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Everyone writes songs in their own way. Some start with a melody or a beat, some start with a lyric. Whatever your starting point, you need to get your ideas down quickly, and then polish them into demos worth presenting to partners, producers, and record labels. Pro Tools can help. It's one of the programs professional musicians and songwriters turn to for writing, recording, and mixing songs. In this short course, David Franz takes you from an initial seed-idea to a great sounding demo song, showing you how to find the best tempo, meter, and key; add in vocals, drums, and hooks; and put together a dynamic mix using effects like EQ, compression, and reverb and delay. These 10 simple steps can guide anyone with an idea and a little musical ability through the process of capturing a song idea before the inspiration fades.
Look for more courses in our Songwriting series in 2014! We'll cover Logic, GarageBand, and other popular DAWs.
To realize the full power of a song, often you want to layer in some additional instrumentation. Particularly for this type of song. It begs for a thicker sound in some sections. So I've doubled the guitar hook, added a rhythm car that's playing cords, and recorded a basic piano part to make the song bigger in some spots. I've also re-recorded the bass to fix a clam note, and I'll also record a different verse part. So let's check out the new sections that we have. We've got the intro guitar part.
We know that part already. We've got these two acoustic guitar tracks that are playing a simplified version of that hook. And I'm just going to pan those out so it makes a much fuller sound. And those are just doubled tracks. I recorded two versions. Now I've got the guitar chords. Just basic chords, eighth notes, for the A, F-sharp minor, E-major, and D chords. And then I've gotta re-record a base line and this piano line.
And it carries on like that. So what I want to do is actually arrange this piece so that we get the beginnings of a song form. So, to do that, I'm going to use the trimmer tool up here. Standard trimmer tool in Grid mode. I'm going to change the grid size over here to one bar to make it really easy. And at the first, I'm going to cut of these first two bars here. So, let me go over here and just choose the All Group. Now, watch this. When I chop that, all of these pieces get chopped.
Two bars. Undo the All Group there and then go back here. And we'll trim some more stuff here. Bring these down so they're all eight bar phrases. And for the bass, piano, and drums, we're going to split these. So I'm actually going to go and choose separate clip at selection, or Cmd+E or Ctrl+E, and then clean up the end of these ones as well. Okay, so now we have eight bar phrases that we can move however we want to.
But these acoustic guitar chords and the hooks, I'm simply going to duplicate them a number of times. So check this out, I'm going to use the Cmd+D or Ctrl+D command, and just get a bunch of those out there. For the piano, I can do the same. These are basically the same parts. So, just duplicate those out. Now the bass, that's a different story because we have two different sections here. We've got the chorus and the verse. And that's the same here on the drums. The chorus and the verse.
So, for these two, I'm going to move these out because I know I want to start with the chorus here at this point. Then I'm going to have two times through the verse, and then back to the chorus, so I'm using the Option key, and clicking and dragging here, or Alt on a PC. Same deal there. And I'll do the same arrangement with the drums. So click with the Option key and drag, and that's going to be over here.
Double that up, and double that up. And at the beginning, I want to just start with the acoustic guitar. So I'm going to go ahead and mute all of those. I just press Cmd+M or Ctrl+M on the PC. And for the verses, I'm going to take that lead line out, as well. So, now we've got the intro, first big, kind of, chorus, drop down to the verse and then, back to the chorus. So, let's actually label this. I'm going to open up my new memory location and call this the Intro.
I'll create another one here, and that'll be the Big Intro. Then a verse, and finally the chorus. There we go. So this is a quick rough version of what a possible arrangement will be. And let's take a listen. We'll go from the top to the bottom. Oh, it just leaves you hanging. Now that's actually starting to sound like a song.
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