Deke And Dylan’s Wisdom Distilled in “A Cappella Arranging”

Every writer has faced stumbling blocks: the threat of a blank page; the surfeit of inchoate ideas; the troublesome passage that resists clarity, even after its third reworking. An artist who has tried her hand at arranging vocal music—in any genre, for any number of singers, and with any level of technical proficiency—has met these foes, plus some more that are custom-built to annoy the arranger: you suddenly find that you can’t cover the third of the chord without your tenors making an awkward jump; you found a mistake, fixed it, and then found that the ‘fix’ threw something else out of whack; your charts made perfect sense when you were typing, but now the parts seem confounding in rehearsal. Oh, what we wouldn’t give in those moments for some practical, hands-on advice.

Deke Sharon has been distilling, popularizing, and proselytizing the art and science of arranging vocal music for two decades. He has shared his hard-earned wisdom in the form of one-hour workshops at a cappella summits, multi-day intensives in and around his San Francisco home, and CASA blog posts. Most recently, he has partnered with prolific arranger Dylan Bell to produce what they hope to be the definitive manual on the topic of contemporary a cappella arranging.

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