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- 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
Skill Level Intermediate
Now that we have our sketch arrangement in order, let's dive in and develop the drums and bass a bit further. Go back to my Exercise File folder and audition a few more loops. (music playing) I like this loop. What I'm looking for at this point is something that has a bit of movement to it, that will help pulse the track a little bit, give it a bounce. I'll bring this loop in. And we'll call this top 2, move it here. And visually I want to move this kick drum over so that everything looks even, and I'll actually trim the vocal a little bit too.
Whenever possible, I like to do this bit of housekeeping as I build the arrangement. It just streamlines the workflow process. When you see something you can quickly edit, move, shift around, you take care of it then and there. So now I'll move this back. We'll just take listen to this loop, copy and paste it for about 16, 24 bars, and take a listen to it from the beginning. (music playing) That's working nicely.
I don't know that we're going to have it in the verse, but it's working nicely with the vocal. So I'll leave that in. And just go through a couple of more of these to see if there is another loop I might want to add, or if it's time to just shift gears and program a little bit of drums via MIDI on top. (music playing) I'll bring this loop in, just as an extra. It might be a good one to throw on top of the chorus for just that extra bit of movement.
I'll call this top 3, place it up here, and I'll copy and paste these throughout the entire arrangement. One of the things that I like to do with arranging club music is to almost take a hip-hop approach and copy and paste things throughout the entire song, and then do what's called mute arranging, or just delete things as I don't need them. So let's take an enlarged view of the vocals, just so that I have an idea of where I am in the song, because there is so much space.
And I'm going to Select All right now. I'd like all my audio clips to start firing right at measure 5. I like the way that looks. So we've got three drum loops on top of a kick drum, and we know we're not going to be using those for the whole song, so I'll quickly listen through the song. And this is not a straightforward verse-chorus song; the chorus is sort of a subtle chorus. So where I hear the chorus is "I'm waiting, waiting in the road." For now I'll mute out the top two loops, and I'm going to do a quick edit on the first loop.
There is a little bit of noise in this loop. (music playing) Right there. I want to take that out of the verse; I don't think it's appropriate. I'll splice the file and take this section out and then replace it with what was going on just a few beats before. So now let's listen. (music playing) So I like the way that sounds. It it's a little bit cleaner. There is space for the vocal.
I'll bring this back. Now we have a 2-bar drum loop. And I'll consolidate these regions into a new region, begin to delete what I don't need, and map this out a little bit. (music playing) That's what I'm going to call a chorus.
So, at this point, let's have a second loop come in. We'll have our loop 2, top 2. And let's just quickly go to a couple of bars before that section. (music playing) That's nice! That loop picks it up a bit and actually, at this point, let's bring in the version A of our top one, that has that little bit of noise in there that we caught out just a few minutes ago.
(music playing) It's the subtleties that make the difference when it comes to arranging. So what we just did here is we edited our audio loop so that the loop is slightly different in the verses, and then it returns to what it was when we originally brought it into the session at the chorus, and I work my way through. (music playing) There's verse 2. So I'll just grab these, and I'll just delete a little more over here to give myself some room.
So I'm almost arranging on the fly a little bit. As I listen to this song, I'm quickly making edits, adding and dropping things, and this is the groove that you'd like to be in eventually when it comes to arranging: just making these snap decisions as you're hearing things. (music playing) Okay. So I'll bring this loop back in, and I'll add, since we're now in chorus 2, top 3.
Now, I don't know what it sounds like yet; it may be a little redundant, but we'll take a quick listen, and probably we'll pull it down. I don't want there to be too much hi-hat happening in the mix. (music playing) There is a little something happening in the back of that loop that I like, a little bit of splashiness that I think adds some nice frequencies on the chorus.
So chorus 2 I'd like to be a little bit different than chorus 1. That's what we're doing here by adding the third loop at chorus 2 and just listening on. (music playing) Continuing on. (music playing) So now I'll just delete all this copying and pasting that I did a few minutes ago, now that I'm beginning to build an arrangement in the drums.
And the bass is working for me. Now that I'm hearing it with some drum arrangement in progress this far into the song, the bass is working. I actually don't think the bass line needs to change. I believe it can be this 8-bar figure that just repeats the whole song. The drums and other keyboard elements are going to change as the arrangement unfolds, and that will give it some variety from section to section. So, moving on. (music playing) I'll probably leave this just like this for now.
(music playing) I'll bring back to verse drums. (music playing) Bringing these drums in. (music playing) I'm going to delete that out there. Save these extra drums for this section.
(music playing) As you can see, in just several minutes we were able to knock out the majority of the drum arrangement, and as the rest of the arrangement unfolds and I add keyboard parts, I will then go back and fill in some of the holes that I've left deliberately in the current drum arrangement.