Arranging your track
Video: Arranging your trackNow we're at the stage where we need to start arranging our mix. And I think that this is probably the most time-consuming part of the remixing process especially when you're just starting out. I struggled with this quite a bit when I began remixing 10 years ago and it took me probably a good five or six remixes in before I really started to get a handle on why some of these mixes are arranged the way they are for the dance floor. So picking up where we left off in the last movie, I had already started to construct a drum intro and I'm actually going to save this top loop, this loop that I think really belongs in the choruses for a little bit later.
- Final thoughts
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In this course, author Josh Harris demonstrates constructing a remix using only a pre-existing vocal track as a starting point. The course shows how to time-stretch vocals, offers suggestions for establishing a musical direction, and explains how to audition and layer Apple loops. The course also covers programming beats using synths, generating vocal samples, arranging the remix, and creating master-quality final mixes.
- Using Logic Pro as a remixing environment
- Setting up a session
- Lining up vocals over a kick drum
- Analyzing chord changes and harmonic structure
- Programming synth parts
- Arranging a track
- Demonstrating advanced vocal editing techniques
- Mixing the drums, bass, synths, and vocals
- Mastering the final mix
Arranging your track
Now we're at the stage where we need to start arranging our mix. And I think that this is probably the most time-consuming part of the remixing process especially when you're just starting out. I struggled with this quite a bit when I began remixing 10 years ago and it took me probably a good five or six remixes in before I really started to get a handle on why some of these mixes are arranged the way they are for the dance floor. So picking up where we left off in the last movie, I had already started to construct a drum intro and I'm actually going to save this top loop, this loop that I think really belongs in the choruses for a little bit later.
I'm going to bring in some keyboard elements around Measure 17. And this is also the part of the process where I may move some tracks around and group them on the arrange window so that visually it makes a little more sense for me. We'll get into a little bit more of this when we get into the mixing part of the course. But as I start to build the arrangement, I do move tracks around so it visually helps me. You're also able to color code if you so desire. You'll notice that these are obviously different colors and if I wanted to change the color of one of these regions, all I would have to do is hold down Option+C and a Color palette window pops up and I can assign any color that I want to any of the regions on the window.
This comes into play and it's very helpful when you're actually color coding sections, maybe we like the whole chorus or post-chorus section to be this color and visually as we start to copy and paste and map out the arrangement, these types of tools really, really help make the process easier. I'm actually going to undo that. All right. So let's continue on. We have an eight-bar drum intro that's kick in our first loop. (Music playing) And then I'll actually copy and paste these hi-hats that I added and I'll paste them over and over.
I think it's easier to actually copy and paste and then remove what I referred to several movies back as mute arranging. This is sort of a different way of arranging. It's a subtractive way of arranging and I find that it's easier to approach this in a subtractive fashion whereby I'm removing parts as opposed to adding parts. So we have our eight bars of drums and I'm actually going to bring these in even eight bars earlier, not at Measure 17 but at Measure 9. So picking it up right before Measure 9. (Music playing) And I actually like to arrange as the track is playing too.
Almost like a live type of arranging. (Music playing) This type of approach to arranging; things are happening in real-time, I'm copying and pasting parts, I'm getting ideas, I'll also sometimes just loop sections and just see if I get an inspiration from just looping even just a two-bar section, maybe this will be part of an intro.
(Music playing) Or even reduce it down to one bar. (Music playing) Or shrink it down even more. (Music playing) Or even more. (Music playing) All these types of tricks can bring tension into your mix.
And remember, as we continue on arranging the mix, we want to have periods of tension and release. The track builds up, there's tension, everything comes in, and there's a release. We want to break things down, I like to actually deconstruct typically for verse 1, so I might just have the pad and the bass and take out these additional drums for the verse. So it sounds like this. (Music playing) So I'll work my way through the entire track in this fashion, breaking things down in the verses, adding elements and taking them out every eight bars, sometimes I'll run a 16-bar phrase where nothing changes, but it's very rare.
And we are actually going to add more elements into the mix in our upcoming movies by way of transitional sounds and vocal samples. One trick that I usually implement somewhere in every mix is I drop out the kick drum, or sometimes all the drums one beat before the chorus maybe comes in. (Music playing) Or one beat before, or the post-chorus, it really depends. I'll just give you an example here so you can hear what it sounds like when all the drums are removed for one bar and then they all come back into the next section.
You can hear that it creates a moment. (Music playing) So removing frequencies to then bring them back is really what this trick is all about. It creates a moment of tension when the low-end drops out and then comes back in. It actually gives the chorus more of a hype, more of a powerful feel to have the drums drop and then come back in for a bar, two beats, one beat.
Again, you have to feel these things out. Arranging your track is a very internal thing. You have to sit and listen and feel it out. I actually listen a lot with my eyes closed or looking away from the screen when I'm working as to not be distracted by what's happening on the computer monitor. Sometimes if you know something's about to happen, it takes away the surprise element. So I absolutely look away from the computer screen at different stages of the arranging process. But you can see we've gone ahead and started to shape the arrangement here up through basically what we're calling the post-chorus and then I would copy and paste these elements and actually what I'll even do is delete these drums.
This is again, good housekeeping to keep things visually clean and then I can take this whole section here which is our verse one, copy it over here to Measure 73, and let's take a listen and see how this lines up. (Music playing) Okay. So that's not quite right. I need to go up to the vocal track and drag it over a couple of bars so that it actually starts, verse two that is, at Measure 73.
And again, I don't want to move the old automation data. (Music playing) That's correct. One approach I like to take in differentiating verse one and verse two is maybe drop the drums out for the first two measures of verse two and I will simply use the Scissors Tool.
And instead of deleting these regions like this, I'm actually going to mute them. In case I change my mind, all I have to do is unmute them and I just hit the M key to do that. So let's take a listen right before verse two enters with the drums out. (Music playing) Again, this is just a suggestion. You could do this with a drum roll, some sort of a bass slide, you decide.
But these are all things to think about to challenge yourself to implement subtle changes between the sections of the song. All these nuances in production tricks really are what give a track a finished quality. So I will basically carry on with this process until the track is fully arranged and then I will move into adding what I call transitional sounds as well as choosing vocal samples that I like the cut up and distribute throughout the track.
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