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What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

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Moderators: Scoops, Moderators (Main)

KVRian
 
840 posts since 4 Aug, 2006, from Helsinki

Postby Harry_HH; Thu May 22, 2014 7:23 am What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

The more I produce music, the more I apreciate clarity in music, the disctinctiviness of different elements.
Because of all kind of sample-based synths and beatmachines, nowdays its relatively easy to make some kind wall of sound
or pulsating continuous noice which reminds music,but too often the music creator/producer don´t understand what he/she is doing.
Why e.g. the Beatles music has retains its value, why their catalogue is still a "production yardstick" for many of us, is that
almost 100 % of their music well-thought, well crafted "whole productions", which you take to pieces, hear every
arrengement elements - all the guitar parts, bass parts, pianos, strings, vocal harmonies etc. and de-construct again.

I´m just in the beginning of my own road, but because of the above mentioned reason I´ve started to publish some of my modest music productions in in addition to the final production also in sub-arranegments - in this way the listener can perceive how the final production has evolved. In this way you can´t hide anything, all the mistakes can be heard. The listener can also easier to hear which parts of the arrangement he/she likes, which part(s) of the arrangement is unnecessary or unsuccesful - sometimes "less is more", sometimes "more is not enough", you decide.

There´s one example:

https://soundcloud.com/enwald/
KVRist
 
440 posts since 30 Nov, 2004

Postby Jesse Gorter; Thu May 22, 2014 8:33 am Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

production is really clear yes. that's remarkable.
However, as a song it doesn't really grab me. But I will surely check out more from you.
KVRist
 
269 posts since 22 Nov, 2008, from Greater Boston

Postby yevster; Fri May 23, 2014 10:09 am Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

A great arrangement mixes itself. That's why classical music has no FOH engineer.
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KVRAF
 
2149 posts since 3 May, 2003, from Germany
  

Postby thomekk; Fri May 23, 2014 4:38 pm Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

I prefer the vocals strings arrangement.
Tough question though and a good idea, in the idea of minimalism the drums are really not necessary in my opinon.
It's a unique composition by itself. So anything surrounding is just another dress with some movable colours.
I know this prob by myself. In doubt for less than more when everything is so clear as here.
KVRian
 
840 posts since 4 Aug, 2006, from Helsinki

Postby Harry_HH; Sat May 24, 2014 12:21 am Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

Valuable feedback,all, thank you. H.
KVRist
 
253 posts since 3 Sep, 2011

Postby maschinelf; Sat May 24, 2014 12:43 am Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

I find that many memorable songs, like the Beatles, have a strong and well formulated motif or hook, which is repeated often enough to make it memorable. The melodic element and it's development is often lacking, though this may be desirable for certain genres.

Also, the hallmark of a good arrangement is repetition, balance and development.
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KVRist
 
419 posts since 3 Jul, 2006
 

Postby jackoo; Sat May 24, 2014 11:13 am Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

For me, a good song is something that I hear and then just sits in my mind. It is easy to remember, and I can play it back in my mind usually after the first listen (at least part of it). It's also very important for me to trigger some kind of emotional response, so that I usually associate all the music I listen to activities, people, moods, feelings, thinking, walking, vacation, energy...

It has to be melodic and somehow repetitive, otherwise I cannot remember it. Very often good songs help me visualize some kind of story in my mind while listening to them.

Just my 2c.
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KVRist
 
39 posts since 14 Oct, 2013, from Berlin
 

Postby DarkerDigital; Sat May 24, 2014 12:24 pm Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

I remember a long time ago, for a while I used to produce songs purposely with the shittiest pair of headphones that I had. That way it was so much harder to produce something that sounded good, but if it did, it were the best some of the best songs I ever composed.
Darker Digital: Kickboxer
Analog Drums for NI Kontakt 5
May 19th 2014
http://www.darkerdigital.com
KVRian
 
840 posts since 4 Aug, 2006, from Helsinki

Postby Harry_HH; Sat May 24, 2014 12:39 pm Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

"A good song" and "a good arrangement" are two different things. I was focusing here pointing out the imortance of a good arrangement. Of course "a hit" piece needs in most cases both a good song, performance and arrangement. A very good performance and arrengement can make a mediocrate piece rather good -
on the other hand poor arrangement can ruin even a very good song - a poor arrangement won´t let a good song shine its full potential - this has nothing to do with the arrangement complexity. Good cand be complex or simple or something between - but what is best for the song, that´s the question.
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KVRAF
 
