Song Structure: Creating Complete Arrangements For You Tracks

Chord Composer, Chord Progressions, Song Structure -

Song Structure: Creating Complete Arrangements For You Tracks

We recently added a new Tutorial to our Youtube Channel, which demonstrates how you can use the Chord Composer to create complete arrangements for your own tracks. We also thought that it would be worth creating an additional Blog Post on this topic to complement the video as well.

Within the video, we used a simple Hip Hop track which is comprised of three different sections which are repeated several times throughout the song. Whilst this track doesn’t have a conventional Song Structure, we thought it was worth using as a template, as not all Modern Music follows the traditional arrangements. The song is in the Key of D Major, and we decided to add two extra sub root notes to the Chords to create added width with the synth we were using, resulting the progression below: 

I – D maj

II – E Min

III – F#Min

IV – G Maj

V – A Maj

VI – B Min

VII – C# Dim

Before we start breaking down the Chord Progressions we created for this song, we thought it would be worthwhile giving you some tips on how to make the most of the Chord Composer's functionality when creating Song Arrangements.

 

Use the Progression Stacker To Manager Progressions:  

Chord Composer | Chord Progression Plugin | Progression Stacker

We highly recommend using the Progression Stacker to manage your Chord Progressions for your arrangements, as it not only provides you with an overview of all the progressions you have created within your work-set but you can also use it to name the progression as well.

The Chord Composer will automatically name the Exported MIDI Files using the name you choose within the Progression Stacker, so it is worth making the most of this functionality so you don't have to rename the files after exporting to your DAW.

Play Out Your Progressions Using the Chord Player:

As part of the update to Version 1.1.0, we made some enhancements to the Chord Recording functionality which makes it much easier to Record your progressions using the Chord Player.

Chord Composer | Chord Progression Generator | Chord Recording

In order to use the Chord Playing and/or Chord Recording, you will need to make sure that Recording is enabled on both the Instrument you are controlling and the Chord Composer for the Chord Playing and Chord Recording to work. Once you have activated Chord Recording, all you had to do is start playback within your DAW and the Chord Composer will start recording any chord you play within the Piano Roll. Once playback has finished, you would be able to choose which Scene you would like to keep, after which you can use the Chord Composer's Chord Editing to finalise your progressions.

We're now going to break down the arrangement of the track, and provide more insight on why we chose the progressions which were used within each section.

Creating The Breakdown:

Ultimately, the breakdown adds dynamic range to a song. The breakdown of a song is usually where most of the elements are stripped out in order to break up the more repetitive sections. Sometimes the breakdown is used to turn down the energy level of a song, just before it is boosted way up.

Within this song, the breakdown has two purposes; to serve as the intro for the song and also to break up the Verses which would otherwise become repetitive. In order to create to slow the energy of the song down, and also create a sense of limbo, a rising then falling progression of II, VI, IV, V was used.

Chord Composer | Chord Progression Plugin

 

II – E Min

VI – B Min

IV – G Maj

V – A Maj

Creating The Buildup:

The buildup serves to lead listeners into the main section of the song, which can either be the Drop, the Chorus, or whatever section serves as the main focus of your track. Within this song, the Buildup was used in order to ease the transition into the Verse, which is where most of the elements of the song are in play.

As such, a rising progression of II, III, IV, V, was used for the Buildup, which helped to create anticipation and tension, and gives listeners an indication that they are about to enter the main part of the song.

Chord Composer | Chord Progression Plugin

 

II – E Min

III – F#Min

IV – G Maj

V – A Maj

Comparison of the Breakdown and Buildup Chord Progressions:

Although these two progressions are very similar, they each have a completely different energy within the sections which they are used. This demonstrates just how powerful making subtle changes to Chord Progressions can be, as the only difference between these two sections is with the second chord of the progression.

The Breakdown Progression jumps from II to VI and then back down to IV, which gives listeners the impression of progress, but then slows the energy down again, which is what we wanted to achieve within this section. The buildup however progresses naturally up the chords within the D Major progression, starting from II and finishing at V, gradually building up energy and leading listeners naturally to the verse.

Creating The Verse:

This is where this track breaks away from convention, as songs will normally be comprised of a Chorus and a Verse. This song doesn’t have a Chorus, and instead has a 16 bar repetition of the Verse with an additional layered pad which serves as the climax before the breakdown.

We decided to create a progression which follows the Bass line, and plays chords with the same Root Note being played by the Bass at the same rhythm. This is a very common pattern used in most styles of Music, as the Bassline often represents the heart of song. This gives  a final Chord Progression of II, I, VI, IV, II , V.

Chord Composer

 

II – E Min

I – D maj

VI – G maj

IV – G Maj

II – E Min

V – A Maj

Conclusion:

And there you have it. We were able to create a complete song arrangement using just three different chord progressions, which allowed the song to flow naturally from start to finish. We also demonstrated how making subtle changes to the chords used within these progressions can help to create a completely different energy for the section you are composing for. We hope you found this useful, and that it has shown you how you can use the Chord Composer's functionality to create complete arrangements for your own songs. But don’t just take our word for it. Try it out for yourself now!


1 comment

  • Rudo Thorne

    Thank you a lot, I sincerely appreciate the knowledge!

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