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Arranging The Skye Boat Song
In 2012 I did a series of Harp
Tuesday episodes looking at how to arrange a
song. That turned into my Arranging
Greensleeves Project and I'm quite proud of
the resulting composition.
In 2018 I felt the time had to come to revisit that format
and I embarked on another Harp Tuesday series
about creating an arrangement - in this case, The
Skye Boat Song.
Skye Boat Song has some vivid words and imagery
and I tried to capture some of that in this arrangement.
I'm very happy with how it turned out. One of my goals was
for it to be both easy and satisfying to play and I think
I largely succeeded. The difficulty level is roughly
advanced-beginner or intermediate. The arrangement is for
a 34 string harp in the key of G with no lever changes
You can buy a PDF
of my arrangement at my online store.
Just as with my Arranging Greensleeves Project I
was reminded while arranging Skye Boat Song how the
structure of creating an arrangement or composition around
an existing tune can be a great spark for creativity.
You're not facing a completely blank page and yet there's
lot of room to explore and express oneself. I highly
recommend it! :) If you're looking to try arranging
something yourself, thesession.org
is a wonderful source of traditional tunes (melody +
chords) - find a tune you like and start experimenting!
The Harp Tuesday episodes:
Episode one featured a real-time look at me starting
work on Skye Boat Song. I have a soft spot for
videos like this - even though it's fairly long I think
it can be fascinating to get this type of bird's eye
look at how someone goes about creating/composing.
Episodes 2 and 3 feature recaps of what I ended up
doing and how I choose to match the words from the
verses with the music.