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#2036615 - 02/20/13 08:39 PM Where to get advanced arrangements?
KataiYubi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/20/13
Posts: 32
Being a classical pianist, I was always wondering where does one get **advanced** jazzy piano arrangements of stuff like movie themes and popular songs. By **advanced**, I mean non-trivial harmonies, a good level of detail and no idiotic simplifications in the rhythm. An example of classical advanced arrangements would be Franz Liszt's transcriptions of Wagner's operas.

The local music store has lots of things of that nature for big note and easy piano, but almost none for intermediate and strictly nothing for "advanced".

The only interesting thing I've seen out there were Gershwin arrangements of his own songs that were plenty elaborate and deliciously jazzy, but unfortunately I had never heard of most of them, except from "I got rhythm".

The jazz section in the music store has lots of arrangements of jazz standards, but then nothing really popular and mainstream.

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#2036642 - 02/20/13 10:35 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012

Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 18127
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
I think it's tough to find these, KataiYoubi. The problem is that mainstream/movie/pop arrangements are marketed more toward the casual player, who is less likely to have the skills necessary to play advanced music. And I suppose the people marketing mainstream sheet music figure that it's easier for super advanced folks to jazz an arrangement up to be more sophisticated than for beginners to dumb-down harder arrangements.

Your best bet might be to find sheet music for non-classical piano solos, released by the original composers, e.g., some of the anime/video game music is pretty high level (to my ears/fingers); Yann Tiersen has some interesting and rhythmically complex works for solo piano; and my own personal favorite, Ludovico Einaudi.

And if you want TRULY advanced jazzy stuff, check out the note for note transcriptions of Keith Jarrett, e.g., the Koln Concert book. That will keep you busy for a while. grin
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

#2036644 - 02/20/13 10:44 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
Bobpickle Offline

Gold Supporter until July 10  2014

Registered: 05/24/12
Posts: 1393
Loc: Cameron Park, California
I'll simply add that it's also quite likely because the players of such arrangements are typically [fairly] advanced jazz and/or improvisational pianists with not only good ears to pick out and replicate proper melodies and harmonies, but also the know-how and experience to then re-arrange and/or improvise over them.
"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."

#2036883 - 02/21/13 11:11 AM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1313
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
Yes, most of the advanced level arrangements you hear are people who use lead sheets and improvise our own arrangements at whatever level our ability allows. Another whole world and lots of fun.

I used to look for those advanced arrangements and was frustrated too.
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#2036963 - 02/21/13 01:13 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 24768
Loc: Oakland
The problem with arrangements is that most good jazz artists never play the same piece in the same way twice. That was probably true of a lot of classical artists, as well, but they usually only wrote them down one or two different ways.
Semipro Tech

#2037054 - 02/21/13 04:25 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 22157
Loc: New York City
There is an incredible and gigantic amount of exactly the type of music you're after and much of available for free online.

For most of the jazz giants of the past and some of the present, people have made many books of note for note transcriptions of their recordings. Some of these Art Tatum, Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, Cy Walter, Keith Jarrett, George Gershwin, Erroll Garner, J.Lawrence Cooke, James P. Johnson, Fats Waller, Albert Ammons, Jelly Roll Morton, Liberace, Billy Mayerl, Ennio Morricone, Adam Caroll, Marian McPartland, etc., etc. For most of these pianists or composers there are many 100's of pages of transcriptions of their recordings available. There are many sources for these but one of the biggest free ones is

For more contemporary songs there are also an almost infinite source of advanced arrangements, for example:
This site has many movie music arrangements.

(this site has 1.5 million members and 3.5 million sheets and a "sheet" could mean a 300 page book) For a given song, you have to search the site for what's available and choose an advanced arrangement if that's what you're looking for.

This very good classical pianist has advanced covers for many very contemporary songs at a small cost.

Other sites of interest:

The sensational jazz pianist's site has hundreds of advanced arrangements available at a modest cost. But first learn his original compositon called Lullaby for Our Daughters.

The jazz pianist's site has 100's of advanced arrangements available at extremely low cost.

There are numerous sites devoted to anime and game music.

Edited by pianoloverus (02/21/13 05:36 PM)

#2037540 - 02/22/13 02:20 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
Roger Ransom Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/19/05
Posts: 1313
Loc: SouthWest Michigan
Cool, I didn't know about all those sites, Thanks for the links, I love it.
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#2037582 - 02/22/13 03:53 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
cmajornine Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/12
Posts: 72

Check this out-:


Have a look inside


If you purchase or own this book, would you be so kind as to post a few examples of you playing from the book please.

I am learning to play the piano. My main influences are Gospel, R&B and Jazz piano
Visit http://cmajorninekeyz.info/index.html

#2039090 - 02/25/13 03:06 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I'd like to add George Shearing...he has a collection of books...not difficult to read and a lot to learn.


