Tip of the Day: Focus on the Arrangement - 4 Tips
Writing the perfect melody on the most sophisticated chords ever does not make a hit single. You need to arrange your ideas, to make it work over that period of time, we call a song.
To achieve a sonic composition, we need to explore and master the vertical and the horizontal.
You want to create energy with contrast - tension and release, loud and quiet.
Only by introducing dynamic, you can keep the listener interested and absorbed by your sounds.
There are some essential tricks you can use, to get to a good arrangement faster:
Tip 1: Parts
Be sure you create parts, that are different to each other in order to achieve dynamic.
In music theory there are many concepts on how a song needs to be arranged - and quite as many exceptions. Frankly, there is no right or wrong. But throughout the decades certain structures and similarities stood the test of time.
The good old “Pop Form” is still valid for most of the productions today - not only in Pop Music. Intro, Verse, Pre-chorus, Chorus, Verse, Bridge, Chorus, Chorus - even by intentionally neglecting this form, most songs have at least some pieces of this concept. Why? Because it works!
Tip 2: Explore the vertical
Make sure you don´t use all instruments at the same time all the time - no matter how much you love their sound. The listener gets tired to hear the same “full stack loop” over and over.
Leave the kick out, cut the bass before a massive drop, to make the impact even bigger, insert a dynamic drum roll that fades into your chorus - be creative! One bar of silence is also a way to make use of the vertical ;).
Tip 3: Reference track
This is pretty obvious - but to create something outstanding, you need to know the basics. Most songs work, because the are not randomly put together and follow a red line, that guides us through. Drop a track into your DAW and analyse the hell out of it, until you understand why each part is where it is.
Extra tip: the waveform will be very useful as a visual support.
Tip 4: Proportions
Most tracks have an even amount of bars that follow each other. For example are most verses 2 times 8 bars followed by 8 bars of pre chorus or directly 16 bars of chorus.
You can play with uneven proportions of course, but be sure to use them fully intentionally - good position is 1 bar of silence before a drop, to give it more emphasize and let the listener out in the blue for a moment.