Vocalise

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Vocalise, by Sergei Rachmaninoff, is one of the most popular songs ever composed. It has been arranged for numerous instruments in many different keys, and most people have heard it either knowingly or otherwise. In my arrangement, I have chosen to retain most of the melody and basic harmony, but changed almost everything else from the original. For instance, I transposed it from the original c# minor to a minor, which I feel is more comfortable on the marimba, and also changed the original eighth note based accompaniment to quarter note based. These are not arbitrary decisions, as I have done another arrangement that stayed closer to the original. However, the result to me was less than satisfactory. It turned into a piece where the marimba is ‘trying’ to bea piano and voice unsuccessfully.Therefore, I decided to try as best as I can to absorb the genius composer’s original intentions, and reworked it with voice-leadings and accompaniments that I feel work better for the marimba, truly turning it into a piece for my instrument. The end result is this arrangement, which I hope still retains the original simple beauty of Rachmaninoff.

Pius Cheung

See video clip of Vocalise (arr. for Solo Marimba) in YouTube

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