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Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form
Illustration by John Hersey

Arranging the rest of the song


From:

Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form

with Josh Harris

Video: Arranging the rest of the song

We have spent most of our time so far working in a 16- to 24-bar section of the arrangement and now it's time to build out the remaining sections. The finished arrangement should not feel forced or edited, but natural. All sections need to make sense with one another, especially during the transitions. Radio arrangements have no wasted space, and if that means your arrangement is three minutes and twenty seconds, as opposed to three minutes and thirty seconds, that's fine. Don't get hung up on the length of time, but do keep in mind that most radio stations won't play songs over four minutes long.
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  1. 2m 59s
    1. Welcome
      1m 17s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      23s
    3. Why did we record this course in four different DAWs?
      49s
    4. Using the exercise files
      30s
  2. 4m 58s
    1. A general overview of musical arranging
      2m 4s
    2. An overview of remix arranging
      1m 34s
    3. An overview of radio and club arranging
      1m 20s
  3. 51m 30s
    1. Referencing the original or demo version of the song
      3m 2s
    2. Listening to stems and deciding on the musical direction
      4m 36s
    3. Creating a sketch arrangement
      8m 36s
    4. Developing the drums and bass
      13m 31s
    5. Adding synths
      8m 43s
    6. Adding guitars
      7m 49s
    7. Arranging the rest of the song
      5m 13s
  4. 51m 54s
    1. Referencing the original or demo version of the song
      5m 7s
    2. Listening to stems and deciding on the musical direction
      3m 42s
    3. Time stretching stems and creating a sketch arrangement
      11m 18s
    4. Developing the drums and bass
      11m 10s
    5. Adding synths
      10m 30s
    6. Working from the hype backwards
      4m 27s
    7. Arranging the rest of the song
      5m 40s
  5. 18m 31s
    1. Trimming down the club version
      3m 32s
    2. Identifying arrangement changes within the body of the song
      9m 44s
    3. Listening through the final arrangement
      5m 15s
  6. 19m 38s
    1. Adding a vocoder
      5m 36s
    2. Adding filtered delays to vocals
      7m 42s
    3. Adding drum fills
      6m 20s
  7. 14m 48s
    1. Listening through the final radio mix
      4m 12s
    2. Listening through the final club mix
      6m 47s
    3. Listening through the final radio edit
      3m 49s
  8. 38s
    1. Final thoughts and next steps
      38s

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Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form
2h 44m Intermediate Dec 10, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Josh Harris shows how to create radio and club arrangements, and a radio edit of a club mix. He utilizes four different digital audio workstations (DAWs)—Pro Tools, Ableton Live, Logic, and Reason—and shows how to build different arrangements from the ground up, by adding guitars, drums, bass, and synths. Each DAW explores different types of arranging scenarios. Plus, learn how to add ear candy and take your arrangements to another level.

Topics include:
  • Reviewing the different types of arranging: music, remix, and radio/club
  • Referencing a previous version of the song
  • Listening to stems
  • Creating a sketch arrangement
  • Adding synths and guitars
  • Developing the drums and bass
  • Using time stretching
  • Creating a radio edit from a club mix
  • Adding special effects like drum fills and delays
Subjects:
Audio + Music DAWs Mixing Music Production Audio Plug-Ins Mastering Remixing
Software:
Ableton Live Logic Pro Pro Tools Reason
Author:
Josh Harris

Arranging the rest of the song

We have spent most of our time so far working in a 16- to 24-bar section of the arrangement and now it's time to build out the remaining sections. The finished arrangement should not feel forced or edited, but natural. All sections need to make sense with one another, especially during the transitions. Radio arrangements have no wasted space, and if that means your arrangement is three minutes and twenty seconds, as opposed to three minutes and thirty seconds, that's fine. Don't get hung up on the length of time, but do keep in mind that most radio stations won't play songs over four minutes long.

My ideal time is somewhere between three minutes and twenty seconds and three minutes and forty-five seconds. Although you won't be able to follow along with me step by step, I will now provide you with an overview of how I build out a radio arrangement. (music playing) Let's spend the next few minutes taking a look at how I built out the radio arrangement.

We'll start up here at the vocals, and you'll notice that there's an edit point in the background vocals right here towards the end. I felt that the background vocals went one cycle through the course too long, and that they should end with the lead vocals. So, I cut out 8 bars of background vocals and shoved the last 8 bars of background vocals over to the left so now, the background vocals and the lead vocals start and end at the same place. I built out the rest of the drums and added some programming on top of the loops that we had had previously in the arrangement.

Let's solo out the drums and take a listen. Primarily on the chorus is where you will hear the elements that I added. So this is a few bars before chorus 1. (music playing) So, you can see that I added a ride cymbal and a tambourine and a crash cymbal happening every four bars here.

And I'm adding a little bit of metal up top in the drums. Those frequencies help the chorus punch a little bit, pop a little bit, feel like it elevates and lifts to another level. I recorded this synth bass part in the bridge. Previously, that section of the arrangement was empty. (music playing) You probably noticed as that section played that there's a little bass fall, or what we call a glissando, something that you would hear in old funk and R&B records. It's sliding your hand down the keyboard very quickly to add a waul sound and let's solo it out, we can take a listen.

(music playing) And it adds a little bit of flavor, I think a bit as a transitional part, leading from one section to another. I worked on an intro that's four bars long, with verse one starting to measure five. (music playing) And we can take a listen to the last few bars and hear the cold ending. (music playing) The arrangement clocks in at just over three and a half minutes long, which is a perfect amount of time for a radio edit.

Now keep in mind that later in the course, I'm going to be adding just a few more elements of ear candy. So, I would say that this arrangement in its current form is about 95% done, and we'll take some time to add the last 5% later on.

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