A blog that discusses contemporary a cappella music, the educational practices of a cappella music, a cappella improvisation exercises, and a cappella in popular culture.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
100 Ways to Make a Medley
A student came up to me recently, frustrated with the task of composing an interesting medley, as commissioned by another group. For him, and for everyone else looking to make your medley stand out from the crowd, I offer these helpful suggestions.
[ADDITIONAL NOTE: Clearly, there are areas in this list where I started to run out of ideas. Just ignore those...]
1) Songs from the same decade 2) Songs from the same genre 3) Songs from the same artist 4) Songs from the same composer 5) Songs from the same lyricist 6) Songs from the same show 7) Songs from the same movie 8) Songs from the same television show 9) Songs from the same block of television shows 10) Songs from video games 11) Songs you all love 12) Songs you all hate 13) Songs that, when you put the lyrics together, they tell a story 14) Songs with the same chord progression 15) Songs from commercials 16) Songs from the same region 17) One song covered by multiple artists 18) Songs with the same lyrical topic 19) Songs that have nothing to do with each other in any way 20) Songs where the verse of one song could be better complimented by the chorus of a different song 21) Songs that start with the same melodic interval 22) Songs with the same rhythm 23) Songs that demonstrate how uncreative an artists is, because every song sounds exactly the same 24) Songs performed at a specific concert 25) Songs from the same album 26) Songs that start in different keys, just to demonstrate how good your arranger is at linking them together 27) Songs you can dance to 28) Romantic songs 29) Power ballads 30) Songs with extreme guitar solos 31) Songs that all start with the same word 32) Songs from a specific holiday 33) songs that make you laugh 34) Songs that make you cry 35) Songs that feature one soloist singing with different voices 36) Songs that are popular with Karaoke singers 37) Songs with extremely difficult-to-sing melodies 38) Songs that have never been released 39) Songs that can be looped 40) Songs that change their harmonic progression by adding a different bass line 41) Songs in the same time signature 42) Songs that are typically covered by a cappella groups 43) Songs that are never covered by a cappella groups 44) Songs that someone told you could never be performed by an a cappella group, EVER. 45) Songs that are impossible to cover because you would need a specific instrument to make it authentic, and yet you cover it anyway 46) Songs from a specific license company 47) Songs that tell a story…a story that already has different songs attached to it 48) Songs that progressively get faster 49) Songs that progressively get slower 50) Songs from a specific culture 51) Songs in a different language 52) Songs first sung in English, then covered in different languages 53) Songs made up by weird, unusual sounds 54) Songs that annoy everyone 55) Songs that everyone in the audience knows the words to 56) Songs that describe one person, whether that person is real or fake 57) First song has a soloist, second song has a duet, third song has a trio, etc. 58) Songs chosen entirely at random in advance 59) Songs chosen entirely at random from the audience 60) Songs with very long intros, and you never quite get to the words 61) Songs that won awards 62) Songs that hit #1 on the Billboard or iTunes chart 63) Songs that you are sure no one has ever heard of 64) Original songs 65) Parodies 66) A medley of songs that are linked by a continuous solo countermelody 67) Songs in the style of a fugue 68) Theme and variations 69) Songs in AABA form 70) Songs covered by a specific a cappella group 71) A medley of medleys 72) Songs that allow for humorous dialogue interludes 73) Songs that could only be performed in a specific type of setting 74) Songs that require a specific type of technology 75) Songs that could be used for a Riff-Off 76) Songs that combine styles of music very well 77) Medleys of mash-ups 78) Songs with the same bass line 79) Songs that tie together a video clip 80) Songs with similar choreography 81) Songs that demonstrate unique choreography 82) Songs that could be staged like a play 83) A medley that comes full circle (Song 1-Song 2-Song 3-Song 2-Song 1) 84) A medley of songs, if they were sung by a different artist 85) A day in the life of a particular artist 86) A medley of songs with misheard lyrics 87) A medley of songs with the original lyrics, rhythm, melody, etc. 88) A medley of songs that blatantly stole from other songs 89) A medley of songs that only work with extreme dynamics 90) A medley of songs sung with heavy vibrato 91) A medley of songs sung with no words, just humming 92) A “name that tune” medley 93) A medley where the next song is determined by a roll of the dice or flip of the coin 94) A medley that forces everyone in your group to adopt a new, unfamiliar, personality 95) Songs all covered by a specific a cappella arranger 96) Songs in public domain 97) Songs that are popular at your local school 98) A medley of 100 songs in 3 minutes 99) A medley of songs all sung at exactly the same time 100) A medley of why you hate medleys
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