At Popped String, we’re excited to be getting into all different types of pop music, from recent R&B to moody tango classics. A little while ago, we put the finishing touches on a string quartet version of “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys.  The vocal gymnastics and repeating piano rhythm in the song create some nice passages for strings to really dig into.

And then, when you’re given the task of arranging one of the most covered pop songs of all time, which version do you work off of? Bésame Mucho” was written in 1940 by songwriter Consuelo Velázquez. No matter which version you listen to, this fantastic song is so swoony and romantic that you can’t help being put under its spell. We felt like the entire process of arranging it for string quartet was a dream filled with lovers tango dancing by the banks of the river in a misty evening with the lights of the city reflecting off of gently rocking waves. Or maybe we’ve seen too many classic movie musicals.

So do we work from an instrumental accordion version when arranging it? Or from Tino Rossi’s luscious 1945 French version? Marta Mirska’s darkly emotional 1947 Polish version? Plácido Domingo’s 1980s disco version (that sounds a little like “The Phantom of the Opera”)??? One of Cesária Évora’s emotional covers? We chose to go with a more modern feel, following the Andrea Bocelli recording closely. The turns of the classical guitar in this version were well suited to strings. But this song is so iconic, that maybe a little of all of the versions comes across in our string quartet arrangement. However, if you really want an arrangement of this song that follows another version specifically, that’s no problem. We do rearrangements. Email us to find out more!

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We’ve been arranging some recent Americana hits for string quartet, and their soft, sentimental feel is an excellent fit for string ensembles. First, we return to the Twilight movie series soundtrack with “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron and Wine. This song gives strings the chance to play a gentle, lilting, country-western waltz. Then, we return to Popped String favorite Jason Mraz for his song “I Won’t Give Up.” This is an excellent addition to the “I’m Yours” string quartet and string trio arrangements that have been so popular for weddings. Finally, we stay close to home with Los Angeles band Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros with a string quartet arrangement of their hit “Home.” Hopefully, this will be the first in a series of arrangements featuring our local favorites.

And then, what do you call Australian Americana music? Australiana? Hmm. Well, we arranged for string quartet the song chosen for a recent Australian tourism campaign that has become a big hit on its own: “It’s Like Love” by Dewayne Everettsmith and Jasmine Beams.  To translate this duet of singer/guitarist and violist to string quartet, we pass the vocal and viola melodies between the violin 1, violin 2, and viola parts. This creates a lot of movement and sound variety.

Keep your eyes on this page for more Americana/folk/country-western arrangements, and contact us with your requests.

Love isn’t always polished. Popped String got the chance to create new string quartet arrangements for two incredibly romantic songs with lyrics that point out that love and romance often involve household chores, confusion, and silliness.

When you’re thinking about wedding music, the first movie that probably comes to mind is The Wedding Singer. Adam Sandler’s simple, heartfelt, quirky song “I Wanna Grow Old with You” features just soft vocals and acoustic guitar. When we got a request to arrange the song for string quartet, we never expected to unlock soaring counter-melodies and forceful rhythm parts, but that sort of thing just happens sometimes. We’re very happy with how the arrangement turned out and are sure you’ll love it, too.

In 1999, The Magnetic Fields released a giant concept album called 69 Love Songs that covers all different views on love and relationships. The song “The Book of Love” is about romance without any frills, and it has a beautiful lo-fi sound. Peter Gabriel covered this song a few years later for the movie Shall We Dance and went with a lush string orchestra accompaniment for a completely different take on the music. Honestly, we liked both versions, so the string quartet version is inspired by both—with some unique ideas thrown into the mix.

Popped String Arrangements loves all genres of music, and we think you can express your real emotions in so many different, non-traditional ways. We’re excited to get your requests!

The requests for Beatles songs keep coming in, and it makes perfect sense. The Beatles loved using stringed instruments in their music and dabbling in all different genres, including baroque and classical. We recently arranged three string trios of popular Fab Four hits.

First, the strings-heavy classic “Eleanor Rigby.” The original just featured vocals and a string quartet. This arrangement stays close to the original (with some new surprises) while the violin and viola pass the melody back and forth. (Don’t worry, a two-violin trio is also available if you need it.) Then, we have the George Harrison classic “Here Comes the Sun.” This light and airy classic has a lot of beautiful harmonies built into it and translates so well to strings. Finally, we have what is listed as one of the most covered songs of all time, Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday.” The original is so simple and sweet, so we thought the best way to translate the song into string trio form was to add just the right amount of new moving parts and harmonies in the accompaniment parts. Especially in the cello line, some delicate arpeggios complexity without getting in the way of the main melody.

Let us know your requests for Beatles music and other classics! 

There have been so many additions to the catalog, and we’re not slowing down anytime soon! On the string quartet side, we’ve added a pair of recent hits: the quirky, upbeat “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen and the more serious and broad  “One Day Like This” by Elbow. The original songs have completely different tones, but they both work really well as string quartet arrangements. The original character is maintained while the strings bring a unique quality to each.

While we love arranging brand new music, the classic hits are always fun, too. There have been a lot of requests for Beatles songs lately, so we got the chance to create string quartet and trio arrangements for the bossa nova love song “And I Love Her.” The original song has a lot of nice open space that isn’t always the best for a string group, so we had some fun adding in new harmonies and moving parts to really fill out the sound.

Keep an eye on the News section for more Beatles music in upcoming weeks.

Want a Star Wars-themed wedding ceremony? You’re in luck, because we’ve just put the finishing touches on string quartet arrangements of “Imperial March” from The Empire Strikes Back and the Star Wars opening titles music suite. For the true fan, these are complex arrangements inspired by the original scores, not just simple arrangements of the main melodies. And you probably don’t have to twist our arms too hard to convince us to arrange the Ewok Celebration Song. Yubnub!

Contact us to find out more!

The string quartet is still the most popular combination for weddings and other events, but the string trio is gaining popularity. So similar to a quartet, yet the trio has its own unique energy. We got the chance this month to transform three of our string quartet arrangements into trio form: “Set Fire to the Rain” by Adele, “Just the Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, and “Marry Me” by Train. And for each of these songs, we have a violin, viola, cello version and a 2-violin + cello version.

Contact poppedstringarrangements@gmail.com to join the mailing list to find out about new arrangements.