Updated: Aug 5
The one question from our clients that is asked most often is, "Can you play songs that are not on your rep list?" YES! We can literally play anything. While our rep list is huge and covers music from over five centuries, from Renaissance dances to Taylor Swift, there are way too many songs to put on one list. We spend a lot of time writing arrangements, purchasing music and creating playlists for our live performances in order to ensure that we are playing what our clients and audiences want to hear. Unlike a DJ, who can simply go online and find tracks on the spot, a string quartet needs to acquire an arrangement of printed sheet music that is suitable to be read by a string quartet.
How we acquire new music The requests we get range from very popular songs to obscurities that only a few people know. We have even performed music at events that were specifically composed just for that one performance. In addition, we are often asked to back up a singer. We need our music to be set in the key, range, and form for the singer. Here are the three ways we acquire new music. 1. Purchase We purchase music from online sources.
2. Write an arrangement. This is the method that is the most costly due to the amount of time it takes. If the music is available in piano form or some other media it makes the process a bit faster, but sometimes we just have an audio track or YouTube video to hear and then transcribe the song note for note. This can take a long time. We charge from $150 - $200 for each custom arrangement that we have to "start from scratch". I have arranged over 600 pieces of music that are played all over the world. Every year I am hired to write about 50 arrangements for orchestras, church music, brass, strings and other combinations. You can view some of my arrangements at peakviewmusic.com. Most of the music played by Cloud 9 Strings was arranged by me.
3. Swap. We enjoy networking with other event string quartets. I also like discovering that other groups around the country are enjoying my arrangements.
Make Your Request We add many pieces to our playlist each year based upon requests from clients including old songs that we don't currently own, new movie music and new popular songs. Some things to consider when choosing a piece for us to play is to imagine what it will sound like with only four string musicians. Songs that don't have much melody, are heavy on drums and rely on text don't work that well. Some pieces are too massive for us to pull off. Star Wars for example, has great music and we play it a lot but realize that we don't have trumpets, drums, and 40 string instruments It is not going to sound just like the movie. Let us know if you have off-list requests. We can look up how we can make it happen. Keep in mind that there may be an extra fee depending on how we need to purchase or write the arrangement.