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steve25
post Dec 7 2008, 12:40 AM
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Hi guys. I still get a lot of trouble trying to arrange stuff. Even now after trying for a long time i still haven't managed to create even 1 song. I guess i'm just never happy with what it turns out. I can write riffs that i like but i can't ever seem to get from one riff to another that sounds decent enough and in the end i don't use those riffs. Any ideas on how i can improve this?

Also, i guess it kind of relates to guitar but i'm interested in creating soundtracks for picture, movies, games etc not professionally, well not yet of cours or anything but would just like to have a go and i have some software in the form of VST which wasn't too expensive to get me startd but i'm not sure what i really need to learn to do this. Does anyone know anything about it or any kind of resource that i can use to learn or any theory stuff? I know i've got to learn about harmonies which i'm onto but aside from that i'm not sure. I know the roles of like the string section, the brass section, woodwin and percussion and how it laid out etc and how for example you can spread a chord over the entire string section not just 1 instrument but apart from that i can't really develop a tune. Cheers
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Canis
post Dec 7 2008, 12:54 AM
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Well, I guess it would be helpful to sit down and listen to a song... Not just hearing what's beeing played, but really listening to it, analyzing it, hearing what makes the song what it is.. Everytihng from beats between symbals to when something increases in tempo or intensity. Then trying to make a replica of your favourite song and learning from that. Then taking what you've learned into something you've created on your own.

Maybe not exactly what you asked about, but it has worked really good for me when it comes to building up songs =)


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Matt23
post Dec 7 2008, 12:48 PM
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My advice is start on something simple, like a metal/rock/pop tune, where you just have guitar (possibly x2), bass, and drums, and vocals if you want. Keep the form of the song simple like Intro-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Guitar Solo--Chorusx2. Try and base it on a pre-existing song so if you get stuck for a riff you know what sort of riff would fit in at that part.

Once you have mastered composing a song based on another song, try composing your own song. You can't just get some riff's you have made up alll in the same key and put them together, you have to have riff's that have something to do with each other. So sit down and compose a whole bunch of riffs until you have a couple that would fit. Write them down and if you need another riff, play what you have so far, and see what plays in your head when the music stops, and try to imitate it on the guitar if it's good.

After this you should keep to simple forms but maybe add in a pre-chorus or an outro as well. Try adding in a synth or making 2 guitars do harmonising parts and compose another song Just generally try to step up the level a bit and make the composition a bit more complicated.

Keep adding in different sections, intruments and maybe try composing an instrumental tune. Generally make your compositions gradually more complex.

Have a go at a classical score or a soundtrack for a film.

You might also like to try at any stage taking some traditional song, and doing a rock arrangement of it. To do this just write down the original tune, then do a traditional rock power chords backing to it. Then add in some rock drums and bass. After this you can add any sort of ornament or extra to the original tune. This will help you improve you're arranging skills more, as you won't have to do any composing and you can just concentrate on arranging.

Here's some general tips on composing/arranging.

Compose with something like GuitarPro so you can here how something will sound straight after you've written it.

If you're having trouble writing a drum beat (of you're not a drummer), try looking at the GP files of other songs in the same style as yours and see what their drum beats are.

Try and complete Andrew's Theory Lessons as theory is a necessity in arranging. Chord theory especially.

IIf you need to link 2 ideas then try doing a variation on the last bar of the first idea (maybe that has something in common with the idea it is leading into), and put in a drum fill.

You won't be able to compose complex classical/movie scores until you know how to compose a simple rock tune. Composing/arranging is just like the guitar, it takes practice to be good at it.