#2039138 - 02/25/13 04:05 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: rada]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 22157
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: rada
I'd like to add George Shearing...he has a collection of books...not difficult to read and a lot to learn.

Most of those are quite "simplified" two page arrangements and certainly not on the level of his own performances.

#2042796 - 03/04/13 10:53 AM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
EJT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 28
Loc: South Bend, Indiana
I believe that Tom Roed and Dan Coates have books for "advanced" piano. Here's an example by Tom Roed:

And one by Dan Coates:

Given you're asking about popular songs, movie themes, etc., these seem right in your wheelhouse.


#2552277 - 06/26/16 10:30 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
Kevin Woosley Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 06/08/16
Posts: 3
Loc: Alabama, USA
How about this: http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/bohe...questid=9651872

(video of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LaeF65HAII)

Bohemian Rhapsody for advanced solo piano (very Lisztian in style)

#2554629 - 07/06/16 03:23 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
kanadajin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/06/14
Posts: 65
KataiYubi. this is a bit late but I was in a somewhat similar predicament a few years ago. Since you are at an advanced classical level, you are likely well versed in music theory, ear training, etc. (can you play a little bit by ear including coming up with accompaniments even if relatively simple?) There are excellent suggestions above on resources as to where to find what you are looking for, and I have myself drawn on some of them in the past. However I have had 2 specific breakthroughs (below) that made a huge difference (at least to me).

1- Looking back I find myself now actually generating a lot my own sheet music of specific performances that I particularly like through transcribing them. I use Transcribe! from Seventh String software and will write out note for note what is being played. Source material is solo piano performances from CD recordings which I own, or YouTube videos, or live Concert recordings for instance. The first few ones you do require a lot of time and effort, but as with anything the more you do it the better and faster you get. I use MuseScore for writing out the notes, it works beautifully.

This will get you pretty good at imitating which is already a step ahead and in itself can be quite satisfying. Also you will have exactly the versions of the songs which you truly want and aspire towards. But the real benefit is when you start to analyze what you transcribed and learn about chord progressions, voicings, etc. You will find that some similar patterns may start to emerge from various pieces, and that your hands start slowly to instinctively know where to go on the keyboard when trying to improvise. This does not happen overnight of course but the whole process is in fact quite enjoyable.

2- The second thing I did which also opened new doors was to study jazz piano. It was a bit of a trial and error as I searched for books, but the best ones (to me) in the end were Tim Richards Exploring Jazz Piano Vol 1 and (particularly) 2. Again as you likely have a solid background in music theory you may be able to progress quite rapidly with these. In terms of warm up jazz exercises I also sometimes use some found in Bill Cunliffe's Jazz Inventions book. While the first ones at the beginning are (almost trivially) simple, somewhere in there you will likely find some to your liking and the fun part is that with time, you may be able to extend some of them or to "embellish" what is written using your imagination. (I was unsuccessful at finding jazz piano teachers where I live so had to get creative)

The other books that I purchased in my long quest are mostly gathering dust ... Again the above is based on my own experience only.

PS I have absolutely no connection to the software or books mentioned above and purposely left out related links as I am not sure whether it is actually permitted, however Google is your friend.

#2555059 - 07/07/16 11:02 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: kanadajin]
Jen Weir Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/16
Posts: 95
Loc: Corpus Christi TX
Kanadajin, I'm not the OP, but I just want to thank you for your post above. I'm currently at breakthrough #1 as you described -- transcribing songs I like and discovering patterns. I've been playing so many pieces from one popular arranger of rock music, that I see all sorts of patterns and techniques being repeated in her arrangements. I'll take a look at the Seventh String software that you mentioned. I do use MuseScore.

I think I need to follow in your footsteps and do your breakthrough 2. I was looking for a jazz teacher in my area and was unable to find one. Thanks for the recommendations of the books.

Your post was really helpful to me. Thanks again!
Jen Weir - Piano | YouTube | ReverbNation | Soundcloud
Instagram: jencctx

#2555182 - 07/08/16 11:25 AM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: KataiYubi]
kanadajin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/06/14
Posts: 65
Jen, your kind words made my day smile

I was initially a little hesitant to post given the elapsed time since the original query from the OP back in February but went ahead anyways - glad I did. I have to say that being mostly disappointed time after time with commercially available arrangements was a big factor in the drive to try to come up with my own. It was really frustrating at first as I found it quite difficult to come up with complete songs (not just excerpts or snippets). Let me re-iterate then how useful I found the Transcribe! software to be - I downloaded it for the 30 day free trial period but after 3 or 4 days I knew I wanted it real bad so purchased it right then - the best $40 I ever spent.

Best of luck with your continuation !

#2555314 - 07/08/16 09:40 PM Re: Where to get advanced arrangements? [Re: kanadajin]
Jen Weir Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/16
Posts: 95
Loc: Corpus Christi TX
I'm downloading the Transcribe software now, to help with a rock piano cover I heard on Youtube that I've been trying to imitate. This should make it easier.
Thanks again!


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