You need to be logged in to post on the forum
Topic Options
Index
#209009 - 07/08/13 07:27 AM [Off-Topic] What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ?
Joe V Offline
Expert

Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 1020
Loc: NYC
Hi all,

On a previous post I opened a discussion on the importance of certain 'synth sounds' that characterize a song, and learned that in addition to synth sounds, even more important is the arrangement.

I've begun to write some original instrumentals, and would like to make them more interesting by adding other instrument parts. Trial and error, instinct, listening to other artists, and using one's ear is a great way to start - and I'm doing so.

But in addition can anyone recommend some 'classic' books that would speed up the process, or help me save time in getting better at this skill ?

Top
#209020 - 07/08/13 09:21 AM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
rockstar_not Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7454
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Critical listening and observation are the keys, not reading. That's my opinion.

Take your favorite pop tunes and analyze what is there from an arrangement standpoint.

Instrumentals are very rare in pop music, BTW. Lyrics do matter. A great deal, in my opinion.

-Scott

Top
#209042 - 07/08/13 11:38 AM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
Sundance Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/30/08
Posts: 4249
Joe,

IMO, the problem with most instrumentals is there's no melody - just a bunch of jamming instead of a cohesive song.

If I was going to write instrumentals, I would learn from the masters. Here's a concert of one the most successful instrumentalists of all time. You can hear and see him and the live players.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mejBINAhFI
_________________________
Josie
My version of BE MY BABY
My Songs
My Videos







Top
#209052 - 07/08/13 12:56 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Sundance]
flatfoot Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 2185
Loc: Sacramento CA
.
Have you mastered the harmony function in BiaB? This is the two strips on the upper right. Probably say <no harmony> right now.

Open a very simple song - something from the "50 SONGS" folder. Try a couple different preset harmonies. The "Convert harmony to melody track" will cause the new harmony notes to show up as notation.

After a LOT of experimentation, you will begin to see how these harmonizations work. The defaults that come with the program are standard models that real arrangers use all the time.

Once you are pretty sure you know whats going on with the defaults, try the "Edit" button. It will take some figuring out, but it is so worth it.

I learned harmony the hard way from books and classes. It takes years. You already have the best harmony-teaching tool I have ever seen.






Edited by flatfoot (07/08/13 01:04 PM)
_________________________
Flatfoot sez: Call me when 'Talent-in-a-Box' is ready to ship! -- [8{>

Got some tunes on You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/flatfoot50
.
My BiaB lesson site:
http://jdwolfe0.wixsite.com/learnbiab

Top
#209060 - 07/08/13 02:44 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
Matt Finley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 17633
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Flatfoot makes a great point. BIAB has the two Harmony pull-down menus (in the upper right, just over the little keyboard) for the Melody and the Soloist. Start with "3 above" then "6 below" then move into more advanced. The only catch is you must know intervals to decipher the names. Many of those choices even have clues in the name to explain what they are doing. Often the first number is the number of voices (say, 4 parts) and the second is something with an interval (like drop 2).

I have a shelf full of books on arranging. The sad part is, they are often more beneficial after you already know how to do it. Try some experimenting in BIAB and study what it does, learning what different choices of harmony sound like. Usually you would use either the Melody or the Soloist harmony pulldown, not both. One little cautionary tip: if you like a harmony and freeze a track, don't apply more harmony to it, or your head will spin trying to hear all the parts.

And here's a little kept secret: BIAB does some fine arranging on its own. I just finished a project arranging my music for a symphony orchestra. For one soli, I needed open voiced trombones to back me up on a line. I set the key signature and used BIAB for the melody phrase and chords, and let it generate the parts by Harmony #218, open fourths. I saved it as MIDI and imported that into my notation program. Task done, quicker than doing it myself.




_________________________
BIAB 2018 Win Audiophile; [& 2018 Mac UltraPak]. Software: Mixcraft, Adobe Audition, Ozone, Encore; Win 10 64 Pro. Hardware: custom i7, 16 Gb; Roland Integra-7, Focusrite 18i20(2), TCE Finalizer, Behringer X-Touch, Adam sub & monitors.

