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arrangement....a nigthtmare for beginners?
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kacperson
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16th May 2012
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arrangement....a nigthtmare for beginners?

I am a kind of guy that is a champ in making super mega ass groovy loop and stuff but....i struggle with arrangement. I produce something around techno/prog house.


I find that anytime i start to arrange from my 8 or 16 bar loop the effects are something boring,not exciting at all..

I improoved a bit but its still far from anything good....

how do you arrange guys? any interesting tips,articles and stuff on this subject ? Any tips on those smooth and sexy transition moments that give you chills? I know it takes time to improove in this area,and experience,but i would like to know if you have some tips for guys that struggle with themselves like me.
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16th May 2012
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Arrangement is one of the skills that can be very tough for beginners to learn. For one thing, there isn't a whole ton of information online about it like there is about other production subjects. Its not as easy to throw together a good arrangement tutorial as it is to put one up about compression, or loop mangling or somesuch.

It's such a subjective thing, that it's one skill that you just need to learn by practice more than anything else. Make a habit of studying arrangements of tracks you listen to in your chosen genres.
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16th May 2012
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yeah seems like best way is to carefully observe those who we admire somehow,how they achieve the chills and great arrangement...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric J View Post
It's such a subjective thing, that it's one skill that you just need to learn by practice more than anything else. Make a habit of studying arrangements of tracks you listen to in your chosen genres.
This really. Listen to what you like and think how you could improve it.

If you're making music for dance floors, always keep that in mind, even Gabba has slower bits and breakdowns.

One of the most important rules is that you need to have some kind of balance between all out bits and more loose bits. The 1st time people dance through the drop/impact, they're going to be waiting for it to come back again, anticipating it. They get into the pattern and build up an expectation of when it's coming, you need to give them some clues, you can play around with this concept.
A good idea is to also increase the impact every time it happens.

A really old Dj'ing trick is to play a snippet of the main hook of the song your bringing in, maybe a vocal from the chorus if it has one, a stab, whatever, start thinking along these lines and you'll probably find it a lot easier.
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Depends on the point you're trying to make. I always think a listener's expectations are usually based on standard pop song structures, no matter which genre. So perhaps start with this. Any further twists will be your own narrative.

Either that or just study/copy your idols
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thx guys,already nice advices ,this forum is best
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I like to get a few good hooks in a song and focus on ways to bring them back into the fold. Preferably with the last one being more intense (louder, more layers, beefed up drums, etc)

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I was gonna say...artists that build on their loops, its hard to think outside that loop sometimes. Maybe ucan take skills u learned while building these super mega groovy loops of urs and apply them to a song....set a begining and end point, maybe even draw it out on paper, like where u want transitions, drops, builds, etc. As u draw it out, u SHOULD start hearing sounds in ur head...make little notes on ur "map"...maybe even use a voice recorder app.

When u got an outline mapped out, use all those cool skills u learned and start building!!
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i will give a try with what JLiRD808 wrote i think. I can hook up something really good sounding in a matter of 20 mins,productionwise etc,mixingwise bla bla,it is pretty much good sounding already . But arrangement is something i feck up sadly... will try with drawing my project and trying to transform it into daw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brassica View Post
Depends on the point you're trying to make. I always think a listener's expectations are usually based on standard pop song structures, no matter which genre. So perhaps start with this. Any further twists will be your own narrative.
They are, for a lot of genres, Minimal and Ambient maybe not.

Song structure (popular music) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I'm not a fan of wikipedia but here's their take on modern structure. I wouldn't take it as fact, but the general idea of what they're saying is correct. imo. If you're stuck at what to do and when this should be helpfull, unless you're making something a bit more experimental.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacperson View Post
i will give a try with what JLiRD808 wrote i think. I can hook up something really good sounding in a matter of 20 mins,productionwise etc,mixingwise bla bla,it is pretty much good sounding already . But arrangement is something i feck up sadly... will try with drawing my project and trying to transform it into daw
Yeah good luck man!

Nothing wrong with using a pen and pad...maybe even get some music paper with set bars/measures. U need to step back from the DAW, keyboard, pads, etc every once in awhile to map out the overall picture/scheme...especially when u start getting tunnel vision!
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Load a reference track from an artist you admire, put it on top of the arrangement view of your project and copy the arrangement. Best way to learn.
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i use referencing tracks as well since some time for few purposes,like help in mixing etc though i am disorganised in nature and often forget how much i can benefit from it,i struggle with myself



but JLiRD808 proposition seems to be mega sexy as already since his first reply here i started up with something really interesting in my incoming (hopefully lol) track. I always had problems with myself,being too hot headed and nervous,since childhood,and drawing seems to be good sketch of vision in my head,something that gonna help for sure
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post
I was gonna say...artists that build on their loops, its hard to think outside that loop sometimes.
Yes, one of the hardest jumps to make is going from "8-bar loop" mode to "arrangement". I still struggle with it sometimes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pointsource View Post
Load a reference track from an artist you admire, put it on top of the arrangement view of your project and copy the arrangement. Best way to learn.
This too. Just map out some locators for all the different parts with descriptive labels "Intro", "Bass IN", "Pads In", "Break", "Kick & Bass Only", "Lead Out", "Outro".

Than you can sort of nail down a basic arrangement and tweak it as you start putting in your parts. Eventually you get to a point where you get a feel for arrangement and this no longer become necessary.

