Musical Arrangements

Occasionally I experiment.

It can be interesting to change instrumentation and to a lesser extent structure to see what happens. So I took Bach, who wrote music that is highly structured, where instrumentation is flexible, and started changing things.

This is my performance of Goldberg Variation #1. This was originally written for klavier, but I split the range so that most of the lower notes are played by koto. For the higher notes, I created my own musical instrument by mixing samples of flute, shakuhachi and pan chiff. And I added a triangle on the upper end. So you’ll hear a “ting!” that accents the high notes. I recorded it without much preparation, and noticed later that I was rushing the tempo. Please ignore this. I’m too lazy to fix it. Also, the sound is messed up. Sorry.

The result is recognizable as Bach, if a little sacharine for my taste. Not too different from a million other people who’ve taken Bach and redone the instrumentation.

However, I can take this idea further, with strange results.

Take an ordinary Bach prelude and add a violin chorus, with bells. To makes this a bit more interesting, add harmony: the violins play in perfect fourths. In other words, if I play C, the violins play C and F: perfect fourths. In the original score of this prelude, there are never more than two notes being played simultaneously. But what previously would have been, for example, G and E-flat played together, becomes G-C-E-flat-A-flat in ascending order, with bells playing the G and E-flat quietly.

This introduces a new level of dissonance to the piece without significantly changing the structure (I could argue that I’m just increasing the sound level of a harmonic that already is there in the violins), and the bells just add a kind of percussiveness. To me this sounds like Bartok.
Download Bach for violins.

So why limit yourself this way? We don’t need melody that much. I split the range, with the higher part of the range (roughly the right hand) being assigned to electric bass to maintain a bit of melody. The lower range had each note assigned to a different piece of the drum set.
So download this and hear what a change in arrangements can do to a baroque piece. Remember, I’m playing straight, just having assigned different instruments. No additions or changes.