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Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

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Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:56 am

Any thoughts on this arrangement would be appreciated:

http://www.kompoz.com/compose-collaborate/home.project?projectId=35307

I am relatively happy with the first half of the song, but feel it needs something more to maintain interest. Maybe its a symptom of a weak song/arrangement ?

It seems to me there are many commercial songs out there that plod along without having the need to keep adding things, for example I have been listening to "Tempest" Dylans new album and the title track is fifteen minutes long, at no point do I feel it gets boring, yet there is very little variation through the track ?

I think as an amateur, its an easy trap to fall into thinking that adding things will maintain interest, so what other things should I be looking to do to keep interest there ?
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby BJG145 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:48 am

Scouser wrote:I think as an amateur, its an easy trap to fall into thinking that adding things will maintain interest, so what other things should I be looking to do to keep interest there ?

In general, variation, and passion.

Eg at 1.20, you could add interest by introducing another element like a string bed or vocal harmony, change the guitar pick, or inject more feeling into the delivery. The tone and pitching in the vocal is great but I'd like to hear you let go a bit. Dylan can be brilliantly expressive.
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Dynamic Mike » Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:27 am

I think the arrangement is fine, but I'd have to suggest the vocal (or maybe the lyric) appears devoid of any kind of sincerity. I think sometimes we get so hung up on pitch & timing, we neglect to think about the lyrics themselves whilst performing. I think in this genre emotion is critical, and people pick up on this pretty quickly & lose interest in the outcome if it isn't there. I've realised with the lanes comping feature in cubase 6, often the better I sound, the worse it is!

I really rated 'turn my world around' when you posted that (and still do). Not much going on in that but it's heartfelt & totally engaging. In fact I played it three times on the run, whilst typing this response.
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And of course there must be something wrong. In wanting to silence any song.


Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Gone To Lunch » Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:33 pm

I really enjoyed the song and thought it well written, sung and played.

BUT, just my 2p worth...

You could do more with the drums, which are a bit 'samey' all the way through...

Things like subtle variations between verse and chorus, typically if having a full back-beat on the chorus, use a side-stick on the verse etc, or gentle hi-hats for verse and then ride for chorus etc etc.

Some of the power of the chorus is lost because it does not vary dynamically that much from the verse, but rather than overload the chorus, strip down verse.

To get the advantage of going big for a chorus, you need to have a smaller verse in front of it !
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:04 pm

Hey thanks so much guys for taking the time to listen and post

I think the arrangement is fine, but I'd have to suggest the vocal (or maybe the lyric) appears devoid of any kind of sincerity.

Thats a fair point, my own feeling is that the verses are sounding ok, vocally speaking, but the chorus comes and your right, it lacks expression, makes me want to go to sleep. I did wonder whether it even needs a chorus...

You could do more with the drums, which are a bit 'samey' all the way through..


Very true, without sounding like im making excuses, I am somewhat limited by the parts I get as its a collaboration, so it's my only means of getting live drums, its either that or my own programmed drums, which are not very good..

The song is still evolving as im still working on it, but the chorus is problematic, as I don't have the range to lift it an octave higher vocally, which would probably help it no end..
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby The Elf » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:25 pm

Has it been taken down? I went to listen and couldn't see any audio file to play on the link you gave.
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Phil O » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:27 pm

Click the 'tracks' tab Elf.
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:28 pm

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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Dynamic Mike » Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:35 pm

Don't lose the chorus! The arrangement is great & the pedal steel is gorgeous. What about some backing vocals to lift it? Just something subtle to underpin it a bit & differentiate it from the verse. But please not cliched girlie stuff though, it's way too good for that!
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And of course there must be something wrong. In wanting to silence any song.


Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Sat Nov 03, 2012 4:37 pm

I think as an amateur, its an easy trap to fall into thinking that adding things will maintain interest


And thats what i've done Have updated track here :

http://www.kompoz.com/compose-collaborate/home.track.project?_refresher=0.1439256&trackId=225998&projectId=35307#

Hopefully it helps a little ?
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Gone To Lunch » Sat Nov 03, 2012 5:59 pm

Actually, when I said 'you could do more with the drums' I should really have said less....

What I meant was, vary them, not add parts or layers, and one often effective variation is to REDUCE for the verse etc...

(Pardon me if I'm telling you what you already know...)
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:42 pm

Actually, when I said 'you could do more with the drums' I should really have said less....


Was thinking the same actually maybe I could edit the drum tracks I have in some way, reduce it a little here and there ? Nothing lost in trying....
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby oggyb » Sun Nov 04, 2012 12:45 am

Guys all said good stuff above. One thing jumped out at me and I need to say it.
Third verse... drop everything but the guitar and build back up from there. The little break from 1'46 is so lovely at that moment, and from "started out all over" you could even do that line a cappella then bring a similar guitar line back in from line 2, then kicks, then bass, then hats, then fill to chorus +octave and harmonies.

An auxiliary comment: complete the "fix" by singing the first 2 lines of the first verse over side-stick instead of full snare hits.

Then the arrangement would be perfect to my ears ^__^
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby The Elf » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:52 am

Only just come back to this. Thanks to Phil O for helping me out with the link.

