TRANSFORM YOUR LOOP INTO AN INTRO SECTION
So you have a nice 16 or 32 bar loop. Moreover, you’ve got a nice mix of instruments blended together. You’ve even got some automation written in and a little processing done. In essence, what sits in front of you is an aesthetic, self-contained whole. Nevertheless, this is not yet a song. If you have the time to arrange a full progressive piece then by all means, do so. However, this article is for help with making related sections and transitions quickly. Often times, you need to get the track done and there is simply not enough time to craft each section from scratch. I arranged some synths over a loop from the SoundBridge Sample Pack. Maybe yours looks something like mine…
IF YOU NEED AN INTRO LIKE THIS…
1) Firstly, Take your loop and divide it in half. Select the first half of it and drag it neatly before the entire loop so you have a sequence of half the original duration leading up to it. Then, duplicate the selection. It should look something like this.
2) After that, delete any instruments you don’t want to work within the intro, perhaps the harmonic layers and melody.
3) Try transposing the phrases up or down an octave or two. I transposed my intro bass an octave up using the note box in the MIDI editor.
4) Additionally, render anything you plan to edit in the intro to audio stems. This way you can process these related phrases to make variation without having to process the entire track or automate the effect.
5) Then, try pitch shifting the audio from the audio edit window up or down to a diatonic pitch. Perhaps an octave below (12 semitones), or a fourth below (5 semitones). What is more, you may need to drop the gain a little due to the harshness and natural sensitivity to higher pitched sounds, especially in sounds that aren’t as tonal, like drums.
6) Now, try fading-in the rendered variations. However, If you want a more explosive intro, it may be better to jump to full level right away or have some louder sound effect at the very start of the song like this.
7) Next, try processing the rendered variations. For this purpose, I used a high-pass filter on my intro bass to keep the low frequencies a surprise.
8) Finally, I processed the introductory beat with a bit crusher and a high-pass filter and automated the cutoff of that filter.
In the next arrangement related post, I’ll dive into how I arranged another section of this song, a chorus. It sounds like this.