Hope this helps

Matt smile.gif

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audiopaal
post Dec 7 2008, 03:54 PM
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When I first started out I made verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus songs.
Easy and not too many things to think about smile.gif

Now I may make more complex songs, but quite often I use that method and add an intro/outro etc..
And practice makes perfect so just don't give up, you'll get the hang of it eventually smile.gif
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steve25
post Dec 7 2008, 04:33 PM
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Cheers for the advice so far, i quite like the idea of changing a traditional song into a more rock style or something. I quite like the celtic style as well i like a lot of styles of music so i guess i just gotta take it slow. Now that i think about it, i do try and make more complicated songs than what i probably should be doing.
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Matt23
post Dec 7 2008, 04:41 PM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Dec 7 2008, 03:33 PM) *
Cheers for the advice so far, i quite like the idea of changing a traditional song into a more rock style or something. I quite like the celtic style as well i like a lot of styles of music so i guess i just gotta take it slow. Now that i think about it, i do try and make more complicated songs than what i probably should be doing.


My first rock arrangement was a celtic tune called "The Roaring Jelly" so you should definitely give something like that a try if you think it would be fun.
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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 7 2008, 04:42 PM
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Steve do you know your theory well? Knowing the theory is crucial for composing good songs, and so is analyzing other song material that you like using theory.


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Pedja Simovic
post Dec 7 2008, 05:07 PM
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I recommend you get some arranging books from Berklee press . They have really cool material on everything you mentioned!


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steve25
post Dec 7 2008, 05:15 PM
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Ivan: Test me biggrin.gif

Pedja: Cheers for the resource suggestion, i'll look into that
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MickeM
post Dec 7 2008, 05:26 PM
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One may think people just have it in them and songs are just there for them, but mind that there are "forumlas" on how to make a song. Pop forumlas, rock forumas etc. Maybe you noticed that songs may come as radio- and floor versions, that's because the different formats make better for different occacions.
Nothing come random, grabbed out of thin air and whoops... it's a hit.

I recall an old song, don't remember if the group was named Edelweiss or if it was the band. What they claimed what that the broke down these forumlas and decided to make a pop song that would be a hit. And they did.
A very corny song but it worked.

So what I suggest is that you pick a few songs from your genre. Listen to all of them and type out the forumlas like:
Intro 8 bars
verse x bars
chorus y bars
verse
bridge
etc etc etc for each song. When you're don't there should be a pattern crystalized whch you could make use of yourself. Then you'd have a guide to keep the ideas inside of.
Hope that gives you some ideas.


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Pedja Simovic
post Dec 7 2008, 05:46 PM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Dec 7 2008, 05:15 PM) *
Ivan: Test me biggrin.gif

Pedja: Cheers for the resource suggestion, i'll look into that


You welcome buddy
Check "Modern Chord Scale Voicings" ; "Jazz Composition" ; "Arranging for Large Ensamble"
These are all great. Especially first and last one - full of assignments and examples on CD , and you actually are asked to write for rhythm section + horns .
That will definitely help man
Get some cool VST that emulates sound of brass woodwinds and string instruments and you will be all set. After that follow the book , work on one area at the time and write your riffs , sections songs using techniques presented. Pretty soon you will become great arranger - then its all up to your writing skills but first book also helps you with that (choices what to do over what etc).

Hope that helps smile.gif


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superize
post Dec 15 2008, 10:56 AM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Dec 7 2008, 12:40 AM) *
Hi guys. I still get a lot of trouble trying to arrange stuff. Even now after trying for a long time i still haven't managed to create even 1 song. I guess i'm just never happy with what it turns out. I can write riffs that i like but i can't ever seem to get from one riff to another that sounds decent enough and in the end i don't use those riffs. Any ideas on how i can improve this?

Also, i guess it kind of relates to guitar but i'm interested in creating soundtracks for picture, movies, games etc not professionally, well not yet of cours or anything but would just like to have a go and i have some software in the form of VST which wasn't too expensive to get me startd but i'm not sure what i really need to learn to do this. Does anyone know anything about it or any kind of resource that i can use to learn or any theory stuff? I know i've got to learn about harmonies which i'm onto but aside from that i'm not sure. I know the roles of like the string section, the brass section, woodwin and percussion and how it laid out etc and how for example you can spread a chord over the entire string section not just 1 instrument but apart from that i can't really develop a tune. Cheers


I got the same problem as you i can create riffs but i cant put them togheter in an interesting way....... I think the easiest way is to play and try different things and write down and record what you play and then when you find something you like you can write it down togheter with the other things you have written(I use guitar pro for this).

