhythm, meter, tempo, phrasing, articulation, ornamentation, cadence or periodicity.

Technical means of design

Technical design elements come in the studio while recording a voice themselves or in their post-production for use, they are part of the sound design. In the sound recording itself echo or reverberation effects can be used in post-production sound effects. Even the mix to be the penultimate process in the recording studio may contain design aspects of an arrangement.


The greatest importance was the arrangement in the non- orchestral music since the 20th century. In the late Renaissance and Baroque music was already a shortcut notation, as now in the lead sheets, before - the basso continuo or basso continuo. So, for example, had the harpsichordist at Vivaldi play this abbreviation improvising spontaneously, and they were explicitly fixed in later grades, of course, lost the improvisational character. While in the " classical music " art music was written out note for note and orchestrated by the composer - except, for example, of the reconciliation parts of the cadences - give other music styles of the freer execution or improvisation more space. Although Johann Strauss ( son ) wrote the scores of his own compositions themselves, but he also worked on opera and concert music of other authors for his own orchestra. In total there are more than 500 of his arrangements of other compositions.

Many pieces of music created in the 20th century - such as the blues, jazz or pop, in folk music and all derived classes - enter the performing musicians or singers greater freedom in the interpretation of a piece. It extends not only to the expression, but also includes notations - technical aspects. Pieces from these areas are often defined only in melody line and chord progression. Role of the arranger is to make these few guidelines an arrangement that gives the musicians more accurate information or design options. This can be done by creating a musical score, by oral agreement with the musicians or by audio examples.

Greater importance gained arrangements only in jazz. Here the written arrangement is already used in the white " symphonic " jazz orchestras such as Paul Whiteman, Leo Reisman and Jean gold chain. Famous arrangers of the time were Don Redman ( Fletcher Henderson ), Doc Cook ( Chicago Jazz ) or Erskine Tate. The standard formulas of the big band arrangements have been set by Art Hickman, Bill Challis or Ferde Grofé. In particular Grofé developed for Paul Whiteman the principles that culminated in the swing era:

  • Division of the orchestra in "sections": wind instruments, strings, saxophones and rhythm;
  • These sections play call and response or counterpoint;
  • Mostly improvised solos;
  • Ensemble passages are played with the feeling of improvised solos.

Throughout the history of music arrangements have been made not only by other arrangers, but also by the composer of original works themselves. In the 19th century, the demand grew about all easy to perform arrangements of popular works for dance orchestra. Since that time, the term of the arrangement was given the connotation of "second-hand derived work". Because musical masterpieces were often adapted to inadequate occupations, particularly in the salon or coffee house music, and the preferences of less demanding of listeners that only the popular " beautiful melodies " - extracted from qualitative musical context - wanted to hear.

Arrangement in jazz

It is characteristic of the jazz that because of prevailing improvisation usually there is no notation and thus no scores for individual instruments are available, making this arrangement a special significance. Under Jazz Arrangement refers to the creation of a piece of music for a person other than the original cast. In jazz, the advertised package rose to prominence particularly during periods of Big Band; whose bandleader cultivated the jazz arrangements for larger bands, by building on the achievements of a Jelly Roll Morton as an arranger. In contrast, the "head arrangement" between the musicians as merely verbal abgesprochenem, spontaneous music history. The standard Arragnement provides in jazz, that after the intro follows a head arrangement that leads on to the solos, which are in turn replaced by a Head Arrangement, to then get to the outro. In jazz, the starting material ( the "original" ) only understood as a musical core; the particular arrangement is the actual musical creation. Therefore, in jazz arranger is often regarded as the actual composer. Many jazz titles have only become popular in the form of certain arrangements, such as In the Mood, in the version by Glenn Miller (recorded on August 1, 1939). Arrangements were and are in jazz as a unique identity for the jazz band. In jazz, the arrangement serves as an alternative to improvise and not a substitute for improvisation as in pop and rock music.

