Es­sen­tial tips and tac­tics for struc­tur­ing your tunes,

Computer Music - - Contents -

It’s of­ten been said that the best way to get some­thing done is sim­ply to be­gin. How­ever, while that may be true for many things, when mak­ing songs on a com­puter, get­ting started is all too of­ten the eas­i­est part – it’s be­ing able to prop­erly fin­ish a track, tak­ing it past the ‘loop of doom’ stage, that’s the most dif­fi­cult part of the process. For ex­am­ple, how many times have you started a pro­ject and made it as far as cre­at­ing a spec­tac­u­lar four or eight-bar re­gion, only to get stuck at the point where you have to start think­ing about ac­tu­ally mould­ing it into a fin­ished song? If you’re any­thing like us, you’ll most likely have a hard drive (or seven!) packed with un­fin­ished ideas that started from flashes of in­spi­ra­tion but never got beyond that ini­tial ‘cy­cle mode’ stage.

A lot of the time this comes down not to an over­all lack of ideas, but to dif­fi­culty with the ar­range­ment process – the se­quence in which the dif­fer­ent sec­tions of your song are laid out. When it comes to en­gag­ing with your au­di­ence and pro­vok­ing that es­sen­tial ‘reach for the re­peat’ re­sponse in your lis­ten­ers, com­ing up with an ef­fec­tive ar­range­ment is un­doubt­edly as im­por­tant as the con­struc­tion of the in­di­vid­ual sec­tions them­selves.

Al­though to­day’s DAWs put end­less in­stru­ments, ef­fects and track counts at our fin­ger­tips, it’s all too easy to fall into a solely loop-based work­flow that can ac­tu­ally sti­fle, rather than in­spire, the abil­ity to ex­tend sin­gle re­gions out into a fully-ar­ranged song. And that’s where we come in! Within this mam­moth, 15-page ‘ar­range­ment work­out’ fea­ture, you’ll find plenty of ideas for de­vel­op­ing half-formed sketches into fully-fledged tracks. We’ll give you loads of in­spir­ing sug­ges­tions for get­ting out of that rut and fin­ish­ing your songs, re­veal­ing a boat­load of sup­ple­men­tary tips and tech­niques along the way. So fire up your DAW, and let’s see if we can’t come to a suit­able ar­range­ment, shall we?

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