How to Arrange a Full Track From a 8-Bars Loop - Keep It Sample

Have you ever created a fantastic 8-bars loop, but then you end up listening to it over and over and then trashing it?

If the answer is yes, don’t worry, you are not alone! 😁

Being able to arrange a full track is one of the biggest problems that affect almost all producers.

For this reason, I’ve decided to collect 7 tips that I use when I’m producing to transform a good loop into a song.

Let’s get started!

ANALYZE OTHER TRACKS

This tip is one of the most effective, especially if you are a beginner.

You’ve to import in your DAW a track from the same genre you’re producing and analyze its structure.

Try to identify the various parts that make it up and organize your loop in the same way.

In Ableton, I use markers to divide the track into the various sections (intro, build-up, drop, etc.).
How to Arrange a Full Track - Song Structure in Ableton Live 10
You can also “cut” the song into pieces and distribute them in different audio channels.
How to Arrange a Full Track - Song Structure in Ableton Live
Once you have the structure, you can delete the reference track and make some variations.

SET A DEADLINE

When you’re working on a project, to be as productive as possible, set a deadline.

This way, you learn to reduce distractions and make the most out of your time.

This tip is very useful, especially if due to work, school, or something else, you only have a few hours a day to produce.

DON'T MIX YOUR SONG TOO SOON

I must admit that this tip is the one I find most challenging to put into practice. 😆

The temptation to get lost in mixing your tracks during the arrangement phase is very high.

But, it is very counterproductive, as there is a risk of wasting time and energy.

First, focus on the creative part; once you’ll have the song structure, you’ll work at the mix.

LEARN HOW TO USE THE NOTEPAD

I discovered this tip not long ago by reading some articles online.

This one is very useful when you have a draft of the structure of the track.

Listen to it without pausing and write down all the changes you want to make on a notepad.

Once you have finished listening, make all the corrections.

Then wait a day and repeat the same procedure with “fresh ears.”

If you like the result, then you can proceed with the mix.

CREATE A FOLDER WITH YOUR SAMPLES

Create Your Own Samples Folder
By creating your library of samples, your workflow is faster, and you waste less time writing the song.

You can also search and exploit old loops that you have already created but have never used.

LISTEN LESS

It may seem like a trivial advice, but it is one of the most challenging tips to apply.

If you’ve created a loop, and after a couple of plays, you like it, stop listening to it, and arrange it in a full song.

This way, you avoid saturating your ears and making the loop sounding too “familiar.”

By listening to it too often, you risk making unnecessary changes that can mess it up.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Don’t keep adding sounds to your “core loop” because you think it is too empty.

Sometimes it is better to have few but good sounds.

The important thing is to be able to give them the right space within the song.

Remember, it’s better to spend 10 minutes more searching for a great sample than spending 1 hour trying to fix a bad sample.

I hope these tips can help you recover and finish some old projects! 😉

📥 If you have any questions feel free to contact me at lorenzo@keep-it-sample.com.

Production tips