Setting up still life elements is the most important and challenging part of any still life painting. It is also the most creative. It is critical that the painting has good solid composition, depth, an entryway, a focal point, and an interesting color arrangement.
For the most part, these instruments are either black or in various wood tones. Add the white sheet music and off white of the drum, and it all becomes very monochromatic, if not boring. I introduced a blue drape backdrop, the blue matching the blue in the Portugese pitcher, adding some continuity. I particularly like these blue elements, as they complement the reddish brown tones in the woods.
In this first arrangement, I placed the keyboard on the left and the unicord on the right, with a jumble of the "tools" arranged in between them. I lit the still life lit from the left, which is my usual procedure. I didn't like all the light on the unicord nor all the light on the sheet music, and I felt the pitcher was getting too much attention.