The band, Postmodern Jukebox was created by this guy, Scott Bradlee. Not only is Scott an amazingly accomplished pianist, but he is also an arranger.
An arranger is someone who takes an existing song and changes the elements of music to make it sound different. Normally the arranger will keep the lyrics, the melody, and often times the chords. Everything else, though, is likely going to change.
For example, arrangers will normally change the instruments used. If the original song uses a full band with a drum set, electric guitar, piano, and bass, the arranger might change the texture to only an acoustic guitar playing. In the case of Postmodern Jukebox, they like to take popular, modern songs and change the elements to make them into an older sounding style.
Story of My Life by One Direction.
This is the original song.
As you listen, pay attention to how the band is using the elements of music - how many singers are there? What instruments are used? How loud is the song? When do you tap your foot?
Story of My Life by Postmodern Jukebox
Now do the same thing for the Postmodern Jukebox version.
What elements have changed?
Melody: Did the singable parts of the song stay the same?
Rhythm: Did the notes stay as long or short as they were in the original?
Harmony: Were the stacks of notes in the background the same?
Form: Did the order of the song change? (verse, chorus, bridge. . . )
Texture: Were any different instruments used? If there were some repeated instruments in both versions, were they used differently in the song?
Tempo: Was one version faster or slower than the other?
Dynamics: Were any parts of the song louder or quieter than the original?
If you’re interested in more Postmodern Jukebox videos, here are a few of my other favorites. . . .
Have a jamming morning!