What is Music Arrangment

by Ryan Murphy

Posted on Tuesday 12th of July 2011

Have you ever wondered what music arrangement was? It’s one of, of not the, most important aspects of music. Arrangement is no more, or less, than the blueprint of the song. No matter the style, no matter the length, it is the plan of the song.

The basics of song arrangement breaks down into a few parts, I will explain each one to you.
First is the intro. The start of the song. The purpose of the intro is to give the listener an idea of what the song is like.

Second is the hook. While it can be the intro to the song, it doesn’t have to be. This is the part of the song that get’s stuck in people’s heads. Another one bites the dust by Queen, and Money by Pink Floyd are prime examples of the hook.

Dun.Dun.Duh.dun - duh - dun - duh - di -duh, and
Dun.dun - ti - duh.dun.dun.dun.duh.dunt
Those bass lines are two of the best hooks ever.

Third is the verse. Most songs with vocals have at least one verse, however there are no rules that must be obeyed. The verse is where most of the singing takes place. The story is told, the message is conveyed.

Fourth is the Chorus. Now the chorus is the part of the song that gets repeated after each verse, but not all songs have a chorus. In the case of another bites the dust, that is the chorus. Money doesn’t have one at all. Pop music has a greater emphasis on the chorus because that tends to be the part people latch onto, and learn. It’s the part that the most people sing along to.

Fifth is the Bridge. The bridges are the parts of a song that separate other parts of the song. Often it is a repeat of the intro, and/or hook, or a variation on it.

Sixth is the solo. More important to rock style than others, this is where the lead instrument is allowed to shine. Often using a longer, more complex variation on the intro and hook.

Seventh is the breakdown. This is where you set the listener up for the big finish. There are many, many ways to do it. I suggest listening to some of your fav songs, and paying close attention to how they work the music leading into the song’s big finish.

Eighth is the big finish mentioned above. Where you “take it home” or “bring down the house”. Often this is the last big repeat of the chorus. It can be a big solo, or instrumental bit, or just about anything.
Lastly is the fade out. The actual end of the song. It could be the chorus repeated over and over, or a part of it. A strong lyric from the song repeated till it fades out. An instrumental piece, and often is just the hook playing till it fades.

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