top of page

Supplement: UCLA


Kyu Park

Good music warmly enlightens our hearts and even arouses our musical sense. After hearing the exquisite melodies of famous songs like “Hey Jude” or “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, many of us want to mimic that impressive in our own ways. Some may track down sheet music and notations to do so, but I don’t have to, for I can rely on having perfect pitch.

Some may argue that arranging falls outside of the realm of “creativity”, but I beg to differ. Yes, the melody and chords are already created, but it is I who experiments with different rhythmic combinations within a chord, taking chances and taking unexpected turns. If the melody is too monotonous, I consider adding a few ornaments or harmonies to make it more interesting. Plus, combining all different sounds—voice, drum, bass and all other instruments—into one piano arrangement is definitely something that shouldn’t be underestimated. Just as a translator needs to be as good a poet as the one being translated, so too an arranger must understand the soul of the piece, and in this way is an artist too.

And like all artists, I sometimes face obstacles, which I would refer to as “arranger’s block”. And yet the challenges arrangers must face are as difficult as the original creators. Ostentatious usage of trills and arpeggios might create a needlessly-complicated arrangement and perhaps ruin the harmony, but that doesn’t mean I should be parsimonious in using them.

The arrangement created after all the arduous steps is quite different from the original recording. In my hands, a depressing minor song can be reborn as a jokingly staccato one. Maybe it could be considered a failure, but I believe my arrangements are frequently better than other versions, perhaps even than the original.

Creativity is an ability to express oneself. My arrangement, too, expresses and represents myself. As a proud father of the arrangements, I consider myself creative in the way that I discover myself through arranging other people’s music.

bottom of page