In some ways we all have the same big "problem" when it comes to arranging a song. This seems to be very often the most iinhibiting factor for producing our song.The most common dilemma songwriters may have is what instruments to use or when is a good time to pull that instrument in the arrangement,maybe this part is simple or that too complicated,and many more questions like these, that often seem an obstacle to get things done.You might have the picture in your mind how your song is,but you're having trouble putting the things in order.I hope these tips help you get started and apply them to your workflow in your home studio.
WRITE DOWN YOUR ARRANGEMENT IDEAS
First of all you have to think the structure of your song.Once you play your song to your guitar or your keyboards,try to think what your song is going to be like.
You have an intro, a verse maybe a bridge and a chorus.All these have to be in the right order.Your right order.How many times intro is going to be repeated,when the bridge comes in, how many choruses are going to be played before the solo of a lead guitar maybe and all these things like that.Decisions that you have to take before pressing the rec button.
RECORD A GUIDE TRACK
Get into your DAW ,whatever this is, create an audio track , set approximately your song tempo, grab your guitar or the midi keyboard and try to record a guide track as i call it and i use this method almost every time.
Don't try to be so perfect to your recording.It's just for now.When you start recording your song you can delete all these audio files and have some fantastic guitar recordings.The only thing you have to focus now is to record a guide track just like as you want your song to be recorded.One part of intro(piano) and the second part full orchestra(forte), verse then a bridge and here comes the chorus! And so on.If you don't like the order that you just recorded your guide track you can always delete the track and record another one until you come to the right choice of your arrangement.Another handful tool to your DAW is to create in your project a marker track , so you can navigate between your song's parts much more easier.Another issue that you have to be very careful with, is the right key of the song. It's very crucial to determine if your song is for a male or a female vocalist.
LISTEN TO REFERENCE TRACKS
Let's say you have a ballad and you think that it shouldn't be overloaded with many instruments or you don't have any idea how could this song dressed up and what instruments to use.You are a songwriter, a composer, that means that you have so many musical influences and you have heard so many songs of this genre
. Take for example a reference track , insert it in your project and listen!Listen all these things that you have never heard before.You don't have to focus only on the instrumens but also how they are recorded. Now you are a recording engineer of your self and your ears must be trained to hear everything behind the scenes.This will give you many options to consider about your song's instrumentation.Of course you can use any instrument you like and make the difference! So, you listen to your favourite songs and you realize that most of these songs have common instruments and these are piano, guitar( acoustic / electric) , bass ,drums.I think that reference tracks is your perfect tool for getting good ideas especially if you are a new starter to arrangement.
LIMIT YOUR TRACKS
Yes,i know that you have the time and the privilege to record countless takes of each instrument or even better countless tracks(audio) and you can add some more ,because you want your song to sound so perfect! It's wrong! You have to apply a simple but very powerful rule in your home studio. "Less is more". Don't overdo it! Try to be creative and stay focus on that simple thing: Less tracks better results.Write down how many tracks you are going to record and keep it as a rule for your songs' production.
Keep things simple and focus on creativity and your music.
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