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  #1  
Old 12-22-2016, 05:04 PM
RCW RCW is offline
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Default What to do when the melody drops?

Happy holidays.

I'm working on a solo fingerstyle arrangement for Unchained Melody in the key of C. The verse is pretty easy with the melody notes nicely falling on the top three treble strings. But when the melody drops to the lower strings in the bridge I seem to "run out of room" to add bass and fill notes. I've seen a few other arrangements online, and they don't sound quite right.

Not specific to this song necessarily, but what techniques can be used to accompany melody notes when they drop to the D or even A string? I've tried transposing this song up, but that just made the verse much harder to play. I'm trying to work in 12 8 time, and maybe that's just too many notes to add from below the melody. Can you "fill in" above the melody without losing the melody?
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Old 12-22-2016, 05:24 PM
stanron stanron is offline
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If you don't want to transpose to a different key you could try playing the bridge an octave higher.

I would experiment with transposition. Every tune has a range between it's highest and lowest notes. See where this range lies in the key of each of the open chords of E, A, D, G and C. One of them should fit just above or starting on the open G. Try that as your key.

Last edited by stanron; 12-22-2016 at 05:31 PM.
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Old 12-22-2016, 05:47 PM
RCW RCW is offline
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The Righteous Brothers had quite a range for their vocals (I don't sing). The entire song in the key of C ranges from a low F note on the D string in the bridge all the way up to a very high E note at the 12th fret of the treble E string in the chorus near the end. Do you suppose it might still sound okay to play just a portion of the bridge and/or chorus an octave higher?
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Old 12-22-2016, 06:49 PM
stanron stanron is offline
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I've just been listening to one Righteous Brother singing it. He does have a remarkable range. You should be able to play the tune without having to duplicate the bits where he sings falsetto, really high. They are embellishments to the tune rather than the tune itself. If you want to do those really high bits have a go but for me the tune would still be the tune without them.

If, by the low bit, you mean where he sings 'God speed your love' then that goes down to the open D string.

The song is accompanied by pairs of triplets like 'one two three, two two three' etc. A standard way of doing a solo form of this is to play a bass note on 'one' and chord notes on the rest. If needed a melody note is played at the same time as a bass note or instead of a chord note. Usually the melody note is above all the other chord notes. When the melody goes low you can try playing chord notes above it and try and use volume to separate them
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Old 12-22-2016, 08:59 PM
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Down on the low F just play the melody line for half a measure. You don't have to harmonize each melody note using a lower note - or if you wish change the tuning. There are different ways to deal with it. I would not go an octave higher though as it does not sound good.
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:08 AM
macmanmatty macmanmatty is offline
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I run into this all time for songs in key of G I transpose them to key of C instead. Or use some kind of open tuning Like open G or Bb
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Old 12-23-2016, 04:49 PM
RCW RCW is offline
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Thank you for the suggestions. Shortening the sections of the melody that "go low" to just half a measure should help by reducing the number of fill notes. I will also try going above the melody notes with other notes in the chord. I saw a version of the House of the Rising Sun that had all(?) the melody in the bass with fill notes from the chord played higher than the melody.

I have not participated in this forum before. Is it okay to post sample arrangements for comments? Or might there be a copyright issue? I have previously done a simple arrangement for "Surfer Girl" and had a similar problem with low melody notes in the bridge/chorus.
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:19 PM
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Samples are encouraged as they do help when trying to give suggestions.
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Old 12-23-2016, 05:53 PM
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This was my first attempt at a fingerstyle arrangement. It's very basic, but seems to let the simple melody come through. Melody notes are highlighted in light grey. A few fall onto the D string in the bridge, but sort of sound okay. I tried to capture their harmonizing vocals as they recorded in the little introduction. Comments please.




Last edited by RCW; 12-23-2016 at 05:55 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 12-31-2016, 03:53 PM
Ryler Ryler is offline
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That's a great first attempt, by the way. Well done.
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Old 01-12-2017, 06:54 PM
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What is that type of notation called? I haven't seen anything like it before.
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Old 01-13-2017, 10:35 AM
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It's tab that I created using an Excel spreadsheet. I set up different spreadsheets for 4-4, 3-4, 12-8 time. For example, the 4-4 spreadsheet has eight columns per measure for 8 eighth notes. The six rows just represent the six strings. It's a little clunky, but it works for me. I would be happy to email the blank spreadsheets to anyone who is interested.
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Old 01-13-2017, 08:25 PM
LSemmens LSemmens is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RCW View Post
It's tab that I created using an Excel spreadsheet. I set up different spreadsheets for 4-4, 3-4, 12-8 time. For example, the 4-4 spreadsheet has eight columns per measure for 8 eighth notes. The six rows just represent the six strings. It's a little clunky, but it works for me. I would be happy to email the blank spreadsheets to anyone who is interested.
I'd like to see the structure of those spreadsheets. I've become fairly competent at Excel and VBA over the years, but this looks interesting. If you don't mind. I'd like a copy, at wlsemmens (at) hotmail (dot) com. Thanks.
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Old 01-14-2017, 08:58 PM
Notguildy Notguildy is offline
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Interested too! nikkko at free dot fr
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:02 PM
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TAB spreadsheet emailed to both requests.
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