Just a few tips that some people might find useful when arranging or writing their songs:
1. If you have a drop or build up in the song, make sure there’s different instrumentation after the drop compared to before it. You don’t want to build up the energy during that section, only to go back to the exact same sounds that were playing before the drop. People will be expecting something new, give it to them.
2. Your average listener will know within a few seconds if they want to keep listening to your song, so make the intro catchy. Nothing wrong with having a nice DJ friendly intro, but put some ear candy in there too so most people will be intrigued enough to keep listening.
3. Same with the end of the song, don’t make it so boring and anti-climatic that the last thing people think when hearing your song is “that’s it?”.
4. Avoid excessive repetition. Keep it interesting. Transitions, fills, call and response, variations, use whatever techniques you know to keep the song from getting samey-sounding.
5. Keep it focused. Does your song really need to be 8 minutes long? Are you really crafting an epic track that needs that much time to get from point A to point B? Give people a reason to come back and listen again, don’t beat them over the head with the exact same sounds for way too long.
6. Constantly ask yourself “Is this part crucial to the song?”. If you can mute a track and really not have the song change much, do you need that part in there? Do you need 4 different synth lines in the song, or does the strongest one stand well enough on it’s own?
7. Space is good. Dense mixes can be an amazingly immersive listening experience when mixed right, but leaving room for the instruments to breathe works good too. Let certain sounds decay to silence, avoid patterns and playing that’s so busy the sounds never have a chance to convey depth or detail. There’s no sense using reverb or delays if people never really get to hear them. Not only that, but you’ll find the song is a lot easier to mix and master as well!
Hope some of you find these quick tips useful. For more information on arranging and some more detailed ideas about the above topics, I’d also recommend reading these:
In other news, thanks to everyone that came out to Liquid Beats this past Saturday. What a great time, with some great beer and friends! I’m happy to say the new live set went well, only a couple minor issues cropped up, and those were easily dealt with the follow day when I got back in the studio.
Next gig is Photosynthesis 5 up in Neah Bay, Washington! Hope to meet even more of you there!
Finally, huge thanks to those people who continue to support the blog with small donations. Your kindness is very much appreciated!