I just completed an arrangement of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" for a women's group. The arrangement is a mashup of Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell and Diana Ross's versions (like in sister act, but my own take on it). A couple notes on it.
"Opening with something Cool"
The opening of the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell version is just plain awesome. In fact, I often forget that I'm listening to Ain't no Mountain High Enough when I hear the opening.
It creeps along in a very cool intense way. My favorite part of it are the sticks on the first and third measure. Since the intro is cut in half (because this is accapella and we try and avoid too much instrumental), I put the sticks on measures one, two and three, having the first Alto's covering it with a little vocal percussion.
A little vocal percussion from an entire part may help distinguish the
arrangement from others in a performance.
"'Messing with the Iconic"
Obviously, the chorus of this song is very well known (regardless what version you're listening to). I wanted it to be beefy, big three parts, and let the girls sing it out. As always, I like to keep things in four parts and see how far I can push things. In this case, I tried to syncopate the bass line by giving it an eighth note feel with some articulations (to simulate a Motown fingered bass).
The first three bars of the chorus, broken into four parts.
I'm excited to hear how this one comes out in performance. There are no solos - each part sings a verse, so it is a real ensemble piece.