Author Topic: Song Arrangement  (Read 6050 times)

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Offline jtibbs97

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Song Arrangement
« on: August 02, 2017, 04:16:45 pm »
I have a huge collection of unfinished songs. The arrangements are still a work in progress because I struggle so much with structure. My music is purely guitar based and I'm looking to change that. Entire symphonies aren't built up of one instrument and I believe songwriting can only go so far with just the guitar.

How can I go about layering other instruments without it sounding too predictable and the same? Ex: vocals follow the same rhythm as the rhythm guitar, or 2 layered guitars each following the same melody except an octave apart. I'm searching for more tonal variety, just kinda confused with the process. Especially with the vocal lines!!!

I appreciate all the future responses and if anybody could link me to great Youtube channels/websites that deal with arrangement/songwriting, please do! That would be amazing!
« Last Edit: August 02, 2017, 05:28:42 pm by jtibbs97 »

Offline davidvac

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Re: Song Arrangement
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 04:33:01 pm »
I am experiencing the exact same issue - loads of scraps and some basic skills but needing to pull it together into a coherent whole.

There is a lot of support on this forum and some really skilled folk who are ready to lend a hand. I'll let them wade in.

I just discovered which is a really great resource - there is one particular entry that is really helpful on the whole process of songwriting and layering up an arrangement:

The thing I have found really useful on this community site is the monthly competition. Having the focus needed to pull together some of the loose strands floating around in my head so as to put a completed project together with a monthly deadline is a great way to get things done. I have learned so much from the process - not least how much I still have to learn!!!

Best of luck with this - and looking forward to hearing/seeing your work.  :)

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Offline Fourtwo

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Re: Song Arrangement
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2017, 05:55:19 pm »
I would suggest taking some time out to work with a loop pedal. If you've never used one you can lay down your own tracks in the form of loops and then build up sound by layers. There are some good Youtube examples of people who build some incredibly impressive pieces using just a looper; here for example:

I've found my loop pedal to be really helpful in understanding how to layer tracks and it might help you too. Great fun too!

Offline Garfield

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Re: Song Arrangement
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2017, 07:23:14 am »
I'm just a begginer and I've never written a song but I have watched a lot of youtube videos. Sean daniel has a lot of material on his channel that you may find useful. He has got a play list on songwriting, here you go hope it's useful.

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Offline SpacemanL2

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Re: Song Arrangement
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2017, 03:39:07 am »
First remember that there is no right or wrong way to sequence, arrange, compose or write music. There are certainly popular methods which you can hear in most pop songs, and these techniques are woven into rock, country, blues, folk, punk and many other styles. It's often harder to hear that format in classical works. Contemporary pop music usually follows a  pattern similar to intro, verse, prechorus or bridge, chorus, verse prechorus, or bridge, chorus, break, prechorus or bridge, chorus, outro. Not necessarily in that order or containing all of those parts. Songs can be 30 seconds long or 3 hours long, but typically around 3:30 is considered "radio friendly." May I recommend checking out the song "Hook" by Blues Traveler as a quick lesson in writing a strong hook for your chorus, and letting that carry the rest of your song. The entire point of the lyrics was that it basically didn't matter what he said or did in the rest of the song, because the hook brings you back. In fact, the break, where he's basically rapping, talks about burning cities to the ground, and other inane stuff, but it doesn't matter because the "Hook" brings you back. Use what you like for examples of how to merge different parts, good rules of thumb is that they should typically be in the same key, tempo, and time signature, but even those aren't hard and fast rules. Many songs change key, tempo and time signature, but that will make it more difficult for you when you start.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: Song Arrangement
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2017, 06:17:13 am »
How can I go about layering other instruments without it sounding too predictable and the same?

I suppose you realize people go to school for years learning to do what you ask. Just go to Youtube and dig in. there is more there every day.

Groove3 is another that might have something.

But.... with regard to the vocals. That is your melody. So at the very least you want your vocal melody and your rhythm guitar working together.

After that everything else needs to connect and not cause problems. But I would get those two working first.

Most song writing is done with Piano and Vocal or Guitar and Vocal so apparently the guitar is not the problem.


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