Alright...hope this counts. If not, let me know. I don't have any great mixing technics as I'm a programmer first and most of my production is pretty straight forward. That being said...hope someone gets something out of this. Key Changes and Arrangement with Elastic Audio
This is a trick that I use alot when I've already got a beat tracked as audio. It usually comes during the arrangement phase and at some point you realize, "Hey a key change would be great right here." But, I may not feel like going back into my sequencer and dealing with the midi. I'm already in a groove with the audio.
I'll use the track in my signature as I know for certain, that's how I created this specific key change. I won't go into detail about how to setup elastic audio...there are plenty of videos out there for that. So let's assume your session is already set up to make the changes.
1. Identify where you want the key change and highlight all relevant tracks. We won't be pitching the drums just all the other melodic parts. I setup in polyphonic mode for this.
2. Figure out the key you want to go to. Again, if you don't know what key you need to go to...just trial and error adjusting the pitch until you find what works. I doesn't have to be rocket science, just use your ears.
3. Once you have the key, the trick is to make it blend smoothly with the track. For our example...what I did was break down most of the drums and instrumentation just before the key change and utilized only one of the string part to "lead" me into the key change while leaving only few parts playing because making a key change with nothing to "announce" that it's coming, can sound very unnatural and sudden. So at about the 2:30-2:35 mark you will hear this breakdown and the individual string part, playing the notes that "lead" into the key change. The rest of the parts stayed the same or were cut out altogether.
4. This approach also forced me to add more instrumentation to the track because I wasen't getting the proper buildup to really make the key change work. If you start at about 1:45, this is the second verse. You'll notice that a bassoon was added and was done so, to begin building energy for the key change. This lead to additional strings parts and a high pitched string in the second half of the chorus (~2:25) that brought additional energy and allowed me to simply utilize the same high string patch on the key change simply making the key adjustment to help tie it together. This is all done to make the transition sound more natural and keep the flow going.
5. It's also important to understand that with chord progressions, they need to resolve. In this particular incident I was having a VERY hard time getting the notes right out of the key change and back home again...so what did I do? I cheated.
You'll notice that right after the key change, I basically just dropped you off a cliff...and brought it home with a simple drum breakdown and let your imagination fill in the gap. Technically I suppose music theory majors will flame me for that but I think in this instance it works and it flows pretty well. That being said, you can utilize elastic audio in the same way, to come back out of a key change as well.
6. The last tip I can think of is on arranging itself. What I usually try to do since I don't work with vocalists often during track creation, is to use accapellas and arrange around that vocal. This not only gives me a good starting point in the arrangement but it also let's me know if the track is produced to the point that it can handle the "weight" of a vocal. There used to be a common statement people would make, called Over-Produced. It's just my opinion but I've never agreed with that term. It's not possible to over-produce a track, but it is possible to under arrange a track. So if you hear that phrase used to describe one of your tracks...spend more time getting your arrangement right.
In closing, it's pretty easy to find new keys with elastic audio. It's an amazing tool and it's super fast. Just be sure to listen to the individual parts that you've pitch shifted to make sure the process hasen't completely garbled any of your audio tracks. I don't know if anyone will find this useful but please know that I did try.
If you have any specific questions, please PM me so as not to high jack this thread.