4341 posts since 20 Jul, 2010
 

Postby Sendy; Sat May 24, 2014 12:59 pm Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

This may be too obvious to mention but arrangement is part of the recursive process of creation. First we arrange the raw materials of our idiom - notes, percussive sounds, etc - into themes and motifs, then we apply the same process to those motifs, arranging them just as we did the raw materials, but on a larger scale. Longer pieces such as those in sonata form will have more levels or recursion to this arrangement process, and then arranging tracks to fit on an album would be the final one (if that is still done in your neck of the woods).

A good arrangement engages the listener. Electronica (asin, electronic dance, urban and undergound music) in the 90's really experimented strongly with arrangement, as opposed to today where the forms are largely locked-in like pop music (buildup, drop, yadda yadda has the same flexibility as verse, chorus, yadda yadda). Late jungle and early drum and bass arrangements were good at "teasing" the listener with increasing funkiness, showing them a glimpse of what the drop might be like, then making them wait for it, and having second or even third drops which switched things up a bit. Rather than blowing all their energy on one "mad" drop, the focus was more spread out over the track.

I prefer music where the elements seem to interact like characters in a story. Some work together and harmonize, some battle with each other until one side wins, some sneak up behind others and suprise them, some only have one moment in the spotlight while others seem to run the show. The "characters" can even pass through different environments if you enjoy that kind of thing - playing with ambiences and spaces, the big takeaway from ambient music.

A good example of arrangment in the 90's for me is Luke Vibert. Check out his remix of some song I'd never heard of:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6va7I4q1hg

He could make even a bland song come alive with an interesting arrangement, and artists like him in that period are probably where I get my arrangement-centric approach to writing and enjoying music from. If you compare these old Wagon Christ/Vibert tracks to what he's doing now, the new stuff is very much in the "switching on and off loops" vein.

Personally I'd like to see a renaissance of arrangement-driven music.
http://sendy.bandcamp.com/releases < My new album at Bandcamp!
KVRist
 
159 posts since 18 Apr, 2014, from Holland

Postby Dazed Veins; Sun May 25, 2014 1:38 am Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

Hehe a basically good composition, maybe?
KVRian
 
746 posts since 22 Oct, 2004, from Schmocation

Postby skipscada; Sun May 25, 2014 3:10 am Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

Ideally, the artist should have something to express, and then doing the arrangement is simply trying to express that "something" in the most efficient manner possible. For instance, in a song with lyrics that are actually meant to express something, the arrangement should both mirror what the lyrics are saying and leave room for them to come through. Reference: Scott Walker's solo albums 1-4.
KVRian
 
840 posts since 4 Aug, 2006, from Helsinki

Postby Harry_HH; Sun May 25, 2014 4:01 am Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

skipscada wrote:Ideally, the artist should have something to express, and then doing the arrangement is simply trying to express that "something" in the most efficient manner possible. For instance, in a song with lyrics that are actually meant to express something, the arrangement should both mirror what the lyrics are saying and leave room for them to come through. Reference: Scott Walker's solo albums 1-4.


Scott, I think, didn't often know even himself what his lyrics "means". However, funny that you happened to mention him, I'm certainly a big fan - Scott's pre-2000 catague incl. Montague Terrace or Primal Scream Higher than the Sun are examples of the rock classics which really have affected to my understanding of the creative music/arrangement.
KVRian
 
840 posts since 4 Aug, 2006, from Helsinki

Postby Harry_HH; Sun May 25, 2014 4:01 am Re: What is really characteristics of good arrangement?

skipscada wrote:Ideally, the artist should have something to express, and then doing the arrangement is simply trying to express that "something" in the most efficient manner possible. For instance, in a song with lyrics that are actually meant to express something, the arrangement should both mirror what the lyrics are saying and leave room for them to come through. Reference: Scott Walker's solo albums 1-4.


Scott, I think, didn't often know even himself what his lyrics "means". However, funny that you happened to mention him, I'm certainly a big fan - Scott's pre-2000 catalogue incl. Montague Terrace or Primal Scream Higher than the Sun are examples of the rock classics which really have affected to my understanding of the creative music/arrangement.

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