Arrangement in pop and rock music

The package is no longer bound in the pop and rock music at least since Yesterday by the Beatles (17 June 1965) to the usual instrumentation of a Beat Band. However, it may also be closely linked to the original as Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley (12 April 1954) compared to the original by Sonny Dae and his Knights ( March 20, 1954 ). Cautious redesigns such as Ray Charles ' cover of Eleanor Rigby ( March 1968; Original by the Beatles; June 6, 1966 ) are extensive rearrangements such as the Supremes hit You Keep Me Hangin' On (1 August 1966) of Vanilla Fudge ( May 1967 ) against. The latter song is an example of how much an arrangement may contribute to the change of the original. In Ultra Sonic Studio was created with Vanilla Fudge in one take an epic version of the Supremes hits. During lean cover versions often heavily to the original, but in this case the original was barely recognizable yet. The recorded in mono track was extended to 6:47 min and slowed down to slow motion, as the original tempo was reduced to half. The psychedelic sound with a neo-classical organ score and sitar passages alienated the original beyond recognition. The shortened to 2:50 min single version was published on 2 June 1967 and attracted worldwide attention.

Famous pop music arrangers were Leiber / Stoller, Jack Nitzsche, Phil Spector, George Martin and Todd Rundgren. The example of the music producer George Martin shows that the tasks between music producer and arranger in the commercial music are often blurred.


The package will take the listener close to another variant of the interpretation of the original. It can open up other listeners circles when compared to the original by a music style presents such as Puttin 'on the Ritz by Taco ( September 1982) compared with Leo Reisman's Original (20 January 1930). For commercial reasons, by a fallen original song with the help of an attractive arrangements will hit parade capable redesigned as with Chubby Checkers version of The Twist, whose original by Hank Ballard was born (11 November 1958). Checkers version exhibited such striking similarities with the original, that Hank Ballard listening to the radio thought it was his piece. Checkers version was identical in pitch, rhythm and song. While the original - especially B-side - set, turning Checkers cover version became the million seller.

The arrangement gives the song its dominant character, which may contribute to recognition. Through an arrangement specified by the composer structure of a composition can be configured in simple or complex. The package is the main stylistic device of pop and rock music. " The arranger is the most important link between a composer and his composition and the musicians and orchestras who perform or record this music. Its task is thus to be able to edit an existing composition for each type of occupation and, in every style. "

Today, especially in electronic and pop music sometimes counted under the Arrangement is also a part of the processing, which is strictly speaking more as part of a composition or a remix comes close. As an arranger, someone is often stated, who has worked again at the structure of the musical piece on an already finished recording. The different activities are sometimes not clearly delineate each other.


With the arrangement thus is meant to be not the instrumentation, but rather the individual artistic style and lettering of the performance by the respective artist. Transcription is simply the definition of a musical notation to another or the transfer of acoustically perceived music into a music notation, so here are important for a package design aspects are missing. Head arrangements are agreed between the musicians before the show designs of a piece of music, without these being recorded in notes. The order of solos or the interplay between rhythm and melody section is defined. It is spontaneous, usually to be found in jazz arrangements that were also characteristic of the Memphis Soul. Although the repetition of individual phrases are nothing special in the music and find the chorus a central component; but there are styles of music, presenting an intense repetition of individual fragments. This repetitive arrangement is typical in country blues, mambo, salsa and techno. In jazz, this is called Live Arrangement, if the distribution of tasks among fellow players will only shortly before or even only during the performance orally or characters. For this purpose, the main theme and the harmonic progression must be known to all musicians. The tutti sections and additional desired effects must explain or rehearse in advance of the band leader, they are (since the 20s of the 20th century ), therefore, as a score before. The solo parts can then be designed by individual musicians improvising, in each case complete scores are based in better arrangements also those parts that have a thematic rhythmic development in the course and installing the change of soloist to soloist in the overall development of the piece musically.

Legal Issues

The new arrangement of a musical work is always dependent processing in accordance with § 3 of the Copyright Act, or - in the absence of originality of the arrangements - a dependent other alteration within the meaning of § 23 German Copyright Act. In both cases, the consent of the original composer is required. The individual arrangement of a musical work is protectable if the arranger through the use of stylistic devices create something own creativeness. The classic arrangement speaks the law on a creative nature, only if the arrangement goes beyond the purely musical craftsmanship applying teachings. Since an arrangement is made to an existing conceptual and protected work, the arranger is to be regarded as an agent within the meaning of § 3 of the Copyright Act. In the public domain musical works in the field of popular music no longer their original composer is specified, but her arranger.

Pictures of Arrangement