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> Re-orchestration Or Covering A Song
Cosmin Lupu
post May 14 2013, 01:57 PM
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How do you add your personality to a song that was already written and recorded?

There are two possibilities here:

- either you play it just like the original
- your personality as a band or artist is so strong, that you somehow manage to reshape that song in such a way that it sounds like the soung that it was actually meant to be.

I think you would agree with me when I say there are cases in which a cover sounds better than the original, right?

Anyway, I was curious to see your view over this re-orchestration process - have you tried to re-orchestrate a piece? If yes, what have you changed and why and how have you managed to make it sound like you, rather than the original? Or was your aim simply educational and you played it just like the original in order to enrich your vocabulary and refine your technique.

I for one, always aim for two things:

- bringing something catchy into the mix - like a theme that complements what already exists in the song
- changing the atmosphere completely, by never trying to re-orchestrate a rock tune into another rock tune. I always go for opposites: if it's a mellow song, I turn it into an aggressive one and viceversa.

An example that is at hand would be this rendition of the famous Phil Collins song I did as a lesson for GMC:

The original:



The re-orchestrated version:



What are your secret ingredients for such a musical mission?

Cosmin


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klasaine
post May 14 2013, 03:40 PM
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For me, when I do a cover in a band that usually does originals, the most important thing is to find and keep what it is about the original version that made it a great song, that made it a hit, that made it compelling enough for YOU to want to re-do it. And then at least retain that element.

This post has been edited by klasaine: May 14 2013, 03:49 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 15 2013, 07:32 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ May 14 2013, 02:40 PM) *
For me, when I do a cover in a band that usually does originals, the most important thing is to find and keep what it is about the original version that made it a great song, that made it a hit, that made it compelling enough for YOU to want to re-do it. And then at least retain that element.


Aye, good thinking Ken, you are right! Have you any recordings of a famous song you covered? I'd be curious to listen to some


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PosterBoy
post May 15 2013, 08:37 AM
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If I want to cover a song and make it my own I only listen to the original enough to get the basics of the song down, I then let it evolve with subtle melody and phrasing changes, and listening to see if I'm hearing any re harmonisation opportunities.


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Darius Wave
post May 15 2013, 09:09 AM
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I'm not really u fan of doing covers...I mean...I like the covers that are completely different in case of arrangement but keep the main melody original. I don't see the point of doing covers...of course other than self promoting. It's nothing bad and I'm not saying it sucks but in my private opinion there is no need to redo something that already been done same way. If I like to listen to Jeff Beck ...I'm looking for originals, not for the covers.


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klasaine
post May 15 2013, 04:51 PM
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Original - 'Vera' from Pink Floyd the Wall (it's live, as I can't find an album version on the tube) ...



Mine ...

https://soundcloud.com/klasaine/k03-vera

* also, the first soundclound in my sig is a stevie wonder tune.

This post has been edited by klasaine: May 15 2013, 04:53 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 16 2013, 08:58 AM
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Unfortunately, the Youtube link is not available in my country sad.gif but your rendition sounds great. Are you by any chance responsible with the sax playing as well? biggrin.gif That bit around 02:41 sounds very close to Steve Vai's style of playing such lines. Great work man!


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klasaine
post May 16 2013, 03:28 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ May 16 2013, 12:58 AM) *
Unfortunately, the Youtube link is not available in my country sad.gif but your rendition sounds great. Are you by any chance responsible with the sax playing as well? biggrin.gif That bit around 02:41 sounds very close to Steve Vai's style of playing such lines. Great work man!


Thanks.
No, the sax player is a guy named Phil Moore. He also wrote the horn arrangements. That was recorded live by the way.
As for the Steve Vai similarity on that one 'angular' lick ... I took eight lessons from him 27 years ago so I suppose something rubbed off (not any of his speed though, lol!).

This post has been edited by klasaine: May 16 2013, 03:29 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 17 2013, 09:11 AM
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Hehehe! This is definitely something you HAVE to tell us ALL ABOUT biggrin.gif


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Darius Wave
post May 17 2013, 09:47 AM
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Klasaine - You playing awesome piece of music! Love it!