Top
#209067 - 07/08/13 03:37 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Matt Finley]
flatfoot Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 2185
Loc: Sacramento CA
.
Sometimes I use the harmonies just as BiaB creates them. Other times I will edit the parts in the Notation window to make the sound a little more humanoid.
_________________________
Flatfoot sez: Call me when 'Talent-in-a-Box' is ready to ship! -- [8{>

Got some tunes on You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/flatfoot50
.
My BiaB lesson site:
http://jdwolfe0.wixsite.com/learnbiab

Top
#209068 - 07/08/13 03:38 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: flatfoot]
flatfoot Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 2185
Loc: Sacramento CA
.
Hey Matt! Congratulations on the symphony gig. Sounds totally fun!
_________________________
Flatfoot sez: Call me when 'Talent-in-a-Box' is ready to ship! -- [8{>

Got some tunes on You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/flatfoot50
.
My BiaB lesson site:
http://jdwolfe0.wixsite.com/learnbiab

Top
#209075 - 07/08/13 04:32 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
pghboemike Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/13/02
Posts: 2478
Quote:
I've begun to write some original instrumentals, and would like to make them more interesting by adding other instrument parts.


it might help if we knew
what style of music the songs fit

what instrument parts you'ld like to add

what tools you have to produce the sounds you want, keyboard, synths, percussion etc

if you have chords + melody have you tried using various biab styles with the songs

the first 4 links here http://pghboemike.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/songwriting-lessons/

may be helpful

from an amazon search for arranging music

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0...arranging+music









Edited by pghboemike (07/08/13 04:47 PM)
_________________________
Lenovo YOGA 900 Window s 10 Home 64bit 16GB RAM casio wk7500 presonus audiobox i2 usb interface
casio wk-7500
biab & realband 2017 everything pk both with Current builds

Top
#209079 - 07/08/13 05:47 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
Joe V Offline
Expert

Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 1020
Loc: NYC
Thank you all for the great suggestions on using the features of BB/RB and the links - I hadn't thought of using those features of the program to explore harmonies, and the links are exactly pertinent also.

Stylewise - I'm 'locked' into the songs I group up with - I love multipart harmonies and the arrangements from the old groups such as the Eagles, Beach Boys, Abba, Chicago, Fleetwood mac. I would love some suggestions on some newer music to listen to that is a little more 'modern' (e.g. not decades old !!!) and has songwriting just as solid as these old megagroups.

Top
#209090 - 07/08/13 07:13 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
rockstar_not Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7454
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Joe,

Take just one song that you like from the 'old' groups and break it down arrangement-wise in thus fashion:

First listen through, write out the section names and lengths in number of measures.

Second listen through the song, simply write down all of the 'parts' that you can hear. Just make a list. Then use a spreadsheet software to put the sections in the rows and the 'parts' in the colums.

Example:

Row names: intro, verse 1, chorus 1, verse 2, chorus 2, bridge, verse 3, chorus 3, chorus 4, outro, etc.

Column names: acoustic guitar 1, acoustic guitar 2, electric guitar 1, electric guitar 2, drums, bass, piano, organ, etc.

Then listen through the song specifically listening for each part by itself, as you pace through the sections, write out what that 'part' is doing, eg. arpeggiated chords likely in root position on neck, strummed lightly on 8ths, etc. Delayed (dotted 8th) lightly distorted lead on electric, etc. Also make particular notes of where the part is silent - one of the best ways to make arrangements better is to mute parts for sections.

It doesn't matter if the song is old or new. Get this skill nailed. It doesn't take a book to learn to do this. It takes practice. Do it enough, and you will start to see patterns and recognize how an arrangement 'clicks'.

I do this for all of our church's worship team songs - even though I'm not the worship leader, we use these grids to lay out how we are going to divide responsibility in the band, for every song that is in our playlist for the week.

It takes me about an hour to do a 4 minute song - to write out all of these notes, count out the section lengths, etc.

Again, whether the song is old or new, doesn't really matter. Decide what you want to sound like then see if you can ape it.

