Cut or keep? Always a difficult question

Today I’ve been asked how I work when I arrange a song…

One thing is for sure: for me, it’s a rather long process of refined iterations. I can have many ideas that won’t make the final cut, for a number of reasons. I will often throw a lot of things into a mix then live with it (meaning listen to it intently) for a while and see what sticks… In this extract for example, I had this idea of a building intro with some cool arpeggio and vocal harmonies that I decided to remove in the end, in favor of a simple fade in and shorter intro. 

I liked the idea for a moment, and the harmonies could have sounded good (although here in this version they are a bit flaky), but the intro was starting to get too long and I thought that it was best to get to the meat of the vocal sooner.
At one point I toyed with the idea of making this a bridge, but somehow this was too much of a down point and again I decided against.

It’s always a balancing act… I come from a time where songs of 20+ minutes were not exceptional, and I don’t mind that at all, but you still have to keep the listener’s interest and sometimes cutting things is the way towards that.

Nowadays I tend to favor shorter music and more to the point, and try to make simpler music, by removing things more often than not. Which actually is pretty hard to do, because you get attached to some parts and you have to take a step back and realize what really works and what is just fluff that is not really needed. If something doesn’t make a song better, it better go.

In the end, the final version clocks at around 5 minutes, but I think it works and manages to keep the listener’s attention throughout.
You’ll be the judge:

2 comments

  • Gilly

    Gilly Montreal

    "you get attached to some parts and you have to take a step back and realize what really works and what is just fluff that is not really needed. If something doesn’t make a song better, it better go" - that's the creative process all right. Sounds just like my writing. ;-)

    "you get attached to some parts and you have to take a step back and realize what really works and what is just fluff that is not really needed. If something doesn’t make a song better, it better go" - that's the creative process all right. Sounds just like my writing. ;-)

  • Ghostly Beard

    Ghostly Beard

    Indeed it is! I believe any creative process goes through these phases of refining and cutting the lesser parts to make the better parts stand out! Thanks for your comment Gilly! :)

    Indeed it is! I believe any creative process goes through these phases of refining and cutting the lesser parts to make the better parts stand out! Thanks for your comment Gilly! smile

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