As for the other question i have a vst called edirol orchestra and it is a really good software for creating film soundtrack... I use it in Fruity Loop studio but i havent really learned to use it good yet but it is a vary neat software....


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kjutte
post Dec 15 2008, 11:01 AM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Dec 7 2008, 12:40 AM) *
Hi guys. I still get a lot of trouble trying to arrange stuff. Even now after trying for a long time i still haven't managed to create even 1 song. I guess i'm just never happy with what it turns out. I can write riffs that i like but i can't ever seem to get from one riff to another that sounds decent enough and in the end i don't use those riffs. Any ideas on how i can improve this?


Unless you want to reinvent gunpowder, the easiest way to see connections in riffs is to acquire theory knowledge.
Learn about scales and harmonies, and it'll be alot easier to grasp.
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superize
post Dec 15 2008, 11:03 AM
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QUOTE (kjutte @ Dec 15 2008, 11:01 AM) *
Unless you want to reinvent gunpowder, the easiest way to see connections in riffs is to acquire theory knowledge.
Learn about scales and harmonies, and it'll be alot easier to grasp.


The one thing i never took the time to learn.....


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kjutte
post Dec 15 2008, 11:54 AM
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QUOTE (superize @ Dec 15 2008, 11:03 AM) *
The one thing i never took the time to learn.....


I hope you just got your motivation then.
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Gerardo Siere
post Dec 15 2008, 12:02 PM
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Two things, one is composing wath ever we can trying to get the most of our own material. Books on orchestation and composing can help even if we don´t have the technique to look and get new concepts and procedures. The other is analysing whatever we found interesting so we may figure out something new.


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Ivan Milenkovic
post Dec 15 2008, 10:38 PM
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QUOTE (steve25 @ Dec 7 2008, 05:15 PM) *
Ivan: Test me biggrin.gif


I can't test you mate, but can suggest some theory reading about harmony in general. Knowing chord progressions is important in song development, so you can start from there.


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steve25
post Dec 18 2008, 11:17 AM
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QUOTE (Ivan Milenkovic @ Dec 15 2008, 11:38 PM) *
I can't test you mate, but can suggest some theory reading about harmony in general. Knowing chord progressions is important in song development, so you can start from there.


Ivan,

Sure that'll be helpful thanks smile.gif
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Zynex
post Dec 18 2008, 12:54 PM
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When it comes to writing songs, the there are a couple of tips and tricks that could be helpfull.
For starters, people like riffs and melodies that get stuck in your head, BUT... don't overuse it. The riff should not get boring or predictable during the song. Also use build-up's or small breaks once in a while so the riffs or harder parts of a song come out much better. A song needs it's twist's and turns to keep the listener amused. Surprising them with a sudden chord change can be a good thing. Just be carefull not to get the song too weird or confusing.

When it comes to the writing proces itself, this differs for every artist and song. Sometimes you might want to brainstorm about the theme and sound of the song before you actually write it. Other times you just start of with a basic riff or idea and just improvise and see what might come out of it. There is no "correct way" to do this. Same goes for the lyrics.

My final advice: Be creative, be refresing and original, be YOU. But don't hasitate to listen to other work to get inspiration and knowledge out of it.

Hope it helps you!

This post has been edited by Zynex: Dec 18 2008, 12:55 PM


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Pedja Simovic
post Dec 19 2008, 10:22 PM
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I agree with Zynex , cool advices wink.gif

This post has been edited by Pedja Simovic: Dec 19 2008, 10:23 PM


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