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High Quality Pop Music for SSA/SSAA

I have started an advanced SSA/SSAA group at my Middle School, and one of my students introduced me to the "Just the Way You Are/Just a Dream" mashup from the movie Pitch Perfect. In the past, when working with my elementary and beginning middle school ensembles, I have not done much pop music, for this reason: most pop music arranged for 2pt and SAB voicings is simply overglorified solo music. It has the feel of "melody and close harmony with it, along with a piano reduction of the instrumental accompaniment." I feel that I could almost produce these on my own; these could be fine for pops concerts or show choirs, but I don't value them as much for choir concerts.

However, the arrangement that I referenced above was different - it was a cappella but accessible for these singers, interesting to perform yet simple to learn, a piece that was written for and intended for a choir, not only a soloist, and overall a good selection that fit well on a concert of other quality repertoire. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it wasn't schlocky.
I'm asking for recommendations of high quality pop music to perform with my advancd SSA/SSAA ensemble. I'm not sure the best way to find these pieces, and would really appreciate good recommendations. It's really hard to wade through all the arrangements out there. I'd prefer a cappella, but it's not absolutely necessary.
Thanks in advance!
Replies (8): Threaded | Chronological
on May 24, 2014 2:39am
Hi David,
I have found the best place to find good arrangements of SSA/SSAA pop music.  I work with a ladies choir with little or no sight reading skills and have no plroblem teaching these arrangements to them.  As you can imagine, the big hit at the moment is the movie "Frozen".  Lovely arrangement of "Let It Go".  Also a big hit at the moment is "Happy".  The artist Adele is hugely popular. "Move" from Dreamgirls, "Jar of Hearts", "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do", "I Dreamed A Dream".
Hope you have fun with these pieces.  We have!!! Martina Ryan Egan
on May 24, 2014 2:44am
David, you can take a glance at . There are a couple of pop SSAA scores. Fabio
on May 24, 2014 4:18am
Dear David,  This may be of interest.  I wrote this 'pop' song titled Refuse to Lose for schools in the run up to the Olympic Games in 2012 and got around 20,000 singing and dancing at different point around the country.  The idea being to take the qualities of the athlete like dedication, discipline and tenacity and put them into the words helping anyone who learns and sings the song to know what they have to do to achieve there goal - not just sport but whatever their aspirations may be.  Everything needed is available as free downloads on the page on my website - here is a link you can copy and paste into your browser.
Good luck
Robin Mayhew
on May 24, 2014 5:55am
I like the arramgement   Happy Together    by Ken Berg  SSA   Good for choir beginning to sing in harmony,  as the voicing is well done and increases in interest as the piece evolves.   
Thanks for initiating this topic.  It is one of great interest to me,  as I share your assessment of most arrangments I have seen.  
on May 24, 2014 7:25am
Check out Scala, the girl's choir from Belgium. They are the group that recorded "Creep" by Radiohead for the movie Social Network. They do beautiful work. Do not know how to access their arrangements, but what they do is a great reference.
on May 24, 2014 9:30am
This is a tricky category for young ladies; many pop arrangements can get really, really low!  When the alto 2 gets too low for my girls I invite a couple of tenors to sing with us-- or I join them myself (I'm a low alto.)  Here are a few arrangements that have worked really well for my a cappella girls:
- God Only Knows (arr. Deke Sharon)
- Fields of Gold (arr. Deke Sharon)
- Here Comes the Sun (arr. Deke Sharon)
- Son de Camaguey (arr. Hatfield)
- Bumble Bee (Real Group)
- Penny Lane (arr. Snyder)
Kelly Truax
Applauded by an audience of 2
on May 28, 2014 5:23am
I agree with this, but if the overall range of the piece is manageable you can raise the key by a half-step or two. Most arrangers that I've talked to would rather have you perform their piece in a different key than not perform it at all. Of course, you need to watch the 1st soprano part, but many pop songs are originally in an alto or mezzo range to begin with, so this may be an option.
David Headings
on May 24, 2014 9:39am
Hi, David -
At my just re-vamped and updated website you can type in the SSA/SSAA genre and up will pop a complete list of pieces I've done...with full recordings.
In addition, I encourage you to not be necessarily swayed by pop music that's currently considered "popular". Good news: Current technology allows almost anyone to write a song these days,...(bad news)..for me, a lot of lyrics, melody and harmony have deteriorated in quality over the last 20-25 years. Be picky.
As the dog whisperer says: Be a pack leader, not a follower.
In harmony -
Kirby Shaw
Applauded by an audience of 2
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