Custom Music Arrangements
Music arranging is the art and craft of writing specific notes and/or chord symbols for the instruments and vocals used in a recording or live performance.
This requires knowledge of the range, strengths, weaknesses, timbre and role of each instrument or voice within the genre of music being written for. Arranging also requires knowledge of orchestration techniques, voicing possibilities, and note doubling techniques to achieve a desired character of sound. An arranger is usually given the task of enhancing or embellishing a song, and that task requires skill and experience on the same level as that of a composer.
Chord Charts (Letter)
Conventional (letter) chord charts use letter names (A,B,C,D, etc.) to indicate the root name of a chord, and are usually used in traditional music notation, although letters can be used instead of numbers (as in a Nashville Number chart). Letter chords are common in all types of printed music, and have become a standard in the music industry.
Chord Charts (Nashville Number)
Nashville Number charts are basic chord charts (usually written in 4 or 8 bar phrases per line) that use the numbers of the key’s major scale (1,2,3,4,5,6,7) to represent a chord’s root’s name, instead of letters (A,B,C,D, etc.) This is a simplified version of basic music theory chord analysis that was first made popular by Nashville studio musicians.
The advantage of reading a chord chart utilizing the number system compared to reading a conventional (letter) chord chart becomes obvious: a number chart can be used in any key without re-writing the chart. For instance, if a singer is struggling to sing a song in a particular key, the musicians simply change the key to suit the singer, without altering the chart. This saves time in the recording studio and in live performances.
A Lead Sheet is used to document the melody, lyrics, and chord progression of a song. Some songwriters simply submit a recording of their song when registering for copyright, and that will establish ownership of that recording - but to insure that the song itself is registered, it’s a good idea to submit a lead sheet as well.
Most lead sheets are one or two pages in length and contain at least a verse, chorus, bridge and any other important section of the song. Additional verses, etc. can be added in paragraph form.
Another use for a lead sheet is Sheet Music Suitable for Framing, for awards or gifts. Surprise your songwriter friend with a tribute to their creation!
Publication-ready Sheet Music
Transcription is described here as analyzing a music recording or live performance and then writing or printing it on paper (or PDF file) in a standard form that can be read and properly interpreted by other musicians. Transcription is a listening art and skill that usually requires many years of experience to achieve fluency. A literal, note-for-note transcription is sometimes referred to as a “Takedown”.