In addition, a good reference track can also help when it's time for mixdown, as its a good idea to A/B your mix with a finished track, just to keep your ears in check.
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i just noticed that i must move on from very begging of my 8 bar loop. if i spend more time,adding sounds etc to loop im done.... When i mvoe fast from loop to arrangement,using it just as idea,then it seems to be much smoother,and adding stuff according to pre sketched draw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacperson View Post
i just noticed that i must move on from very begging of my 8 bar loop. if i spend more time,adding sounds etc to loop im done.... When i mvoe fast from loop to arrangement,using it just as idea,then it seems to be much smoother,and adding stuff according to pre sketched draw
If you have an 8 bars loop you happy with, just deconstruct it. Take out one element every 8 or 16 bars, do this until you have only the kick/snare. This way you gonna get somewhere fast.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pointsource View Post
If you have an 8 bars loop you happy with, just deconstruct it. Take out one element every 8 or 16 bars, do this until you have only the kick/snare. This way you gonna get somewhere fast.
that how i think i was doing till now,toying on a loop,polishing it and then attempting something like this,but it was drowning me because since i spent some time tweaking loop i was totally stuck later on ...:(
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i struggle with this especially intros..

recently spoke to a dj mate who said give me 16 bars of the straight beat to sync to, 16 bars of beat with any identifiers playing, this will be the first part the audience hear albeit mixed with the previous track, then start the song ie introduce main element maybe in a drop...

this has helped me as ive started doing the first 32 bars last and instead focusing on how the main elements are introduced....

basically its the difference between building up slowly to your golden loop or starting from the loop and trying to take it further... stops me wasting energy creating 32 bars of track intros and then getting stuck once the main loop is fully introduced

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JLiRD808 View Post
Yeah good luck man!

Nothing wrong with using a pen and pad...maybe even get some music paper with set bars/measures. U need to step back from the DAW, keyboard, pads, etc every once in awhile to map out the overall picture/scheme...especially when u start getting tunnel vision!

It's pretty easy for me to fall into 'loop mode' too. A pen and pad can be a nice break away from the computer screen and definitely helps bring a fresh perspective.

If you're really struggling to find a good arrangement for a particular track, find one you could reference and map it out to guide you.
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this topic is gold with all advices !
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacperson View Post
i just noticed that i must move on from very begging of my 8 bar loop. if i spend more time,adding sounds etc to loop im done.... When i mvoe fast from loop to arrangement,using it just as idea,then it seems to be much smoother,and adding stuff according to pre sketched draw
Yeah its probably more logical to get your basic arrangement tightened up then focus on layering. Once you start building from there it would be easier since a solid direction is already in place.

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it passed an hour since i started this topic,simultaneously i decided to carry on with one "loop" i already had,i rearranged it,tweaked fast and in a matter of hour i have something appealing to me totally. I would buy you all a beer if it wasnt that far from europe to usa.... i hope it will be as nice as it is till now when i move on further
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Speed is the key, I like when possible to get all the basic structure down as fast as possible, before I lose the vibe. Then come back to it later and tweak, move stuff around etc.

Yes arrangement is one of the hardest parts, even after many years.

Technique wise asides from the copying a track that you like, I suggest if your just starting out to keep it simple and short, no need to make a 10 min opus. Learn how to get the simple changes working nicely, once you have 3-4 mins of simple changes, stop and come back to it another, the rest should flow naturally from there.


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MPC makes you think differently for composing and arranging. It's all in your "head" and in space and time, instead of visual on a DAW big screen, and also super quick for punch-ins, edit-loops, edit-sequnces, stacking tracks, stringing in song mode, making a super long sequence almost like a tracking machine for live stuff, etc., etc.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kacperson View Post
i just noticed that i must move on from very begging of my 8 bar loop. if i spend more time,adding sounds etc to loop im done.... When i mvoe fast from loop to arrangement,using it just as idea,then it seems to be much smoother,and adding stuff according to pre sketched draw
Yup, you got it! The best way to learn arrangement is to just do it. Tell your self it's a learning exercise and make arrangements as quickly as possible. Don't worry about good or bad and don't focus too much on the sounds or the mix. Use presets or sounds and samples you've made in advance. Arrangement is all about the big picture.

Do this at least few times a week and balance it out with detailed loop making, sound design, mixing etc. Once you feel comfortable with all the aspects, they honestly more or less fall into place.
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Quote:
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....I would buy you all a beer if it wasnt that far from europe to usa....
HA! Nice.....just post the track up when u feel ready!
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i want to finish it and master in a proper mastering office. I produce without anything on master bus and sometimes it sounds bit thin,its also discouraging when producing ,but i know that after master it will be louder and punchier. I try to produce silently,with faders pulled down as much as possible ,so sometimes later when i compare to great round track from guy j or prydz i feel depressed :P
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i primarily use an mpc just wish there was a way to record track mutes in super long sequences...

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i think aout purchasing an additional controller (made a topic here alredy) like novation or something,i think it can also stimulate creativity instead of only starring at computer screen and tweak vsts knobs via mouse
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fooddude View Post
MPC makes you think differently for composing and arranging. It's all in your "head" and in space and time, instead of visual on a DAW big screen, and also super quick for punch-ins, edit-loops, edit-sequnces, stacking tracks, stringing in song mode, making a super long sequence almost like a tracking machine for live stuff, etc., etc.
Absolutely. Really enjoying composing with the 1000 far more than a DAW.

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