When transcribing a piano piece for strings, it must be clear to you what is happening in the piano piece:
- Where is the melody?
- Where are the counter melodies if any?
- Where is the harmony?
- Where is the bass?
In the “From Piano to Strings” and other books by Peter Alexander, these elements are named as follows:
- Melody, mostly in unison, doubled in octaves or harmonized.
- Rhythmical or melodic background line(s), mostly in unison or harmonized.
- Pad (long sustained notes or chords), mostly in unison or harmonized.
I will use these names from now on. Looking at the material in a piece this way, you don’t only think of the bass in terms of the lowest part, but also in which function the bass has at any moment. Does he play a melody, a background melody or a pad?