Here's an example: I really loved hearing Beck's album "Sea Change" on a flight from Detroit to somewhere. I had no idea who the artist was, but I loved the arrangements and orchestration. When I found out it was Beck, I was shocked, because I had really loathed his previous material. Here's a YouTube of the opening track, "The Golden Age": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6zAT15vaFk

I loved the use of quirky instrumentation, big sounding reverbs on the vocals, etc. and the space of the song. It is as wide open as the desert imagery that are in the video and in the lyrics.

I wanted to see if I could copy the vibe of the song - so I tried a 2 minute version of it for a KVRaudio.com song contest that concentrated on covers. Out of about 70 entries that month (if I recall correctly) - I won. Most of it was down to pretty simple instrumentation, and a scrupulous critical listening to the arrangement then trying to copy that arrangement to the best of my ability in my basement 'studio'.

Here's my 2 minute version (KVR song contests were limited to 2 minute versions). http://rockstarnot.rekkerd.org/songs/new...ute%20cover.mp3

I had some accusing me of outright copying the song - which if you listen carefully, I did not - rhythm acoustic is different, vox different, etc.

But I pretty much nailed the arrangement details. Mix might not be exactly right, effects are off a bit (drums in particular) my singing might not be up to snuff, but I use this as an example of what I'm referring to as 'critical listening'. It's somewhat laborious, but it pays off, in my opinion as one arranges and produces a finished product.

No book would tell me how to do that process. So, pick a simple song by one of the fave bands above, and get at writing out a verbal description of what you hear. Once you are able to hear each part in isolation, you are well on your way to being able to arrange for a particular vibe.

-Scott

Top
#209092 - 07/08/13 08:22 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: pghboemike]
flatfoot Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/15/00
Posts: 2185
Loc: Sacramento CA
.
>>>...I love multipart harmonies and the arrangements from the old groups such as the Eagles, Beach Boys,...>>>

VOCAL harmonies are a different smoke entirely. Mostly the groups you mention, and others, work out their parts without notes or books. I learned to do it at a Bluegrass camp, and I had to unlearn some my Conservatory practices before I got it right.

I suggest you lieten to the Louvin Brother on You Tube. They are kind of the grandaddies of the genre. The Everly brothers learned from the Louvins, the Beatles and the Beach Boys learned from the Everlies, and so on. Then find samples in the BiaB harmonies that will help you


Edited by flatfoot (07/08/13 09:37 PM)
_________________________
Flatfoot sez: Call me when 'Talent-in-a-Box' is ready to ship! -- [8{>

Got some tunes on You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/user/flatfoot50
.
My BiaB lesson site:
http://jdwolfe0.wixsite.com/learnbiab

Top
#209106 - 07/09/13 01:09 AM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: flatfoot]
rockstar_not Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7454
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
agreed with flatfoot that you are up a creek with trying to match Beach Boy and other vox harmonies. Was it in this thread where you stated you wanted to do instrumental pop music?

Anyways, on the critical listening front - I have just spent the last hour and a half analyzing this recent modern worship hit song: http://youtu.be/qOkImV2cJDg

I have a spreadsheet where I wrote out all of the part descriptions for each of the song sections.

I'll see if I can post the excel file to my website and then provide a link to it.

Here's the link to the xls file http://rockstarnot.rekkerd.org/songs/songmaps/Whom%20Shall%20I%20Fear%20-%20Chris%20Tomlin.xls

Let me know if you can hit that or not.


Edited by rockstar_not (07/09/13 01:16 AM)

Top
#209118 - 07/09/13 07:57 AM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
Joe V Offline
Expert

Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 1020
Loc: NYC
Again - thanks for all the great suggestions. Often an open-ended post leads to a wonderful place I couldn't have predicted.

Top
#209126 - 07/09/13 08:31 AM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
Mac Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
The greater majority of Pop vocals are going to be either the "one up" - "one down" or "one up and one down" harmonies.

The vocal harmonizer inside BiaB has those as Settings to select, and can represent a good way to learn, practice and know these.

The above can be based on the Melody line, or may be based on the Chord Changes sometimes.

--Mac
_________________________
PGmusic FAQs, Tutorials and Updates! click here

You must be Audiominds.
www.audiominds.com

Top
#209145 - 07/09/13 01:25 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
rockstar_not Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7454
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Joe,

I challenge you to take your favorite song from one of your list of bands, and simply start the process by listening through the whole song several times and just list all of the various instruments.

