Strip it back

Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Arrange Tracks Like A Pro -

An al­ter­na­tive ap­proach to com­ing up with new sec­tions for a tune is to take a loop or a sec­tion that al­ready con­tains plenty of tracks – this could be achieved by cre­at­ing a full drop sec­tion first, for ex­am­ple – then work back­wards, pro­gres­sively re­mov­ing el­e­ments to find com­bi­na­tions of parts that you al­ready know will work to­gether, but with a more min­i­mal­is­tic ap­proach. For builds, try just re­peat­ing the first bar or two of your mu­si­cal el­e­ments over ex­ist­ing per­cus­sion parts. Or dive into a copy of an ex­ist­ing MIDI part and grad­u­ally re­move notes a few at a time – this will have the ef­fect of the part grad­u­ally grow­ing from just one or two seem­ingly ran­dom notes or chords into a prop­erly ar­ranged part.

Lis­ten­ing to stripped-down ver­sions of the drop is a good way to in­spire new ideas for other sec­tions of a track, par­tic­u­larly pre­cho­rus builds, in­tros and bridges. The com­bi­na­tion of just drums, vo­cal hook and noth­ing else, for ex­am­ple, is of­ten a win­ner, so if you’re stuck for vari­a­tion ideas, just drop all the mu­sic out for eight bars or so and see what hap­pens!

When in doubt, some­times the an­swer is just to take things back a notch…

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