When you start building and arranging your own song, you may struggle with the song structure: how long the intro should be, where should I put the breakdown and how to know what happens and when. Well, here’s one solution to this problem: take your favourite song in the same genre you’re making music in and use the song structure like a reference material to follow what should happen and where. I don’t mean copying the melodies or other song ideas or anything like that, but I’m talking about using an example song to check what kind is the song structure. When doing this, it gives you an idea where to head with your song arrangement in structure wise and when you start working with it, you may come up with some cool own arrangement ideas as well.
This tutorial will show you how to do this in FL Studio.
First you need to import the reference-song (MP3 or WAV) to FL Studio Playlist. It’s easy, just drag the song file (from explorer view, desktop or wherever) to the Playlist view.
Next you need to prepare the reference-song. Cut off the silence from the start of the song. Use the tools in FL Studio Playlist to do this.
Now, find the tempo of the reference-song and sync it with the bars in the playlist. 1 bar = 4 beats, so if the reference-song is anykind of four-to-the-floor -style dance music, you should tweak the tempo in a so that there’s 4 beats between one bar. In other words, if the first kick starts at bar 9, there’s four kicks after that and fifth kick matches with the bar 10 and so on.. This is important because otherwise the reference-song won’t stay in sync with the playlist bars and you can’t see exactly where the structure changes are happening in the song.
Assign the song to an empty mixer track (double click the song file to bring up the Channel Settings -box to do the assigning) for easier volume control. You can also quickly mute the track by clicking that green little dot before the song in the playlist track.
Now when everything’s set, follow the reference-song structure as you build your own song.
That’s it. And remember, I’m not encouraging to copy other producers musical ideas or anything like that. The idea of this method is to learn by example. See and hear how pro’s are doing it, learn and apply. 🙂