Accapella Arrangements: "Unwritten" & "Daytripper" SSAA

So, I'm back to doing some accapella arrangements for my buddy Greg over at

.  It can be rewarding if the song selections are good, which in this case they are.

I'm in the middle of a 5 song order (maybe 6) for a group in Greenwich, CT called the Grace Notes.  I've done close to twenty arrangements for them over the past few years.

Right now, the two I've just finished up are "Unwritten" by Natasha Bedingfield and "Day Tripper" by Lennon and McCartney, but as performed by Sergio Mendez and Brazil 66.

The challenge of both songs is each of them is written around a repeating melody line:

  • Unwritten has the descending acoustic guitar line through the verses and pre-choruses
  • Day Tripper has Lennon's legendary guitar line

I approached each of them differently.


For Unwritten, I wanted the song to grow through the verses - there's a lot of room for it and the song reaches such a big climax, I really wanted to take the listener on a journey to it.  I kept the riff simple at the start:

The riff doesn't play for that long if I leave it in just the verses; so I cut it from the pre-choruses and have the pre-chorus build each time we hear it:

You don't have to be a musician to see that the Soprano's and Alto II's really have a dramatic change when we get to that second pre-chorus - they start evolve into the gospel choir that eventually enters towards the end of this song, making the build very exciting.


I went in the opposite direction with Day Tripper - the song is all about that main "lick" repeating.  That, plus the sophisticated groove of Sergio Mendez (not to mention it's a very short song), and we have a very pleasant sounding hook:

What is interesting about this arrangement (at least, in my mind), is that no one ever sings the actual hook.  Sergio plays a very melodic version of it that I really wanted to capture and I think it will be highly executable then any one of the parts singing the standard:

The other thing I did with the arrangement is added a bridge.  The song is a little too short and it needs to break away from the repeating riff, so when we come back to it, it is even more gratifying.  The Bridge is based on an instrumental solo bridge Sergio performs.  I combined the melodic ideas of his bridge, and then added the soloists over the top as a throw back to the bridge from the Beatles original version to give the soloists something to do during the break down and give the song a real climax.

I'm excited to hear the ladies of the Grace Notes sing these two.  I'll post about the rest of the arrangements soon.