There seems to be an inverse correlation between construction and longevity. The longer lasting the song, the simpler you can expect the harmonic and melodic structures to be.
A song I sang as a teenager on long and winding road trips was a riddle in counting backwards from 99 to one. The idea is that the more you drink, the harder it is to count backwards in a group. [Note: Back then, there was no such thing as drinking age, especially on the island of Okinawa!] Add another dimension of modulating it through the major triads based on the twelve notes in a chromatic scale and you will be sure to stay sober!
Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” is very suitable for piano ensemble. One group can play the melody. The other can play the reggae shuffle accompaniment. The same four-chord progression is repeated throughout, with a few interruptions of a fifth chord at predictable spots.
I discovered Jason Mraz one night watching “The X-Factor” and other talent contests on Youtube. His “I’m Yours” sounded very familiar, for the ukelele version that’s played in the Hawaiian Islands. Then I saw his face on the cover of the latest edition of “On Maui” magazine.
Anne Ku arranges Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” for beginning piano students.
How do you teach complete beginners how to play the piano?
Start with a tune they want to play.
So I searched Pandora and Youtube for the most popular movie themes. Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years” is one of those sticky melodies that haunts me like the movie Twilight. Although I’ve yet to see Breaking Dawn, I can see why young people like it so much.
The short cut is to search for the sheet music online. However, it’s in a key too challenging for most beginners. Plus there are too many notes. Too much variety.
So I reduced it from 6/8 time to 3/4 time and transposed into the white key of C.
The result is something quite do-able, particularly with added fingerings. Of course, it’s always possible to simplify this further still. I will assign my students to figure how how it ends.