Tips on Vocal Arrangement
The Group 3b4
What's up everybody? If you are a singer and are currently in the process of recording music in a studio, then you're in the right place. This blog is all about vocal arrangement on a musical track. First, let me give you a little background on what I do before I get into the subject. I'm a singer, songwriter, producer, vocal and musical arranger. I sing in group with my siblings and we write and produce our own music in our very own studio. We've been singing for years and have two albums as a result. We are currently working on the our third album and are in the process of arranging our songs. So, with that in mind, I dedided to share some of the acquired knowledge I have on vocal arrangement with you. Let's get to it!
To begin with, you have to have a song preferably with a strong melody. The kind of melody that you would find in songs performed by groups. I say this because with strong melody, it is a lot easier to arrange voices in terms of harmony. Harmony is very important in groups. Now, if you have a track that doesn't really have melody (like a rap song), you can still arrange harmony but it won't be as easy if you are not experienced in this. Vocal arrangement is simply arranging voices on a musical track. Since I'm coming from a group background, harmony is key when I'm arranging a song.
Now that you have track, take some time to listen to the music over and over again until you've become familiar with the way the instruments sound. Often times, I get my inspirations from the way the piano plays or the guitar strums in a song. Try to mimic the way an instrument sounds with your voice. This imitation could very well be the basis of an arrangement. Afterwards, harmonize with yourself, doing the same exact thing with your voice only in a higher or lower key. If you are not sure how to harmonize, all you have to do is listen carefully to the chords in the song and sing a long with them. There is always a high, middle, and low key all of which form a chord when played unanimously. When I'm arranging a song, I put background voices in areas that need enhancement. The chorus is probably the main part of any song that needs to be lifted with additional arrangement. Generally, I'd listen to the words and the melody of the chorus and see what I can create for the background vocals. I might use one or two words since it's the background and not the lead.
The thing I like most about vocal arrangement is the freedom of creativity that comes with it. You can do whatever you want. You can add two part, three part, or even four part harmony. Words can be added or simple sounds like ooh and ahh can make a song artistic. The bottom line is to play around with sounds until you find something that clicks. Sometimes the creation process comes easily, and other times you have to dig deep for it. Just use your artistic intuition and you will be ok. I hope you got valuable information out of this. There's so much more to vocal arrangement, but I won't go into all of it in this blog. A lot of the info here comes from experience in the studio, so if you have any questions or concerns or if you feel I didn't go over something that you need help with, feel free to leave me a comment and I'll get back to you... Thanks for reading!