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klasaine
post May 17 2013, 06:07 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ May 17 2013, 01:11 AM) *
Hehehe! This is definitely something you HAVE to tell us ALL ABOUT biggrin.gif


A positive by-product of shared geography.
During the end of his stint with Zappa but before the DLR gig (1983 ish), when he was in town, he'd give lessons. I found out he'd teach via a guitar playing buddy who was studying with him. I remember I just called him on the phone and we set up a weekly lesson (wednesday nights at 7:00 pm - $25.00 an hour). This lasted two months (8 lessons) when he got a gig with PIL or Whitesnake(?).
He lived in Sylmar - a fairly rural suburb of Los Angeles (now he has a villa in the hollywood hills). I may be mis-remembering this but I think he had chickens on the property. He had a decent sized home studio (which in 1983 is a 'real' recording studio - tape machine - 2", 16 track I think, board, live room, etc.) and he'd give the lessons in the control room.
He focused me on a lot of harmony and theory, cool chord voicings and helped me to really understand how to use the modes of the major scale correctly. Also, how to construct chord voicings and chord progressions from the (major scale) modes. He was VERY systematic. He also didn't take any shit about 'not' practicing. "Do you want to do it? - fing DO IT!"
His overall focus - at least with me - was, technique is only a means to an end - music is the most important thing.
In the first lesson he asked what I wanted to learn. I wasn't smart enough to actually have a real goal so I just said 'technique' - to me at the time it was the most obvious thing about Steve Vai - his chops, right. So he asked me to play him something. I played him a jazz chord melody. The he asked if I improvised and we jammed over something, I can't remember what exactly. I'm sure it was a one or two chord vamp. He said, "your technique is fine - you wanna get 'faster'? - keep doing what you're doing, pay attention to fret hand efficiency, work with a metronome and practice all the time" ... and that was it. He never talked about actual, physical technique again.
*He also practiced like crazy!

This post has been edited by klasaine: May 17 2013, 06:29 PM


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 18 2013, 12:11 PM
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Hahaha biggrin.gif This sounds like a piece of history! What a lucky dog you are, Ken! Very nice!


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klasaine
post May 18 2013, 04:58 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ May 18 2013, 04:11 AM) *
Hahaha biggrin.gif This sounds like a piece of history! What a lucky dog you are, Ken! Very nice!


Like I said, "a positive by-product of shared geography".


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 19 2013, 09:51 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ May 18 2013, 03:58 PM) *
Like I said, "a positive by-product of shared geography".


Theoretically, that would give every guitar player in LA a chance, nowadays biggrin.gif


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Bogdan Radovic
post May 21 2013, 11:22 AM
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What we did was just learn songs as covers but they would always somehow end up sounding like "our band". Trick I did was to never get too much into the lines I need to learn etc rather just wagely listen to the song details and come up with my version. Its always similar but different then original. I guess all the other band members did that and it was relatively a "subconscious process" that led to some cool covers. We didn't try to make an elaborate effort to re-orchestrating though we did change arrangements of the songs in such way to remove parts/shorten them etc to suit our style/vision of the song.


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klasaine
post May 21 2013, 03:57 PM
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QUOTE (Bogdan Radovic @ May 21 2013, 03:22 AM) *
change arrangements of the songs in such way to remove parts/shorten them etc to suit our style/vision of the song.


Great point.
Sometimes out of necessity you have to change things because it's impossible to actually do some of the parts.
Like if you're a Trio and you want to play a 'Chicago' song - you're gonna have to adjust ... or, pick the right Chicago song to cover. (Picking tunes is an art in itself.)


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 22 2013, 11:35 AM
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In here, a lot of folks in cover bands have a great obsession on copying the songs EXACTLY or as close as possible to the original... A few years ago, I regarded that as a sign of respect to the composer, but now it seems like a never ending quest that can many times fail miserably, simply because, the composer feels and sees things differently and every interpret as well.

Bogdan's approach is definitely a winner!


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klasaine
post May 22 2013, 05:40 PM
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QUOTE (Cosmin Lupu @ May 22 2013, 03:35 AM) *
In here, a lot of folks in cover bands have a great obsession on copying the songs EXACTLY or as close as possible to the original... A few years ago, I regarded that as a sign of respect to the composer, but now it seems like a never ending quest that can many times fail miserably, simply because, the composer feels and sees things differently and every interpret as well.

Bogdan's approach is definitely a winner!


Of course it depends on the band and the situation. If you're hired to be a cover band - BE a cover band.
If you just want to do a tune that you like then just do it your way. My only advice is to remember what it is that drew you to the tune in the first place ... keep that.


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Cosmin Lupu
post May 23 2013, 07:19 AM
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When I approached the Phil Collins tune, I had the groove and the main theme in my head and I had the metal sound, dancehall groove and atmospheric idea in the beginning as building blocks. I always enjoyed playing it live on stage as it gave off a lot of energy.


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klasaine
post May 23 2013, 03:58 PM
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You demonstrate what I'm talking about perfectly.
I can tell the tune by :21


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