Cutting you up on cello

I feel awesome. This morning I started arranging Peter Murphy’s “Cuts You Up” as a cello duet. I mentioned wanting to do it a couple of weeks ago, but I finally started working on it.  On staff paper with a pencil, plucking my cello because it was too early in the morning to play with a bow. Which was fine, it was easier to write while not holding the bow anyway.  I have loved the song since the album came out in 1990, but the synth cello always annoyed the fuck out of me.

And then in 2000, Murphy released a live album — aLive Just for Love — featuring stripped-down versions of his songs.  The only instruments were a violin and a guitarist.  That hugely influences the way I’m arranging it.

It’s been surprisingly easy.  And much simpler to do it on paper than in Noteflight.  I’ll be posting it there when I’m done, because proper sheet music is easier to read than my scribbled hand-written music, but the actual transcribing and arranging is easier on paper.  I may try composing something original that way; everything I’ve written myself has been done in Noteflight, and I think my music will sound better if I’m writing it on a real instrument and I know how it truly sounds.  I needed NF before, because I hadn’t memorized what fingerings went which what note names and what sharps were in which key, so it was easier to do it electronically.  Yay for musical growth!

I also arranged an Irish jig, “Haste to the Wedding,” for two cellos.  That was easy in NF — change the clef to bass, drop the melody down two octaves, and done.  Not “arranging” so much as “transposing,” really.  I haven’t played it yet, but will be trying it today.  This last Wednesday my teacher brought a jig she’d arranged as a cello duet, “The Swallowtail Jig,” and it was surprisingly easy and fun.  In retrospect, it makes sense that there would be jigs that sound complex but are easy to play; back when most of them were written, there was no recorded music, so people had to make their own, and most fiddlers were amateurs.  So dance music that didn’t take a lot of skill would have been in demand.  That’s my theory, anyway.  I could probably google the history of jigs, but I’m feeling lazy.  My arrangement of “Haste to the Wedding” is mostly played on the two middle strings, the crossings are only between strings next to one another, and only one note is an extension out of first position.  Should be pretty simple.  (Hopefully those are not famous last words.)

Music is awesome.  <3

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