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How We Create Arrangement Templates

Much like a synth, Song Sketch lets you create your own presets from scratch as well as access presets from a built-in library organised in different genres. We also offer collections of arrangement templates as add-ons in the shop.

This article describes our process for creating the core library and add-on templates.

Creating templates

When we create a collection of templates we want it to mirror arrangement trends in the genre, as well as presenting variations within the genre. The ambition is that the templates should provide a range of ideas, while remaining characteristic for the genre. The templates include information about song sections, as well as "parts" (layers of sounds). The parts represent the main elements of the song, such as kick drum, bass and melodic hooks.

The three main steps in our creation process are:

  1. We listen to a number of reference tracks within the genre
  2. We take notes of arrangement trends and variations within the genre
  3. Based on the trends and patterns that we see, we design the templates in a way that we think represents the genre and with the ambition to illustrate different ideas about variation within the genre.

Selecting reference material

To make a collection of 12 templates, we first listen to approximately 30-50 tracks that are randomly selected from charts within the genre.

Identifying trends and patterns

When listening to the reference tracks we take notes of things like song length, sections of the song (such as intros, breakdowns and "drops"), length of the sections and where in the song the sections typically appear. We also take notes of where in the song the beat is present, how it changes in intensity over time and where the hooks/thematic parts appear (such as melodies, lead instruments and any musical element that has the role of playing the main themes).

Boiling down to the essentials

To make the templates work well for different song ideas, they only include the main elements rather than representing every layer that you would find in a final production. Since the parts can later be assigned to any instrument or sound, we recommend that templates are seen as graphic models of how the energy moves along in the song. In that way, templates allows you to create your very own expression using your unique sounds.

Drafting your arrangement

Of course, there is more to arranging music than just where each musical part plays. The drafts that you create by using templates in Song Sketch typically give you starting points that you can then continue to work from in the same way that you would normally do when arranging your songs. For example, layering sounds, creating variation throughout the track, adding automation and working with the arrangement at a more detailed level.

Hopefully, using Song Sketch templates can spark ideas and inspiration for what you could do with your song idea!