Have you ever wanted to make your own musical arrangements? This became possible thanks to the Sonar, a powerful recording and MIDI sequencing software. With this software even novice musicians can create their own musical arrangements. Now comes an important question: How long does it take to create a musical arrangement? Let’s find out then the answer…
Create musical arrangements, is essentially allowing your side “John Williams – Star Wars Opera” emerge. Of course, it will only govern some instruments and for the most part, virtual. When you are the music composer, everything is easier, you are already able to hear the music playing in your mind, so just bring it to the real world and let the world know your artwork. On the other hand, if you’re arranger by profession, or a home studio owner, then your ability has to go beyond the technique, because you have to understand what the song needs to become a masterpiece.
Understanding your customer:
You are with your Home Studio open, getting customers from every corner of the world, then one of them shows you a song you never heard in life. I’m not kidding … You will receive letters even by mail! The remote recording is something increasingly common.
You are with your client performing the song with the guitar (he even plays well). So at this point you should start thinking about what this music style will be arranged. A good way to find out is by asking the client / artist, he already has an idea of what kind of arrangement he wishes for such music.
If this production is a little more refined then we will deal with the artist’s production team before creating these musical arrangements. They have a more elaborate design and generally define a marketing plan for the product (artist), and of course, the style is set by following these parameters.
Returning to the less famous customers … Customer sings well, plays music and has an idea of how it should look. At this point the best strategy is to record this moment, voice and guitar for later reference. Of course, you will not remember the melody of the song after the artist turn the corner, because the music is new, you are not the Terminator T-1000 model, you’ll need to use Sound Forge and record this session, well done. It’s like if you were a sculptor and had making a plaster mold to reproduce the statue.
You recorded the song? Cool, now you will ask for a copy of the lyrics to this song, TABs, including the riffs if they exist.
At that point begins its journey of two hours to write the musical arrangement.
Take a glass of water, relax, get in alpha and get to work. How will you use a MIDI sequencer, so it’ll be easier to correct a small error during the execution of each instrument. You can use some Soundfonts to produce arrangements, helps a lot in hearing the final result.
All instruments can be played by the synthesizer, but some you may want to record live. They are: Overdrive and Clean Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, bass, and piano.
Prefer to play live if you have a good technique for performing each of these instruments.
Start always listening to MP3s with several similar arrangements to those who intend to do to this song. If you are wanting to create an arrangement such as Lady Gaga, so listen Bad Romance, Poker Face, only millionaires arrangements. The production of Lady GaGa invest (spend) a lot of money in those arrangements. The Lady GaGa’s mixing engineer was Robert Orton and RedOne was the producer. Believe me, these guys are not cheap.
If you will write pop music, then listen some artists in evidence, like Rihanna, Adele, a long list.
Finally, a briefing before starting is essential to a good end product.
To do everything in two hours, you have to use MIDI samples. I’m talking about pieces of MIDI instructions that you may have saved in folders for the most different styles. You do not need to record a riff more than once, just copy and paste this riff as many times as you wish.
I do not have these MIDI pieces? Easy download from the Internet a MIDI arrangement (well done) and open it in Sonar. Now extract the parts that interest you, such as drums, rhythms, dynamic effects, all you want for your new arrangement.
Basic rules when creating musical arrangements
- Mount the drums first.
- Play the song in parts, then copy and paste at will.
- Try to write clean and precise chords and arpeggios.
- Quantize only if necessary.
Following these steps, you will close your arrangement in less than 120 minutes.
For a quick article about creating arrangements, I will stop there. I am preparing an exercise showing it in practice and inviting you to also make. This is very important for any future Arranger / Home Studio Producer.