The Easy Way To Structure a Song

As music producers, arrangement can be tricky. It’s really hard to figure out where each section of our song should go, in which order, and how long they should be.

Should you start with the hook, to immediately grab the listener’s attention? Or should you start slow and introduce things gradually, to create a story and a sense of ‘journey’? There’s too many options!

Fortunately, there is a very easy way to determine how you should structure your track, and you don’t have to be a musical genius to do it. This method makes arrangement ridiculously easy.

Song Structure Made Simple

The easiest way to structure a song is to copy another song’s structure and apply it to your own song. This literally means analysing a different track, determining where each section is, and then going back to your own track and placing each section in the same order.

This is the simplest way to arrange a song. It eliminates all the problems and questions of arranging in other ways. It’s what every great songwriter and producer does.

As a producer, your life is a LOT easier when doing this, because now you don’t have to do everything yourself. Somebody else has done the hard work for you – you just have to follow in their footsteps!

But Wait – Isn’t This ‘Stealing’?

This may sound like stealing. And in a sense, it is. You’re taking another person’s structure and using it yourself. But it’s not ‘stealing’ in the sense of ‘committing theft of another person’s property’.

Song structures aren’t copyrighted. Nobody can declare that they ‘own’ the structure of ‘intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-outro’. If they could, music would have been dead a long time ago. Besides, there’s a lot more to a ‘song’ than just the structure alone.

You have nothing to worry about morally when it comes to taking another song’s structure, and using it as your song’s structure. It is completely ethical and legal. You’re not taking anything away that belongs to anyone.

So please, don’t trouble yourself. Don’t put strain on your conscience. It is morally okay to copy song structure.

This is So Unoriginal!

You might think that copying another song’s structure will make your track an unoriginal rip-off. How is your song different to theirs if you’re literally just copying and pasting?

The truth is, structure is only one part of a song. There are almost endless combinations of different parts that make up an entire track. Some of these elements include sample selection, sound design, mixing, lyrics, vocal style, etc.

Since song structure isn’t copyrighted, it makes sense for us to take it from another song and use it for ourselves.

Your music won’t be unoriginal by doing this. I can guarantee, the vast majority of songs you’ve ever heard have very similar, if not the exact same, structure and arrangement. And yet, who would dare to say that every song they’ve ever heard, sounds the exact same?

There are a wide variety of ways to make your song original and unique. Structure and arrangement is the one place you shouldn’t be worrying about ‘originality’.

Which Song’s Structure Should I Copy?

Considering there’s an endless amount of music in the world, you might be paralysed by choice. There’s so many structures. Which one should I choose?

My advice would be this: pick a song you love, in the style/genre of music that you want to make, and copy that song’s arrangement.

Choosing a song you love ensures that you actually like the arrangement, and you won’t want to change your mind later on.

Making sure the reference track is in the same style/genre that you want to make ensures that the arrangement fits well for your song. You know that it already works in this style, so you should have no problems using it.

This doesn’t have to be overcomplicated. In fact, it’s very simple. If this doesn’t work the first time, or you don’t like the results, just pick another reference song and do it again. You will find a good arrangement for your track if you keep trying.

How Do I Analyse The Reference Track’s Structure?

It’s all well and good telling you to analyse song structure, but how exactly should you do it?

Here’s what you should do, in order:

  1. Find the song on YouTube.
  2. Download the song to an mp3 file (using a YouTube to mp3 converter OR download using YouTube Premium and convert that file into an mp3).
  3. Place the mp3 file into your DAW of choice.
  4. Match the tempo of the reference track to the tempo of your DAW project (for example, if your project is at 125bpm, make the tempo of the reference track to 125bpm. If you don’t know how to do this, search online for a tutorial in your DAW).
  5. Line up the reference track to the grid in your project, so that it’s not ‘off-beat’.
  6. Play through the reference track, and place a ‘marker’ in your DAW each time a new section begins. For example, where the first verse begins, place a marker that says ‘first verse’, and repeat this process for each different section. You can name these markers whatever you like, as long as you know what they mean(if you don’t know how to place markers in your DAW, search online for a tutorial).

When you have completed these steps, you should have a full arrangement mapped out in your DAW project. Now you can delete the reference track, as you don’t need it anymore. The hard part is done!

As you begin arranging your own original track, you can follow the markers, using them as ‘guidelines’ for your structure!

As you can see, it’s a lot easier doing arrangement when you have guidelines telling you where each section should go, rather than trying to do it all in your head from scratch.

Similar Posts