How to Arrange Electronic Music
Do you ever find yourself staring at a blank sequencer?
Have you ever found yourself sitting on an 8 bar loop, not sure where to take it?
Even after trying seemingly everything, are your drops not hitting like you’d want them to?
The problem is clear — finishing a song is hard. Bringing a nugget of an idea, a sexy chorus or a sweet 8 bars to an entire three, maybe eight, minute journey is difficult.
But it doesn’t have to be.
In fact, I’d argue that writing an awesome 8 bars or chorus is the hardest part. Most producers I know trip themselves up trying to write the rest when most of the work is already done.
Most of the problem is your mindset — in your head, and that’s why it’s so hard to figure it out. It’s pretty illogical and when you realize the kind of roadblocks you place in front of yourself, you’ll find out how much of a breeze it is to write, arrange, and actually finish tracks when you remove them.
It took three years and hundreds of songs.
Three years it took me. Day after day, struggling, trying to make perfect songs. I spent countless nights slamming my head against the keyboard listening to the same 8 bars play over and over.
I’d copy the 8 bars over to the next 8, remove a few things or add a part. This never turned out great. I was left feeling like I did a poor job… always as if my arrangements could be better.
Even when I did finish a song, I was stressed and my mental energy was strained.
I wish I could say this changed overnight — as if some miracle words were able to bring me arrangement peace. But this wasn’t the case. What was the case, though, was that I started to shed some mental layers and try new workflow methods. I slowly began shifting perspectives on my tracks and starting looking at them in a new light.
Essentially, after a long time of more head-banging and nail-biting, I found myself producing with ease. My approach to writing and arranging shifted to a much happier and healthier one and it made working on music easier.
A lot easier.
I want to save you the hassle of figuring this stuff out on your own. I want to save you all the time it took me to discover a better mindset — a better solution to writing, producing, and arranging. I want to help you finish more songs and arrange with ease.
This book is called “Electronic Music Arrangement,” but it might as well be called “How to Actually Finish Tracks” because that’s what you will discover how to do when you read it.
- If you want to stop struggling with finishing songs — this book is for you.
- If you tend to “feel your way” through a track — this book is for you.
- If you get stuck often, unable to escape an 8-bar loop — this book is for you.
- If you find your music is missing an emotional edge — this book is for you.
- If you’ve never considered or focused on arrangement — this book is for you.
If you do understand arrangement, I think you’ll find the perspective in here refreshing and unlike what you’re familiar with.
I want to share these insights. I’m so excited to say — my Electronic Music Arrangement Course does this.
The most common piece of arrangement advice given is to bring a track of an artist you like into your production software and mimic the arrangement.
While this is a useful exercise, it doesn’t help you beyond a few attempts. This exercise shows you the what — and with proper examination, the how.
What it’s missing is the “why?” I hope to share that with you.
Here’s an idea of what you’ll find in the
Electronic Music Arrangement Course:
- The worst way to approach writing and arranging music. Doing this is like identity suicide.
- The most important characteristic you have that effects how you write and arrange music — and you would never guess what it is.
- A mindset that will have you arranging tracks with ease.
- When and how to move on to the next section in your song and how to know when your song should end.
- A look at the Trinity of musical arrangement and why focusing on anything else is a waste of time.
- Insight into how artists like Deadmau5, Kaskade, Skrillex, Justice, LMFAO, and others arrange their tracks.
- The most effective ways to shift, shape, and move energy so that your listeners loses themselves in your music.
- The number one most obvious mistake regarding energy, and how to remedy it.
- I give you the most critical way to make your drops hit harder than ever.
- How some non-technical and non-complex basics of music theory can empower your music with tons of emotion.
- The two most common forms of electronic music arrangement — and how you can use these as templates for song structure.
- What the secret sauce behind 90% of the most popular arrangement is. If it’s on the radio, it has this.
- The strongest ways to utilize sections like the Bridge, Breakdown, Chorus, and Verse.
20+ simple ways to shift energy within your tracks.
- The single most common automation mistake that all starting producers make.Trust me, this one is huge — I did it for three years before realizing it.
Sound good? Wait, there’s even more:
- How to avoid a dangerous yet subtle mistake when arranging in your sequencer.
- Why some dance music causes you to “lose yourself” in it and how you can do the same.
- Two practical ways to breath life into your melodies.
- Why the 6 musical Modes are so significant and how they influence the emotion of your song.
- Two seamless ways to apply music theory in a normal production workflow — without getting in the way.
