About the arrangement
Over The Rainbow is one of my favorite classic jazz standards. Most of you might know it from the classic movie The Wizard Of Oz, for which it was actually composed.
I love everything about this song, it’s melody (which is so cleverly based on a descending diatonic stepwise motion during the [A] section), the harmony, and of course the lyrics that make us hope there could actually be more to life than what we are experiencing day in and day out. Something worth dreaming about and searching for.
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The Beginning (A1)
Before I start arranging one of the classics, I always listen to the original version. This way I can be sure I know the song correctly, and that I get its emotional intentions right when arranging the music. It also assured that I am working with the correct melody and chord changes.
Once I was done doing that, I began collecting ideas for my solo piano arrangement of Over The Rainbow. After reading the lyrics it occurred to me that it might be nice to imitate a wind-up music box, which was often used to play back a Lullaby to a child going to sleep. This approach was inspired by the opening lyrics "Somewhere over the rainbow way up high, There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby". Ultimately, I decided to start the song like this. So I created a glockenspiel like 8th note repetitive line for the left hand placed in the mid-higher register of the piano. This line continues similarly throughout the first A section.
The second [A] section
The second [A] section is more like a Chopin prelude in style, featuring polyphony in both hands. The left hand continues the steady 8th note idea from the beginning, but is placed in the lower register.
The bridge is very calm and emotional, free of tempo, inspired by the little girl Dorothy singing about her dream of a carefree land somewhere over the rainbow.
Someday I ... wake up where the clouds are far behind me,
Where troubles melt like lemon drops,
... That's where you'll find me.
The Last 2 [A] sections and the outro
The last A section is in tempo. Here I focused on bringing out the beautiful harmony of the song.
It leads into the last section that has elements of both the A and B section, featuring a steady tempo and 8th note triplets in the left hand, which creates the impression that the tempo has increased with the intention of creating a sense of excitement similar to the moment when Dorothy arrived at her fantasy land.
The outro calms everything down again, signaling the end of the dream.