Music Production: The 6 Steps – Part 2
You may be happy with the verse and feel that you’ve hit on a really catchy chorus. However, there needs to be more some sort of buildup. If, for example, verse 1 has just vocal and guitar, verse 2 may add the drums and bass, and vocal harmonies and the synths may be introduced in the first chorus.
Simply because an instrument has been introduced, however, it doesn’t mean that it has to be heard throughout the entire song. You may only want it playing in the pre-chorus, or you’ll introduce it part way through the final chorus. There are endless possibilities. Just ensure that you keep things flowing. You’ll also need to decide on the number of sections you want in your song. Judge it by how you feel. You can typically sense when a particular section has reached its limits or if something needs changing in order to maintain interest.
This is where the equipment comes into play. As the process of recording can refer to a number of things, we’ll stick to referring to this stage as ‘tracking’, with the aim being to capture the song’s performance. A song is merely a number of musical thoughts grouped together. So it needs to be made tangible, and that where recording comes into play. While a live performance of a song communicates it to the audience, it’s gone once the performance is over. There needs to be something that makes it tangible. It’s the process of recording that makes a song able to be heard on demand. While live performances can be recorded and uploaded, due to the nature of live shows, it isn’t the performance that was originally intended. Tracking simply means recording the instruments that are played when the song is being performed. Typically, songs are recorded one track at a time. So, when you record a track, you can hear those you’ve already recorded. This is known as multi-track recording.
The possibilities that digital editing provide have meant that producing a high-quality performance is easier than it’s ever been. However, it’s wise not to make this technology your first port of call but rather a fallback. And with regards to editing in general, you need to ensure that it’s left until after the song is finished for multiple reasons. Firstly, it isn’t advisable to edit while writing, or even recording. You’ll get a better-produced piece of work if you give each stage your full attention to ensure that you don’t lose momentum. Secondly, if you do too much editing, you will give your song that ‘chopped up; sound and it will be completely void of any emotion. If you regard editing as a secondary action, however, you’ll put more into the performance, as opposed to spending far longer trying to edit on the fly.
When it comes to editing, take a minimal approach. If you like how it sounds, leave it well alone. In this stage, if you can, stick to moving parts around that are out of time, adjust pitches that need adjusting, and put some polish on tracks by finding the beginnings and endings of each part to make it smoother.