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Identifying arrangement changes within the body of the song

From: Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form

Video: Identifying arrangement changes within the body of the song

Let's spend a few minutes listening through the track from our new start point, and identifying the sections that will require some editing. This part of the process is sometimes overlooked by remixers, resulting in radio edits that contain unnecessary sections. Now, because these stems were bounced out with all of the faders in Ableton Live at 0 DB, there will be some volume adjustments that I'll make as we're listening through, so you'll see me toggling back and forth between the mixer and the Arrange window.

Identifying arrangement changes within the body of the song

Let's spend a few minutes listening through the track from our new start point, and identifying the sections that will require some editing. This part of the process is sometimes overlooked by remixers, resulting in radio edits that contain unnecessary sections. Now, because these stems were bounced out with all of the faders in Ableton Live at 0 DB, there will be some volume adjustments that I'll make as we're listening through, so you'll see me toggling back and forth between the mixer and the Arrange window.

(music playing) Because I'm familiar with the song, I know that I don't want to cut out anything in the first part of it, but towards the end here there might be a section or two that I can trim down or remove that will help trim down the time.

Remember, we're sitting in around 4 minutes before the intro is even worked out, because I'm not going to start the arrangement just like this. (music playing) There needs to be at least a 4-bar build into that section, maybe an 8-bar build, if at the end of the arranging process we find ourselves with enough time to incorporate that. So right up here I can see that I have this 16-bar drop section in the club mix. That's the first section of the song that I zoom in on after I mute out the club intro and outro. So from 97 to 113, let's take a listen to this.

(music playing) I feel confident cutting out this drop section, along with verse 3.

Now, again, you have to feel this out. It's somewhat of an internal thing. You're listening through, you're asking yourself, do I need this, do I need this, do I need this? Can I somehow streamline or compact this 5-6 minute arrangement from the club down into a 3.5 minute radio edit. So the very first thing I'll do as I begin to remove sections from within the body of the song is highlight everything, and then I'll go back up to the vocal, and I'll use my scissors, and this I believe is where the last chorus begins.

(music playing) So all of this is going to be removed. Remember, it's nondestructive editing, so if something doesn't sound right, I can always undo it and bring it back to the way it was. Slide this over, and now let's take a listen. Again, I will clean up these edit points. Because the vocal is being chopped, there is a pickup note. (music playing) So let's address that issue right now.

Zoom back in on the vocal. And all I need to do is trim this region to the left and then bring this region over a little bit more. And I'll look at the edit points on other tracks to see if something looks like it's chopped: the Reverse Crash perhaps--just to be safe-- the SFX definitely. So I'm merely expanding and contracting audio regions so that none of the audio is being cut off at this edit point.

So let's take a listen now. (music playing) And I'll scan up here to the end. Then I can already see that the vocal is getting cut off here at 121, so I'll unmute that.

And again, going back to the previous movie, this is why I didn't delete the intro and outro audio regions, because you never know what you might want to pull from as you begin to condense this club mix into a radio edit. So it's a lot easier on the editor to have all of the audio files and their regions available at any time during this part of the process. (music playing) Okay, so that vocal is no longer chopped. And I think that I'm going to extend this section 8 bars here, so I'll take this all the way up to measure 129, and I'll highlight all of these files and create another edit point. And let's take a listen.

(music playing) Now I need to unmute them. (music playing) Okay, I like that build, but I'm not going to end the arrangement that cold. There needs to be a crash cymbal or something, and I can already see I have a crash cymbal right here. And I can merely cut that, unmute that region, and let's take a listen. (music playing) Okay, that should be in there, and I can now go to the SFX.

The SFX carryover might be enough for this transition into the ending to work. (music playing) Okay, so there are some instruments here that have some delays, and we can just unmute these and see how it sounds now. (music playing) I think I'll take that crash cymbal out. I'm not crazy about those frequencies there at the very end. (music playing) That's great! And I know when I actually mix this I can take care of this SFX right here and fade the SFX track down a little bit so that the ending isn't hanging over.

(music playing) The decay of that SFX track is a little bit long, but I'll come back to that later. Now let's focus on the intro. I'll unmute these tracks. But actually, before I unmute them I'll create an edit point at measure 25, because I generally like an 8-bar intro on a radio edit. That's just something that I prefer. It's a personal preference. Some people do 4. It's not right or wrong; it's what makes sense for the arrangement. And let's take a listen. (music playing) That intro is working for me, except I'm not crazy about this crash cymbal, so I will pull this region over to the right a little bit, and let's take another listen.

(music playing) Much better! Now I'm going to double-check and make sure that I'm within that 3 minutes and 15 seconds to 3:45-4 minute time period that I like to fall within when I do a radio edit. So here is a great way to double-check and make sure that you're not imagining your radio edit is longer or shorter than it actually is: Act as if you're going to bounce this to disk, and you simply select the range, which I've done for measure 25, all the way up here to the end at 133, And I can see that down here in the transport.

I'll hit Bounce and I can see 3 minutes and 19 seconds. Perfect. That's a wonderful amount of time for a radio edit! Radio edits are meant to be short and to the point, so don't feel compelled to hang on to elements from the club mix that really don't have a purpose in the shorter arrangement. Again, wait until you have zeroed in on exactly what your arrangement is going to be before you begin to delete some of these audio regions that you no longer need.

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Image for Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form
Remixing Techniques: Arranging and Song Form

31 video lessons · 6018 viewers

Josh Harris
Author

 
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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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