Can I hire someone to write an arrangement for me to play on piano?
June 21, 2019 9:11 AM   Subscribe

I love the song "Pretty Ballerina" by Left Banke. I play the piano at a level above beginner, but not much. I can't find music for this song, not even music that's too hard for me.

Sheet music for this song has appeared on eBay in the past, and I have an ongoing search for it. Other searches have been completely fruitless. But I'm wondering if I can hire someone to write an arrangement I can play. Is it legal to do this for my personal use only? If so, how would I go about finding someone who can do this? Is "arrangement" the term I want, or is there something else? I have found some online sites for hiring musicians, but would I be able to find someone willing to do something like this (it seems like a pretty small job compared to what sites are talking about)? Do you know of any particular sites that are good? Also, on the sites I've looked at musicians charge by the hour. Any guesses as to how long this would take someone?
posted by FencingGal to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You'll find someone to do it for you on Fiverr.
posted by oh pollo! at 9:24 AM on June 21, 2019

You could also post this on MetaFilter Jobs.

How long it takes depends on a lot of factors, but I've met people who could sit down at a keyboard and play virtually any song they've heard in any style you could imagine, so it's possible this wouldn't take long at all.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:43 AM on June 21, 2019

Do you absolutely require sheet music? Or would you be satisfied if someone just taught you to play the song?

Just a thought. I’m told there’s a big business in online music lessons. The latter route might be easier / cheaper / have other advantages. Like: you can hear their interpretation first thing, and decide if you like it.
posted by doctor tough love at 10:00 AM on June 21, 2019

Terminology: Listening to the song, I don't think you need an arrangement, just a transcription. That is, unless you want to capture aspects of the song other than the piano (e.g. vocals and strings) in the sheet music.

The melody and chord figuring are slightly nonstandard, with funny diminishings. (I'm pants at playing by ear so I can't tell the specifics here.) Which is to say: you might get a different (worse) result if you hire someone who's not as skilled and/or not as familiar with the song, i.e., figuring it out for you being the first time they've heard it.
posted by supercres at 10:04 AM on June 21, 2019

That is, unless you want to capture aspects of the song other than the piano (e.g. vocals and strings) in the sheet music.

I want to be to play it on the piano so that it sounds like the song as a whole, rather than just the piano part, if that makes sense.
Basically, I want what I would get if I walked into a music store in 1966 and bought piano sheet music for the song or comparable to what I would get now if I bought a book of Beatles songs for piano.

(Thanks so much for all of the answers so far!)
posted by FencingGal at 10:19 AM on June 21, 2019

Then yes, arrangement is the term you want.
posted by acidnova at 10:26 AM on June 21, 2019

You could buy this midi file and load it into some midi software and look at the music notation.
Anvil Studio is free option.
posted by canoehead at 11:31 AM on June 21, 2019

A google search for "Pretty Ballerina" by Left Banke piano cover shows some potential sources. There's a youtube video where the performer offers the arrangement via email.

It's a nice song that works well as piano and vocal. Good Luck!
posted by jclarkin at 1:51 PM on June 21, 2019 [1 favorite]

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