This is something that I've been wanting to share for a while. It's been sitting in my computer for a few months doing nobody any good, so I decided to share it.
This little something that I put together I call The Arranging Checklist. I'd like to share the story that gave me the idea for this.
Back in the summer of this year, I got somewhat discouraged with my arranging. I'd make the same mistakes over and over again, my submissions would get the same feedback, etc; basically, I got to the point that I was not advancing in my skills. I found out that these mistakes I was making were not because of my skill level, but because of my human error and my sloppy, forgetful brain. When the Updaters would point them out, I'd be like, "Oh, dang. I knew that!! What's wrong with me?? I'm so dumb."
So, all in all, I decided to develop a checklist that I could use to comb through my arrangement after I finished it, to account for my brain's fallible ability to remember and fine-tune.
Don't get me wrong, it's not a one-time fix-all, just a supplement to help you with your arranging. In addition to the outline, I added some helpful comments and tools that you can use to improve your arranging. I hope this helps you as it does me!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I. Check to make certain that the notes you have are accurate and correct. A.
Right Hand. B.
You can divide the song up into sections, depending on the length of the song. You can check the right hand separately and then the left hand, or you can check the first four measures and then the next four measures, etc. Whatever works best for you
. Double checking the notes can save you and the Updaters a lot of time.Supplements for checking notes' accuracy:
- Tune Transcriber. https://www.tunetranscriber.com/
Tune Transcriber is a tool that can be used for arranging. You can load MP3 or YouTube videos to the tool online
. No downloads are required. This tool allows you to slow down the song by 50%, which is extremely helpful for fast parts of a song or just hearing notes in general. In addition to slowing songs down, you can also add marks, beats, loops, and highlight certain parts of the song. This is a tool I use daily and I find most helpful.
- AudioStretch. This is a tool similar to the one above that can slow songs down for easy note recognition. This tool is also an IOS app.II. Check to make certain that you have the correct signatures in your arrangement. A.
Time Signature. B.
Key Signature. Supplements for finding signatures:
There are topics such as this
where people can help you find the correct signatures for your arrangement. You can also send a private message to one of the Updaters
. They are here to help! Not only can they help you find the signature for your arrangement, but they can also give you some tips and tricks to finding the signature yourself.
Try to make certain
you have the correct signatures in your arrangement. They are the foundation
of your arrangement.III. Check to make certain that your formatting is top notch. A.
Make certain there is nothing clashing.
The examples above are simple illustrations of clashing issues. 8vas, dynamics, and slurs are only a small percentage of clashing issues found in sheets. There are other types as well. Just be careful not to have any clashing issues! B.
Make certain that all the text is aligned. 1.
Composer(s)/arranger(s) names. 2.
Titles (Track title and Game title). 3.
Second page title and copyright information. 4.
Page numbers. Remember
: Page numbers rotate from side to side as the pages advance. Page 2 = Page number on the left; Page 3 = Page number on the right; Page 4 = Page number on the left; etc. C.
Make certain that you have double bar lines at key changes and any at other place you feel the song transitions. D.
Make certain the url in the copyright information at the bottom of the page is "http://www.NinSheetMusic.org/
Make certain you have a nice measure distribution in your arrangement.
Here at NSM we don't have a "required measures per system" rule, but we do look for a nice aesthetic look when it comes to measure distribution. With each sheet, measure distribution is taken on a case-by-case basis to find an optical, visually pleasing layout. IV. Check to make certain that you have the correct accidentals in your sheet. A.
These can be quite tricky for most people. Go ahead and give this
a good read. B.
Add these where you deem necessary. V. Check to make certain that your layers are not misaligned.
Left: Incorrect. Right: Correct.
There are some misalignments between layers that are more subtle than this example above. Keep your eyes peeled for them!VI. Check the page and staff size to make certain that everything is in order.
Sometimes one page can be bigger/smaller than the other. Just make sure that everything looks correct.
You can check sizes here.You can edit the size of pages, staffs, notes, etc. with the resize tool.VII. Check the metronome marking (BPM) and make certain that you have the required markings and information. A.
Check the metronome marking.
Here is a useful tool for getting an accurate beats per minute measurement: http://www.all8.com/tools/bpm.htmRed
: A required marking on each sheet: the metronome marking. This tells the performer how fast/slow to play or what to set his metronome.Green
: This marking, preferred, but not required, sets the mood for the piece. Usually this word is in the language of Italian, but is also found in German and English. B.
Make certain you have the correct composer(s) listed on your arrangement.
Even though the composer(s) of a video game soundtrack can be found on Wikipedia most of the time, official
soundtrack listings are prefered over Wikipedia sources.
The same goes for track titles
and copyright information
. Try to find official sources before resorting to anything else. VIII. Check The Formatting Guidelines to make certain that your sheet matches up with those rules. IX. Make certain that your arrangement is playable to the human body, not a Finale robot.
Does your arrangement have huge leaps, extremely long reaches, or things of that nature?X. Above all, do not plagiarize.
Quote from the Rules:
Once again, I hope this is helpful! Don't forget to use this for double-checking your arrangement.