Another really nice song, Scouser. The others here have given much of the guidance I might have supplied. The drums are a bit heavy in the verses - drop the snare back to a rim and it should start to give the arrangement some shape. Also try dropping the drums as a lead-in to the last chorus.

I have a thing about 'roomy' drums, and I find that snare distracting. I'd want something much drier and brighter, but that's just my own taste.

I was on the Isle of Wight two weeks back (stayed at that amazing hotel with Ric and Maggie!). If I had had the presence of mind I really should have stopped in to say hi!
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:17 pm

Thanks so much for everyones input, keep em coming as I will be working on the song over the next couple of weeks and will certainly be trying some of your ideas

I was on the Isle of Wight two weeks back (stayed at that amazing hotel with Ric and Maggie!). If I had had the presence of mind I really should have stopped in to say hi!

Anytime Elf, if you are ever in my neck of the woods again, your more than welcome to drop by..
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:59 pm

drop the snare back to a rim and it should start to give the arrangement some shape


This is one of the things I wanted to try out, putting a rim sample in is no problem, I can also hear how this would work quite nicely.

The problem I have is that all the drum tracks have snare bleed on them, especially the overhead and hi hat tracks. So it's not just a case of muting the snare on each track as this results in poor sound with the hats sounding out of time. Whats the best way to deal with this ?

Any ideas ?
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby The Elf » Wed Nov 07, 2012 10:44 pm

You could try ducking the drum buss from a programmed, or triggered, rim sample. A little suitable ambience on the rim sound will help to hide the join. A few dB of ducking may be all that's required to get something fairly benign and transparent.
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:57 pm

Thanks for that Elf, I think I can understand the concept, however I haven't ever used ducking, so it looks like im going to need to learn how to use it.

I'm guessing that I need my rim sample in place and then insert a ducker on the drum bus, which will be triggered by the rim sample ?
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby oggyb » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:18 pm

Correct, you'll trigger the compressor on the drums buss using the sidechain.
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Thu Nov 08, 2012 5:55 pm

Thanks oggy, much appreciated, im much clearer now
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:27 pm

I guess I must be doing something wrong as im not getting very desirable results ?

Not sure how much the snare sound can be reduced by these means ?

Just to recap I have inserted compressor on tracks I want to effect ( Drum Group ) activated side chain, selected rimshot and activated side chain in send to 100%

Then played around with the usual suspects - Threshold - Ratio - Attack and Release

Threshold is having the biggest effect, but even when I pull it right down the snare is still there, is that normal ? As I am trying to replace the snare with a soft rimshot the snare cant afford to be heard ?

Release seems also to be having and effect, but ratio and attack don't seem to be doing much.

It might be worth mentioning that the drum group that i am trying to effect has 4 tracks BD & Hats are mono and Toms & OH are stereo..

Any ideas..
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Madman_Greg » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:47 pm



you might find some here for your specific DAW

google search SOS side chain compressor
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:12 pm

Before I tried the ducking I watched a couple of you tube vids and read the sos article here

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb08/a ... h_0208.htm

All I can think is maybe because all files are not the same, ie some mono, some stereo ?

The above article mentioned side chain filtering, maybe thats a possibilty (not sure how to go about that)

Or maybe im doing something wrong..

Also meant to ask, how transparent can ducking in this situation be ? So I know what to aim for..
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Madman_Greg » Thu Nov 08, 2012 10:39 pm



This vid uses filtering as an example

http://en.wikiaudio.org/Logic:_Side_chain_compression_(ducki...

and you might find this worth a watch as well

http://www.waves.com/content.aspx?id=11305
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby The Elf » Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:40 pm

Don't overthink the ducking. It might work - it might not.

Just let the rim duck the whole stereo drum buss (assuming you've grouped your drums!) by 3-6dB and see if you can get something that sounds fairly natural. If you can, trigger the rim from the snare itself so you get tight timing. Add a bit of ambience to the rim so it sustains as long as the snare.

All you're trying to do is mask the snare with the rim - making the ear hear it over and above the snare. You won't get a perfect replacement, but with any luck you should be able to get something relatively convincing. I've done this a number of times, particularly with jazz and country mixes and it can work really well.
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:01 pm

In that case it's not working..

Played about for hours, not a desirable result.. So I guess im stuck with what I have unless there is another way of doing it ?
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Madman_Greg » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:11 pm



you can duck the whole snare using the rim shot as a trigger

and / or filter certain snare freqs out using the rim shot as the trigger

have you had a go at both approaches ?
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:15 pm

Yep, have tried...

Just seeing what EQ can do ..
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby oggyb » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:31 pm

EQ will just make it sound like a weedy version of the snare.
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Re: Does my arrangement maintain interest ?

Postby Scouser » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:12 pm

Well I would be interested to know what peoples thoughts here are, before I write it off..

This is my effort with ducking:

http://www.kompoz.com/compose-collaborate/home.track.project?trackId=227133&projectId=35307

Can still hear snare, but I think im expecting too much? I don't think the ducking is too bad ? it's just that the rimshot doesn't seem to belong to the kit ? Have added some ambient reverb, but still lacking.

Original is here for comparing:

http://www.kompoz.com/compose-collaborate/home.track.project?trackId=225998&projectId=35307

Thoughts please..
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