• Arranging songs - Tips and Tricks collection thread
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« Last Edit: November 18, 2020, 12:51:34 by MrBouzouki »
Hi all, the other day I was talking to our dear @Kellyanneg , where she asked for song arrangement tips/tricks.

See this thread: https://www.songwriter-forum-kitchen.com/forum/songs-for-review/2/new-song-love-spell-questions-about-layering-instruments/5291/

Now we all know some general tips/tricks like:
-Try to build up from verse to chorus, add something new in every phase of the song, introduce a break somewhere
-Try muting the drums or the bass when the song needs a break
-Try muting everything else BUT the drums or bass when the song needs a change
-Add instruments to a 2nd verse or chorus to keep the listener's attention
etc etc..

None of them are rock-solid rules.. But when you're out of 'arranging' creativity they might help you to get inspired/try something different.
Now kitcheners, I'd love to ask to you all: do you have tips/tricks for arranging songs?
It would be awesome when you share them in this Songwriter Ingredients section as a reply to this post!

Thanks all in advance!!
Cheers!
Mar T.
:mart:

I'm proud of this track, check it out! https://soundcloud.com/martimedia/dreams


Re: Arranging songs - Tips and Tricks collection thread
Reply #1 on: April 04, 2019, 11:45:41
@Mar T. Thank you for starting this thread! I will keep those general tips in mind and hope to hear more. I was reading about bass lines yesterday, as I''m working on redoing an older song that has a strong rythm and I feel the bass will be a dominant part. I also hope to do harmony/back up vocals eventually....where do I place them?how do I do them (strength of voice)? etc.   Just a coupe of ideas there to discuss if anyone feels like it.  :)
Do what makes your heart sing :)


Re: Arranging songs - Tips and Tricks collection thread
Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 14:16:00
https://blog.reverbnation.com/2019/04/03/how-create-song-arrangement/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=how-create-song-arrangement

Funny this subject came up, I got this in my email today from Reverbnation  (another song sharing site).  Hopefully the link works.

As far as my "arrangements" I just write simple stuff - maybe add a little piano, mandolin - I wish I could do drums sometimes, but as long as I like it...

Maybe someone else may find this interesting. 
Vince


Re: Arranging songs - Tips and Tricks collection thread
Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 21:37:31
Hi @Vince Thanks for sharing - I saved it to my favorites for future reference.  @Mar T. mentioned studying other songs as well and this puts a foot in the technical pond.   :)


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Re: Arranging songs - Tips and Tricks collection thread
Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 23:59:37
« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 01:36:13 by Mar T. »
@Vince , of course that is interesting, thank you for sharing your approach and perspective!
@Kellyanneg cheers!

Hi all, found a few short youtube clips where 'arrangement' is the central subject. Maybe that helps to start a bit of a discussion, or sparks others to add to this thread.


Holistic songwriting (Hey @Friedemann , nice vid! Still around here? ):


Charlie Puth Break Down Emotional Hit Song, "Attention" :


EDM arranging in 5 minutes :


That last example illustrates the risk that all is sounding the same on today's radio btw..  ;) ;)

So back to the humour (and I've posted this one a while ago).. If you don't have time, at least watch this one, focus on expirimentation, humour AND cool results!



Cheers all, and I hope many fellow kitcheners will add their tips/tricks for 'arranging songs' here!
Mar T.
:mart:


Re: Arranging songs - Tips and Tricks collection thread
Reply #5 on: April 05, 2019, 17:34:38
@Mar T. The one with Charlie Puth I found very interesting, how he said he added something different to each chorus, different sounds to keep things interesting. The last one was humorous, but did have a serious reality to it! He was funny, and also talented! Lol.  I cant do the whole DAW steps the first video talked about but the structure is something to keep in mind. Thanks for sharing those!!


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Re: Arranging songs - Tips and Tricks collection thread
Reply #6 on: June 05, 2020, 22:42:22
I have a very simple answer to this question - songwriting is a two-step process, and your song will be arranged when you have done both.

Step 1 is to write the song; chord changes and melody. All you need is a voice and a guitar or piano.  At this point DO try to create the framework of the song: verses, choruses, a bridge, intro and ending. Write down the chords and the sequence of parts.

Step 2: This is where the magic happens - record the song. A song is not a true song until it is in performance form. So, on your DAW start a click and record a rhythm guitar or piano. Write a drum part to the song (using midi or whatever you do) - and record the drums.  Now do a bass scratch vocal and flesh in the instrumentation.  At this point, you start to get new ideas, maybe repeating a section or adding extra choruses, etc.

You should first consolidate all of your tracks (make each track a singular file) and then figure out how to highlight all of the tracks in Grid mode with your mouse and hit "copy."  Then, pick new spots in the song and drop in the sections. You can completely rearrange your song at this point.

It is often at this point that you realize you have certain guitar or vocal parts that can be manipulated - repeated for example.

To summarize - writing a new song is a step on its own. Arranging it comes when you start recording. As long as you have a recording process arranging usually comes naturally.

One thing though - even if you do not have lyrics yet, do try to record some kind of melody so you know where the words will eventually go. Having a good melody (and harmony parts) is a big part of any song arrangement.
I work on Protools, was a pro recording engineer for 10 years in analog. I play compose, perform record and mix everything in my recordings.


Re: Arranging songs - Tips and Tricks collection thread
Reply #7 on: November 16, 2020, 03:49:24
The videos explain a formula and formula  that work in Western music on the listener. Formulas work but they also work to stifle innovation. Most music today is lame and predictable.

The language of Western music has a lot of wonderful musical devices that are left unused. Most songs today use basic chords  e.g. Major,  minor and seventh is predictable cadences,  tempos and 99.9999999% are in 4/4 time. While there is nothing wrong with 4/4 time, basic chord, pedestrian beats,  etc... the listener deserves more IMO. Music has a lot to offer the composer. The Beatles used complex chords, wonderful harmonies and changing meters. Rush used changing meters and wonderful rhythms.

I decided to break out of the mundane with this track called Balls Groove. It's based on the whole tone scale. https://soundcloud.com/cg-brady/balls-groove 

I think DAWs cause people to compose a very contrived ways. I feel like music for the most part has become a commodity like and created in an assembly line process with the same basic blue print. It's quite depressing. 





Create!



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