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Thread started 09/28/09 10:02pm

Sandino

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what's the difference between composing and arranging?

I've never gotten a satisfying answer, sort of like what's the difference between producer and composer. I always thought composer was the person who dealt with chordal/harmonic movement stuff while the arranger determined what instruments go where for each chords. Am I right?

Also who do you think was a better composer? Stevie Wonder or Brian Wilson(At their best) Arranger?
[Edited 9/28/09 22:02pm]
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Reply #1 posted 09/28/09 10:18pm

blackguitarist
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Composing is writing the lyrics, melody and music to a song. Arranging is placing the sections of the song together and deciding which order the sections should go., i.e. Intro Chorus, verse, pre-chorus, chorus (hook), second verse, pre-chorus, etc. Arranging also falls under what and where certain instrumentation takes place during the course of a song i.e. solos and what section of the song a solo takes place, etc. In most cases, as in mine, the composer and arranger and producer is one in the same. Production often times falls under "arranging" but a song can already be arranged before it's produced.
[Edited 9/28/09 23:11pm]
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Reply #2 posted 09/28/09 10:53pm

blackguitarist
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Sandino said:



Also who do you think was a better composer? Stevie Wonder or Brian Wilson(At their best) Arranger?
[Edited 9/28/09 22:02pm]

Well, this is certainly a case of who one favors, Stevie or Brian. I personally dig them both so I can't compare them being that they have different styles. Both work within the frame work of a song structure but sometimes, you'll see an uncommon twist in their arrangements. The Beatles were great at employing this in their songs. They all have a knack at writing cool musical passages which sometimes can give the illusion that they went into another part of the song when in actuality, they hadn't. Also little things like a verse which may have 10 measures as opposed to 8. Stevie and Brian, John and Paul wrote in what I call an "atmospheric" writing style. They wrote in colors, very visual. So because of that, that's what I meant by their musical pieces are so embellished, they sometimes can make the listener feel like their on the hook of the song when the song hasn't even arrived there yet.
[Edited 9/28/09 23:15pm]
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Reply #3 posted 09/28/09 11:22pm

nd33

blackguitaristz said:

Composing is writing the lyrics, melody and music to a song. Arranging is placing the sections of the song together and deciding which order the sections should go., i.e. Intro Chorus, verse, pre-chorus, chorus (hook), second verse, pre-chorus, etc. Arranging also falls under what and where certain instrumentation takes place during the course of a song i.e. solos and what section of music the solo takes place, etc. In most cases, as in mine, the composer and arranger and producer is one in the same. Production often times falls under "arranging" but a song can already be arranged before it's produced.
[Edited 9/28/09 22:41pm]


To expand a little, arrangement often also includes voicing the chords (picking the octaves for the notes & how many notes will be playing each chord) and assigning the chords to whatever instruments are bring used, then placing the melodies to let them have their spotlight, relative to the chords.
This kinda task is blurred between producer and arranger though (if there's no arranger specified, then the producer is effectively the arranger).

The difference between this done well and not so well, is a great arrangement will sound clean and clear, even with a large number of instruments involved, whereas a not so good arrangment will sound cluttered, undefined and incohesive using the same number of instruments.
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