Grieg – In the Hall of the Mountain King arrangement

Received an idea to arrange Grieg’s piece from the Peer Gynt suite. It’s hard to find pieces so descriptive and picturesque! I liked the idea.

I’ve studied orchestration and arrangement for about 4 years under the guidance of good professors, exercising in arranging from one instrument to the whole orchestra and vice versa.

To squeeze symphonic orchestra within the limits of the guitar is not an easy task, but definitely interesting one!

I decided to work in the following way: (1) hear the most essential melodic parts of the orchestral instruments, (2) hear the most essential supportive (accompaniment) parts of the orchestral instruments, (3) notate it all for guitar and finally (4) make it comfortable and “guitaristic” to play.

Only years later I realized, that you can be very pedantic, extremely precise to safe every possible note when transferring orchestral score to one single guitar. But if after it is so hard to play, that you loose great deal of character, melody and rhythm, then what’s the point? Melody and rhythm drive music forward! These 2 elements have to be preserved as much as possible. If you make the score more transparent and leave bunch of notes out, but can freely and smoothly, with ease and joy play the main parts – arrangement will only win!

One of the TIPS I also use, is: to listen the recording of a piece from a phone or a laptop – anything that is a non professional sound equipment, – there you hear the alpha and omega stuff and don’t hear so much details, how and what moves the music forward. When you listen to orchestra at a concert, it’s actually pretty hard to hear every single instrument and to reveal what its role and what it supplies, but you can hear the main THEME, the main MELODY and after perceive the supportive rhythm and the main harmony. I find this approach helpful and rewarding.