For example, The Eagles' "Take It Easy", http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEzTdBJUHO8 on my first listen through I heard the following:

1. At least two different acoustic guitars
2. At least two different electric guitars
3. Bass
4. Drums
5. Banjo
6. Lead Vox
7. Harmony Vox, possibly 3 part in some sections - some are sung words, some are 'oohs'

Now, for each of those parts there are specific details that would help me play/arrange/record them, dedicate a track in my DAW project for them.

Let's begin to break down the song. Just looking at one part - I'm listening through again to try to isolate what I hear for that part.

I'll select the 2nd electric guitar that I hear. I'm talking about the electric guitar that is isolated to the right track - listen close, there's a slow arppegiated part twang through verses and choruses, which disappears somewhat in the mix at the instrumental - but it's still there. Panned hard right I would guess if I could hit the solo button on the mixer! It has a little bit of chorus on it and some reverb. Sits pretty far back in the mix. It doubles up on the hook riffs, but still sitting far back in the mix.

Can you hear that same part when you listen through? I picked that because I think it's one of the more subtle arrangement and mix choices that the producer/arranger made. But it adds without being obvious.

If so, write down notes like the above for what you hear - for each of the parts that are there. Write them out section by section of the song. You then have the framework of the arrangement for that song. Use it as a ghost song framework for your own song.

Why is it important to develop this kind of a skill as a composer/arranger?

How many times have I listened to this song in my lifetime? Hundreds of times, likely. I never noticed the banjo before. Not until doing what I call Critical Listening (perhaps others call it this as well).

In so doing, I heard an instrument in the song that was never obvious to me before. Now a banjo player would pick that out probably first time through.

But if I were to set out to do my own cover track of this Eagles tune, you can be darn sure I would have a RealTrack (or hire one of my banjo playing friends) to have that part in there.

I also know that to get an authentic reproduction, I'm gonna need more than one track for electric guitars. Whether I play it, hire it out, use a RealTrack or other, I'm gonna have to nail that in the arrangement.

etc.

Pay attention to where stuff drops out as well. Just as important as putting it in. This particular song doesn't have much dynamics - there's no significantly quieter section. In this regard, it's rather boring. It's kind of in your face the whole length of the song. People say there are no dynamics in modern music - well here's a classic country rock tune with almost no dynamics either.

-Scott

(Edit: I realize that calling this megahit 'boring' I may have angered some - but I'm just calling it as I hear it - sorry if anyone found it offensive)


Edited by rockstar_not (07/09/13 01:26 PM)

Top
#209178 - 07/09/13 11:17 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
Joe V Offline
Expert

Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 1020
Loc: NYC
Ok Scott - I'm going to give it a try tomorrow - I skimmed your post, but didn't read the details, and then compare with what you heard. Thanks for getting me started.

Top
#209179 - 07/09/13 11:33 PM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Joe V]
Sundance Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/30/08
Posts: 4249
Scott, those are great posts by you on your critical listening technique - with step by step instructions and a spread sheet example. I don't think I've ever seen the subject explained so concisely that well.

Thank you for sharing that.

P.S. Excellent job on the Beck song.


Edited by Sundance (07/09/13 11:42 PM)
Edit Reason: to add kudo I almost forgot
_________________________
Josie
My version of BE MY BABY
My Songs
My Videos







Top
#209181 - 07/10/13 12:33 AM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Sundance]
rockstar_not Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7454
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Originally Posted By: Sundance
Scott, those are great posts by you on your critical listening technique - with step by step instructions and a spread sheet example. I don't think I've ever seen the subject explained so concisely that well.

Thank you for sharing that.

P.S. Excellent job on the Beck song.


Thanks, Josie. Practicing this is probably the most important skill I have worked on to improve my songwriting and composing and for being a band member playing what amounts to cover tunes on Sundays on our worship team at church. The Beck tune was the first one where I worked pretty hard at it and wrote it all out as to what i heard. Doing this also helps me mix our worship team for dynamic impact. I play the faders.

