Lesson 22: Finishing Tracks

Finishing the arrangement of tracks in a song can be challenging and time-consuming. While coming up with beat loops and basslines in Ableton’s Session View can be enjoyable, these components alone do not make a complete song that listeners can follow. A song requires structure and a musical journey to be engaging for audiences. This means producers must assemble the various loops, samples, and instrumental parts into an ordered composition with a beginning, middle, and end.

The arrangement process involves determining the placement of parts, adding transitions, varying rhythms and tones, and including dynamic changes to create a cohesive listening experience. When composing a song, there are several key aspects to pay attention to when wrapping up the writing and production process. The overall flow and structure of the song is critical to get right, as the listener experience hinges on a cohesive progression of musical ideas.

Smooth transitions between sections are also important to create a seamless listening experience. From a production perspective, elements like beats, bass, and melody must be properly balanced and mixed. While a song may never feel 100% complete, at some point the artist must determine that the key parts are in place and it is time to release their creation for others to experience.

Your assignment for this course is to work towards finishing the arrangement. Pay close attention to transitions between sections. For vocals, clip volume changes tend to work better than automation. Try out new effects and apply resampling techniques learned previously. Saving your work often is important in case any mistakes are made or if you want to revert to a previous version.