So many times as creative people, we tend to work too hard trying to find that big melody (for producers), or that powerful lyric (for artists). There’s nothing wrong with that! But what I’ve learned over the 20+ years I’ve been sharpening my craft is that the magic is all in the details! Often times strengthening the details will naturally lead you to that BIG thing you’re looking for. This blog post is all about the art of arrangement.
Look at this picture for instance. It is breathtakingly beautiful! But there are many elements, some big some small, that add up to create this beautiful picture. Not to mention that a digital picture like this is composed of many many pixels. If any of these pixels were out of place, the photo wouldn’t be as beautiful. The same concept applies to the details/arrangement your art.
There’s a lot you can do with arrangement, but don’t do toooo much like you’re in a beat battle or some type of competition lol! Intentional, subtle, and organized efforts makes hits. When you’re working on your music, first pay attention to the basic frame points: Intro, verses, choruses, bridge, ending. Make each section stand out by making each a little different from the others. The second chorus should include an element or melody that wasn’t in the first chorus. Ditto with the verses. And with the bridge, usually the point is to take the listener totally away from the melody they are used to hearing throughout the rest of the song, build things up, and then bring them back to the main melody for the finale (which most times is several repeats of the chorus and an ending).
After you pinpoint these sections and make them distinguishable, work on creating attention grabbing transitions. Use tools like quick instrument/artist solos, special effects, drops, pauses, etc. to create anticipation and curiosity in the listener. People have a very short attention span so you have to keep them engaged in your art. It takes no effort and is quite boring to simply switch from one section to the next. But throwing in something special on that transition makes all the difference with the listeners engagement level. You’re literally taking them on a musical journey with each section so that’s how you must think of your song. A journey.
Once you’ve got all these elements in place, browse back over your art and add what I like to call the “One Hitta Quitta” lol! This is basically that element that is super crazy DOPE but you only add it in the song one time. These types of things drive people CRAZY and they’ll go back and listen to that part over and over again!
There are many other detailed things that you can do when arranging your art, but I hope this is a good starting point to help producers/artists take their songs to the next level. I’ve been sharpening my arrangement skills for a long long time and you can hear the growth in MY WORK. Rather than just keep what I’ve learned to myself, my desire to help as many others as I can so we can all share the success of an awesome creative output. There’s nothing like that feeling of creating excellence! So with that said, have fun arranging and as always, I BELIEVE IN YOU!!! Be blessed. -Tone Jonez