There’s one step in the recording process that is more important than any other in making sure that the final product is awesome and uses the human voice most efficiently to create an awesome final product. THE ARRANGEMENT.
I’ve heard both pro and amateur arrangements that were amazing!
I’ve also heard many bad arrangements as well…
What do the great arrangements have in common?
They are singable. For all voice parts. They can be sung easily. They make sense vocally. New arrangers often get stuck in transcription mode. Transcribing is great for learning and developing your ear. Once you know what’s happening in a song, stop and try to sing what you just wrote. If you can’t get it in 2 or 3 tries, try changing the syllables or simplifying the rhythm. You might even have to rewrite the phrase to make it fit in the singable range of the singer. The voice has problem areas like other instruments (breaks, extremes) and might have trouble doing everything you write.
They use the voice as an instrument effectively to create essential elements in the song and help move the song forward. Motion and direction of energy is very important in a song. Energy flow is often what gives you goosebumps or makes you cry. Good arrangements harness this energy.
When recorded, they need very few modifications and they frequently mix themselves requiring very little help from the mixing engineer. Great arrangements create natural balance between elements as they support the direction of the song.
I’ll share more about arrangements in the future, but for right now, as you begin to think about arrangements for next year, consider contacting a professional a cappella arranger and buying a couple of arrangements or having them edit a couple of your arrangements so that you can see the difference between what they do and what you do.
Here are a few arrangers I work with regularly who exemplify the things I shared above.
Tom Anderson – http://www.random-notes.com/
Ben Bram – http://www.thebenbram.com/
Robert Dietz – http://www.human-feedback.com/
Nick Girard – http://www.nickgirard.com/
Erik Bosio – http://www.ebosio.com/
Clare Wheeler – https://www.facebook.com/Clare-Wheeler-428253824014901/?fref=ts
Ed Boyer – http://edboyeracappella.com/
Christopher Diaz – http://www.heychristopher.com/