Beat Arrangement: Make Your Tracks More Exciting
What is going to make your track stand out more than the next producer? Is it the sample chops, sound/drum selection, the mix? We are the creators of soundscapes, nowadays more and more people are listing to instrumentals without vocals. Producers are being considered “artist” just as they will book to see an artist perform. Producers are getting those opportunities to showcase their music. Whether its in the form of instrumental albums or performing live. On the other end of submitting music to artist, how are we going to keep the attention of the listener? is the beat exciting? Here are a few techniques to add the spices and sweeteners to already good looped tracks.
Transition sounds are the sounds that gives the listener an audio cue that the beat is about to change or loop again. We all have heard that “rising” synth sound. These sounds don’t happen often so it adds a great element to the beat. The type of sound can be anything you prefer that sounds good to the track. It can be a whoosh going up or down, rising/falling lead sound, reverse cymbal or a sprinkle. Be creative as this will help a lot to spruce up the track and help lead into the hook or the bulk of the beat.
Muting or taking certain elements out at the right time can really make the track more dynamic. This can really help all tracks even if its only a few sounds in the beat. For example; this track has a kick, snare, hats, baseline and sample. Then at times you can mute just 1 snare hit at bar#3 or take all drums out at bar #7 which the transition rise will carry into the restart of the loop. Another type of muting I use often is muting all sounds. Great to use this during bar#3 and bar#7. Also this is great if you have a change in the sample or melody; The 1st 4 bars is one melody, then the 2nd 4 bars is a different, this can add a element of surprise to the ear. A good way to visualize this is imagine your favorite rapper saying a dope punchline and the beat drops and comes backs in.
Filters have always been popular in dance/edm tracks and seems more recently in hip hop tracks as well. This adds a great ear treatment to add to tracks if not done too often. This way is a great anticipation builder to start a track with a long intro. Another time this could work great would be after a hook leading into a verse. With the hooks, we tend to have all sounds of the beat going as this is the bulk of the beat. Adding a filter during the next 4-8 bars after the hook (depends on the tempo) puts the listener high on a cliff then drop them off then comes back to the original beat. Very dynamic and exciting.
Vari Fi or Pitch Shifter:
This is the effect that sounds like a record slowing down or speeding up. Depending how you use it, it can be a short stop followed by a mute of a sound. Or it can be a long slow sped up and count as a transition leading into the next sequence.
Different intro lengths can help your track or hurt your track. Typically intros are 4-8 bars lead ins with the drums and the bulk of the beat playing. Having a long intro and not having the rest of the elements come in, sonically deflates the energy of the beat. We are expecting it to drop and then…still waiting. Also you have options to create a shorter intro and get right into the music 1-2 bars with a stutter of the 1st hit.
With battling beats, time has to be on your side. The format usually 60-90 seconds per beat and sometimes your beat should fit within the time. With taking all of the above techniques, you can consolidate all the tricks for battling format. If your intro is 45 seconds long, that only leaves 15 seconds for the rest of the beat. Move everything forward to make that 1 minute as dynamic as possible for better judging.
In conclusion, arrangement can be just as creative as making the beat. Experiment and develop different signature marks that people will soon associate with your production style. Have fun and hope these tips will help your production game!