How to arrange... History, Procedure, and Sample.


Is there any secret in my ways of arranging...? I could answer simply like this - "No Secret, but Some General with techniques". Truly saying, I have a kind of "Vision" in my mind, what will make some guidelines appeared on my work, I suppose. And what this actually may be consisted of several guitar techniques, some of which might be occured from lots of plays of other arranges of "Great Ancestors" in Ragtime Guitar. So, here are showed some inside stories about my arrangement itself... for the next generation.

History... How this unique challenge started?

Learning from the forerunners... they made possible!

As what written in the chapter - "Bio", I started my own "Ragtime guitar" career from enjoying arranges of great forerunners; some listed below.
*Now fortunately, you can find various performances on Video at Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop!

Stefan on YouTube

  • Duck Baker - "Maple Leaf Rag"
  • Jim Mclennan - "The Entertainer"
  • Lasse Johansson - "Favorite"
  • Ton Engels - "Weeping Willow"
  • David Laibman - "Graceful Ghost"
  • Ton Van Bergeyk - "Pineapple Rag" "Silver Swan" etc.

While they give me great pleasure even today, however, another interest began to increase - "How their notes are written in the original piano score?" So I bought a piano book of Scott Joplin just available in a music store, and started comparing each other, what finally has made me take out to a very long and eternal journey to the deep ragtime world...!

Finding differences gave me a new challenge to my ragtime life; The very first one was a so called "re-arranged", that is, to remake some parts in someone's arrangement as what I'd like to play under my own interests about the originality and play-ability. For example, most of the tunes listed above had been rearranged, at least with some changes adapted. However, those continuing trying may have prepared more deep curiosity gradually, I suppose now.

Just like a piano play... if I made possible?

One day looking at the score of the famous "Maple Leaf", suddenly an idea just occured in my mind... "Is possible to play this tune in the original key "A flat", by using the capo on 1st fret, what changes Dropped G tuning to the A flat key on the actual sound?" ... I now believe, for me this idea became so what "the turning point" - it was 1999, at the 100 years since the very publication of the "Maple Leaf" at 1888, often said as the beginning of the Ragtime Age.

Next, I started examining the piano score, especially the 1st part, which has a very famous and characteristic theme repeated with jumping into the octave high. Examined carefully this higher part, I noticed it would be possible to re-create this wonderful contrast just on the NORMAL guitar. This finding also made me advance on arranging one whole ragtime tune fully for myself with more faithful view to the original score than forerunners, just like replacing each keyboard note into that on the guitar-fretboard as far as possible, of course needed inevitable omitting of some notes.

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Procedure... Stages from beginning to end.

In fact there are some stages until finishing one arrangement to the end.

  1. Overview & Hand-made : Check the possibility and arrange with writing down the Tab by hand.
  2. Input data into the software : Input the notation into the tablature software, "TablEdit".
  3. Examine by the view of player : Exercise to play for review with the printed sheet.
  4. Final check & Finish : Coordinating all for finish; someday will be revised.

About this procedure I'm going to write more details...


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General... My approach about the Ragtime Guitar Arrangement.

Introduction... Revision work has made my approach clear.

Now it has been almost one decade since I had arranged my first "Maple leaf" ; then due to lots of difficult challenges over 35 tunes(!) I had been a little bit tired these years for this hard-knock works. However, on getting into the new world of YouTube, I have returned to this ragtime world with a new dimension, called "Revision"; there will be found another interests and a kind of refresh feeling for the music - in other words it may be called "Re-affection for music", I wonder.

Revising that "Maple Leaf" in almost 10 years, I had recognized again a kind of the concept or guidelines for arranging for myself, and it might be advanced in a more clear style on this work - if simply said, "Just more easily and exactly". For example, if someone carefully examines my arranges in every note, there will be found some typical points of my tendency or concept. So, here will be self-introduced some of my "General and Guidelines", with the examples of music sheet and tab. I hope they will slightly help you to enjoy my arrangements, if you would like to experience this hard-knock wonderland... ;-)

Guidelines... Not rules, but helps.


Some of them are listed below with the title. If you'd like, read detals...

  • Playing key : musical key of the tune arranged.
  • Main bass note : the treatment of bass note in piano's left hand.
  • Reducing tones : how to omit tones in harmonic chord, also in left hand.
  • Harmonics available : utilizing the harmonics technique.


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Sample... "The Entertainer for beginners" is FREE for download!

Honestly saying, this arrange doesn't go along the guidelines above... but, I hope it will also have some of my own colors of arrangement, moreover, another value - that is, "Easy to play" (than any other of mine).

small image of tab

  • On click the left image picture, you can see the tab sheet in PDF.
  • If you need, please save it in your PC, then be back here for yourself with "Back" button on your Browser
  • MIDI is available HERE, for your help to catch the sound or fun to listen.
  • This sheet shall be used for your own play and personal joy... Thank You!
  • If you need to give it to friends, please announce them this site (URL)... ;-)

If you feel easy to play, you will be able to try another version of this tune which is more difficult but similar to the original piano score; visit the page "Tabs Available" to find some versions in "the List of Tabs".

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► Note

Free PDF "The Entertainer for beginners" is ready below for download.

icon_tab_listGet FREE excerpts to review.

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