Music Theory—Arrangement 3 “Raising the Roof”

Your Home Studio

Copyright 2006




LGM Productions

Guitars at Musician's Friend

Please sign up for our

FREE newsletter

Hosted  by

Music Rising

















   Dynamics 101




     I had some thoughts about this being a song with lyrics but the more it develops, it seems to be presenting itself as a instrumental. Super Spook Keys has been tugging at my heartstrings, begging me to use it, so I gave in. It’s a different sort of instrument because small changes of the controls can produce big changes in tone and character. More on this later.


     As stated above, I changed the style of the song in BiAB to something that would have a piano as the lead instrument and then I changed the verse to have the pattern of a chorus and vice versa. The reason I did this is because the rhythm of the verse is kind of laid back while the chorus is very much in your face and I wanted the melody to be a bit of a foil against that.


     For the verse, I stripped away the bass notes of the piano part and then sculpted the melody so that there would be 4 notes per measure ( with a few grace notes thrown in for interest) and moved everything over by a half a beat so that the first note of the melody wouldn’t come on the down beat. It’s a 4 bar pattern that falls out during the turn-around at the end of each verse. Listen here to the 1st and second verse.


     One of the interesting quirks about Super Spook Keys is that if there is a rest before a note, the attack produces kind of a swell at the beginning of the note which, to me has a bit of a human quality to it. Another feature is that  if the glide (portamento) is set with a fairly high value, the plug-in wants to slide up or down to the next note and in the case of the turnaround, I didn’t want to hear anything but it kept sliding up looking for the next note. It took me a little time to figure it out but I’m happy with the way it’s set now so that it’s kind of staccato in places and legato in others.


     The chorus was composed in roughly the same manner as the verse. I think it complements the verse well with the way if flows from note to note. The first half the chorus is different than the second half because of the chord structure so it kind of builds towards the end and releases into the next verse. Listen to it by clicking here.


Next month—the solo and outtro




    In installment 2 of the series on arrangement, we fleshed out the musical arrangement by adding the guitars and another keyboard “pad” for the verse to sit on. Installment 3 involves adding the melody while introducing another tool I use quite a bit—Band in A Box by PG Music. I often use it to help generate some ideas but I almost never use the tracks it produces without altering them in some fashion to suit my tastes.


     Even though BiAB has a melody function, I went a bit of a different route to compose the melody for the verse and chorus by selecting a different style and re-arranging the structure of the song a bit to have a dense (note-wise) melody for the verse and a kind of sparser melody for the chorus.