Top
#209182 - 07/10/13 12:46 AM [Off-Topic] Re: What are some good books to learn arrangements for pop music ? [Re: Sundance]
bobcflatpicker Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/27/07
Posts: 3358
Loc: WV, USA
Quote:
Scott, those are great posts by you on your critical listening technique - with step by step instructions and a spread sheet example. I don't think I've ever seen the subject explained so concisely that well.


Josie,

Scott is one of the best we have on the forum for digging into the topic and explaining the details on a technical subject in a way that makes sense.

_________________________
Bob
................................
http://soundcloud.com/bobcflatpicke/music-in-the-mountains

Top


PG Music News
Band-in-a-Box® 2018 for Mac - Importing MIDI Files

Did you know that Standard MIDI files can be read in to the Melodist or Soloist track within Band-in-a-Box? You can use all of the MIDI File, or select channels or a specific range of bars, using these steps:
1. Melody | Import Melody from MIDI File to select a MIDI file from disk using the file dialog.
2. Melody | Import Melody from Clipboard - when the MIDI data is already copied from another program to the
clipboard.

A new window will open, asking for additional criteria - which channels, # of bars to offset..., # of bars to import, include lyrics, include patch changes - and more! Head to our online manual Chapter 10: Working with MIDI to learn more!

YouTube Find - Your First 15 Minutes with Band-in-a-Box

Woody Piano Shack recently got their hands on Band-in-a-Box after a long time without the program - and they're thrilled!!

Check out this video they've shared to their YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/9dxSfwjBvG0

Thanks Woody Piano Shack!

National Dictionary Day - Guitar & Piano Chord Dictionaries

Today is National Dictionary Day!

We offer 2 dictionaries for just $19 each: the Guitar Chord Dictionary & the Piano Chord Dictionary!

Each of these programs are easy to use! Simply choose a root note, select the chord you want to learn, and the Dictionary will play and display the chord!

An Essential Tool for any Musician!

User Tip - Band-in-a-Box® to Reaper: The Basics

Forum user DeaconBlues09 has created a video to demonstrate how easy the process is for them to streamline their workflow with DAWs, particularly Reaper - check it out: click here to watch.

Join the forum discussion.

Train Your Brain with Band-in-a-Box®

National Train Your Brain Day is October 13th!

Open your Band-in-a-Box® program, and you'll find the [Practice] button in the toolbar - it's a GREAT resource!
Minimized your toolbar? Head to Window | Practice Window or ALT SHIFT L to access

In this window, you'll find many options to help you practice, including Ear Training games, access to the Chord Builder and Chord Subs, some helpful tools within the Playalong Features menu, and more!

Train Your Brain with Band-in-a-Box® today!

Band-in-a-Box Patch Updates - #TechTuesday

Visit our Patches & Updates page, and you will see that with every version released, there are 2+ patch updates applied to that version.

Patch updates are important, and should definitely be installed to your BB folder. They can add new features, update the help resources of the program, fix bugs reported by users, and make your entire Band-in-a-Box experience run smoothly!

Band-in-a-Box update options can be adjusted within the program too - within Band-in-a-Box for Mac, head to Band-in-a-Box | Check for Updates | and then you can select to automatically check for updates by however many days you choose!

Xtra Styles PAK 5 Contest - Listen to All the Entries!

Our Xtra Styles PAK 5 Contest is over, and the winners have been announced - congratulations again to forum users fiddler2007, rodipoet, Will Josef, and Ezekiel's Storm!

And, a BIG thank you to everyone who entered their songs on our contest - WOW what a great list of songs! We've arranged all the song entries into one simple list, if you'd like to listen to all the entries click here.

Forum Stats
28070 Members
57 Forums
54416 Topics
449870 Posts

Max Online: 2434 @ 11/14/17 12:37 AM
Newest Members
ugtk, helenmai, chuckster55, KeithR, Andreu Casado

28070 Registered Users
Top Posters (30 Days)
Noel96 156
David Snyder 155
Janice & Bud 140
Matt Finley 137
Tangmo 130
Will Josef 129
Alyssa - PG Music 127
MarioD 120
beatmaster 118
Deryk - PG Music 111
Today's Birthdays
dmws