- The reason you should not be focusing on keeping your listeners attention and why some genre mash ups just don’t work.
- Why second guessing your arrangement is harmful to writing amazing music.
- How you can use Volume and Bass to push and pull your listener like a professional.
- The right way to surprise your listener — with an awesome example.
- The ultimate method on how to stop worrying and start writing, arranging, and most importantly — finishing songs
Here’s what some readers have to say…
“What sets this course apart from any other tutorial I’ve found is that it approaches the music production process from within.
Youtube has hundreds if not thousands of EDM how-to instructional videos for crafting a lead synth or extra punchy drums, but more often than not they provide no context for how to construct music out of them.
“Electronic Music Arrangement” takes a much healthier approach to production and arrangement, by sharing with the reader how to think about music as a whole and not just as a sound design project. It places great emphasis on approaching music as a media for emotional conveyance, as well as creating a productive mindset for growth and improvement on the craft.”
– Galen Borson aka Arctures
“I liked your book a lot — it gave me many things to think about. The main afterthought is that it would pay off to be a bit more conscious about my arrangements and try different things. Too often I arrange on “autopilot”, just blindly going with what I’ve done before.
I’m very glad I took the time to read this book properly. It gave me many new ideas on how to unleash hidden potential in my arrangements.
It’s also very well written and easy to read. I especially like the plentiful and sharp use of metaphors. Good job!”
– Ilpo Kärkkäinen of Resoundsound.com
“Hey dude, I’m still going over the book and I’m really happy that I bought it! Its clearing a lot up and giving me more focus in my direction… and I’m only half way through it!
I had to send you a note to tell you how much I can relate to you. I used to concentrate so hard to be the next Louie Vega in the Soulful House scene. Recently, I gave up on that image and work much better and happier :).”
– Trevor Ricci
Is this book worth the investment? Yes, without a doubt. Why? It’s versatile, it contains some theoretical info and it goes into practical detail too.
I’m enjoying the book right now and I know I will get back to it when writing in the future. It’s definitely not a ‘read and forgot about it’ book.”
– Dirk Stouten
I really love the layout you took with the book. You lay down the basics of what exactly makes up the arrangement of popular song structures, and even show the alternative long form of doing it.
Then, you took each layout, part by part, and explained in great detail how it works. You even give song examples in many of the sections to help demonstrate your points, which is super helpful.
As someone who has always struggled with even the basics of arranging, this book has been wonderful. I’ve started thinking about how I utilize different sounds, and what all possibilities they have for being components for the songs I have in my head. Your usage of language is also very wonderful throughout, and it resonated well with me.
What I liked most about your book was how dense the information was. You were straight and to the point without sacrificing color in the language. The low page count and large fonts made me nervous, but it was most certainly not lacking in valuable information. You used no fluff, and I appreciate that. I dare say you take the same approach to word-smithing as you do music composition. I’ll certainly be looking out for whatever new stuff you’ll be publishing, as it speaks well to my level.
Thanks tons Zac!
– Steven Glenn
My guarantee to you
If you don’t find yourself arranging, writing, and finishing tracks better within 60 days of reading my book, I’ll refund the entire purchase. Simple and easy.
I’ve tried my best to write this book in a way to not influence your creative direction. This book is crafted to provide insight into arrangement but not to push you into any nook or cranny creatively.
I want you to simply be you.
So I’ll say it once more… if you don’t find any value in my book, I will refund 100% of your money.
I’m here to help you, and I’m confident my book will be a fantastic aide to your production journey.
Who Am I?
My name is Zachary Citron, or Zencha, and I man the ship at zenchamusic.com, which is a creative-process focused music production website.
Not only have I finished hundreds of songs — I’ve also attended Pyramind Training in San Francisco’s South of Market Area which left an enormous impact on my production skills and perspective.
My official releases include: “Shinshu In Bloom”, an Okami Remix album; “Ceremony of Leaves”, an independent moody electronic album of various genres and styles; “Tokyo Rails”, a short EP inspired by a trip to Japan; a release on Beatport through Breakshop Studios for the Church Williams remix EP, titled “Invisible Signs – Zencha Remix;” and finally, through Epiphyte Records, a TestPress release and award for my track “MicroFracture.”
By day, I’m a game designer working at independent game studio called Hammer & Chisel, making hardcore games for tablets. I also drink way too much tea and eat way too much sushi (gimme dat’ Saba). Oh, and I make music sometimes :).