Before you ever set foot in a recording studio you should make sure you are, without doubt, going to produce the best song ever. Although recording has afforded us the luxury of new wonders and expectations being met within the music scene, old style needs should be in place to give your songs that extra significance and listed below are some tips to help you perfect your arrangement prior to the start of recording.
1. Balance. Your instrumentation needs to be balanced with an even amount of ranges between low and high. Your recording will not sound half as good if you have too much of one and not sufficient of the other to balance it all out
2. Harmonies. You need good support as far as the melody of your song is concerned. Without the correct harmonies, or other sounds to the melody, your song will appear to have a piece of the puzzle missing.
3. Musical Arrangement. Based around the ability to sort out the instrumentation in the song, the arrangement should not only be balanced but should incorporate contrasts and similarities, with the music expressing what you are trying to say. The use of basic theory concepts can assist you with this.
4. Spacing. This is far more important than harmonies and tunes. You do not want to rush through your song but by the same token you do not want to take too much time either. Make sure you keep your song moving correctly by giving some breaks with the melodies and changing up the harmonies to keep things interesting to the listener.
5. Tempo. Make sure your tempos are distinct so they can be followed without a beat being missed. It is important that once you are in the recording studio that your timing is spot on, as being out by just one second can cause problems with the recording process
6. Form. The simplest way for a listener to appreciate your song from the start is to ensure you have the right form. If you are focused on lyrics, use this as your hook during the chorus. When experimenting with form, make sure there is a particular part of the music which returns to the original to keep the appreciation of the listener thus enabling them to relate to the music.
7. Variety. Variety is regularly overlooked when arranging a song. Even though you are repeating choruses or verses, some different instrumentation is needed in your recording.
8. Movement. The movement of the song lies far beyond the tempo and into the added extras of a recording. This is important as it is likely to make or break your song. Louds and softs, ornamentation and other add ons will help to steer the song in the right direction.
9. Consistency. The song needs consistency to hold it all together. This is related to the form of the song and also links other aspects of the song together such as the lyrics and musical concepts.
You can exercise some leeway within all of these areas but the listener needs to follow where you are going with your music so a framework really is necessary.
10. Creativity. You really do not want your music to sound to similar to something that everyone has heard before. Therefore, creativity and putting your personal mark on your song is vital. . Let yourself go a little, follow your creative instincts and the rest will fall nicely into place on its own
Use the above mentioned simple tips to improve and prepare your song ready for recording. This way your music will not only be polished by you will stand out a head and shoulders above the other performing musicians and your voice will be heard by all.
Kevin Sinclair is the publisher and editor of MusicianHome.com, a site that provides information and articles for musicians at all stages of their development.