Learn Song Structure From Your Favourite Song

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Learn Song Structure From Your Favourite Song

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.

Drag The Song To The Playlist

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.

Prepare The Song

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.

Find The Tempo

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.

Assign The Song To A Mixer Track For Volume Control

Now when everything’s set, follow the reference-song structure as you build your own song.

Start Building Your 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. 🙂

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About Author

Petri Suhonen is an electronic music hobbyist. He has been producing music with computers over a decade on such styles as trance, downtempo, ambient & experimental electronic using FL Studio.

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14 Comments on "Learn Song Structure From Your Favourite Song"

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Jon W
Jon W
5 years 6 months ago

Man this is a great idea! I’ve been listening to songs to try and hear the structure but never even thought of this!!! It would help so much just to see the the wave format or whatever its called 😀

Are you a music teacher…? lol. If not you should be!!!! and if so then come to America 😀

Leon
Leon
5 years 26 days ago

Good way to match the tempo is to use the “tap” fuction by right clicking on the BPM meter.
Tap with the beat on the original song and whoila.

I’m using FL for a year now and I know how to create a good structure song, but still learning from your tutorials, keep up the good work 😉

Systematic Mechanic
4 years 8 months ago
Here is one of Rammstein’s more popular songs Feuer Frei. You’ll notice that in many of their songs they do what I call recycle riffing. They use about 2 -4 rhythms and add and subtract sounds from them. The Build Up music at the beginning is the same as the music for the vocals. It also has a really interesting 2 bar Chorus / 1 bar Hook then a 3 bar Chorus / 1 bar Hook. There is also a 6 bar Break that leads to a 2 bar Build Up that leads to the Chorus. Hope I got all… Read more »
Sam
Sam
3 years 11 months ago

ya thankx u rock !!!!!!!

Adrien
Adrien
3 years 9 months ago

Good idea, thank you !

OH well
OH well
3 years 6 months ago

For some reason dragging and dropping the files (ogg, mp3 and even wav) into the Playlist view just doesn’t work… I’m probably just forgetting about something really stupid.

OH well
OH well
3 years 6 months ago

Turns out it was something stupid. It won’t load vorbis files or V0 mp3. No idea why wav didn’t work though.

Carlos
Carlos
3 years 4 months ago

Nice bro!

Alper
Alper
3 years 1 month ago

Here is nice tool from Mixmeister free BPM Analyzer:

http://www.mixmeister.com/download-bpmanalyzer.php

DJ Soul
DJ Soul
2 years 8 months ago

This was a clever idea – thanks!

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