Author Topic: Transitioning Between Song Sections  (Read 3118 times)

Lydian

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Transitioning Between Song Sections
« on: August 12, 2016, 12:31:26 am »
I was surprised when I used the search bar and noticed that nobody had started a thread regarding such an important topic. Keeping it simple this time around. What are some tips that you guys have for smoothly transitioning in between song sections?

Here are a few of mine.

1. Keep one instrument the same and have it carry on into the next section.
2. Use things like reverse crashes, FX, & reverse reverbs to help connect two sections together
3. Use Fills.

What are some of yours? You can repeat some of mine if you agree with them.
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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2016, 05:12:43 am »
Hmmmm...

Well I think it depends on what section the song goes to, the genre, the sound type etc.
If I want a soft transition, I slowly add soft instruments one by one, like small hihats or snaps etc. and I don't suddenly change the instruments unless it is intended to give some tension.
Or slowly extending the pluck's release w/ reverb sometimes helps.



[EDIT] I didn't read your post properly, srry :/
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 05:15:48 am by Lunatic Expert »

Lydian

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2016, 05:44:22 am »
It's okay lunee. :)

I guess I'll add some more.

4. Experiment with muting instruments 1 bar before the next section.
5. Instead of removing an instrument try fading it out with volume automation instead.
6. Experiment with Filters
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 05:47:17 am by Lydian »
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Mussar

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2016, 05:53:27 am »
Good old filter and volume automations can never go wrong.

Lately I've been experimenting with delay tails over sections that have the drums pulled out as a way to clearly announce the introduction of a new section while maintaining a less rigid boundary between my instrumentation.

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2016, 06:17:45 am »
4. Experiment with muting instruments 1 bar before the next section.

Muting kicks but leaving the sidechain there!!

Lydian

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2016, 07:30:31 am »
Good old filter and volume automations can never go wrong.

Lately I've been experimenting with delay tails over sections that have the drums pulled out as a way to clearly announce the introduction of a new section while maintaining a less rigid boundary between my instrumentation.

Could you elaborate a little bit more on what you mean by less rigid boundary? Using delay tails sounds like a pretty good idea to help instruments fade into new sections.

7.) One common pattern that I'm starting to notice is that often times when two sections contain completely different instrumentations removing the previous instruments a bar before the new ones come in makes the transitions sound a lot smoother. It can sound really awkward when you're using one set of instruments/sounds and then suddenly you remove/change to a different set of instruments/sound without there being any sort of "rest" in between.

I guess that's one of the reasons why often times before the drop you have that "1 bar" in which everything is removed except for the fill. Often times the instruments in the drop and the verse/build can be completely different so removing them slightly before and linking them together with a fill can sometimes be the best option.

0:40 & 1:39 of this track is probably one of the best examples I can find.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73Wo7GBaX_w
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 07:36:07 am by Lydian »
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Mussar

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2016, 05:26:14 pm »
Could you elaborate a little bit more on what you mean by less rigid boundary?

Sure! I can't remember where I first read the idea of "clear divisions, fuzzy boundaries", but it goes a little something like this:

You want to* have the different sections of your songs to be clearly defined from one another, so that someone could start listening at a random spot in the song and know where they are without any extra information. At the same time, you don't want to* have it feel like the song is just sort of going from section to section - "Okay we're in the intro. Okay now we're in the verse. Okay now we're in the chorus. Okay now we're in the verse. Etc., Etc." So like the first point you said about transitions, sounds don't always need to stop when you change sections. Conversely, sounds can be introduced before a section starts. A melody can start two beats before the new section starts, or switch from a synthesizer to a violin when you go from the chorus to the breakdown. Delay and/or reverb tails, reverses, and things like that help as well.


*: Standard songwriting conventions that can and should be ignored when it adds to the song creatively. e.g. a huge energy-filled dubstep buildup that suddenly cuts out so a vocal sample can play before the drop enters. The boundaries couldn't be more clearly defined, but that adds to the impact of the next section and just feels good.

Lydian

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2016, 07:24:03 pm »
Could you elaborate a little bit more on what you mean by less rigid boundary?

Sure! I can't remember where I first read the idea of "clear divisions, fuzzy boundaries", but it goes a little something like this:

You want to* have the different sections of your songs to be clearly defined from one another, so that someone could start listening at a random spot in the song and know where they are without any extra information. At the same time, you don't want to* have it feel like the song is just sort of going from section to section - "Okay we're in the intro. Okay now we're in the verse. Okay now we're in the chorus. Okay now we're in the verse. Etc., Etc." So like the first point you said about transitions, sounds don't always need to stop when you change sections. Conversely, sounds can be introduced before a section starts. A melody can start two beats before the new section starts, or switch from a synthesizer to a violin when you go from the chorus to the breakdown. Delay and/or reverb tails, reverses, and things like that help as well.


*: Standard songwriting conventions that can and should be ignored when it adds to the song creatively. e.g. a huge energy-filled dubstep buildup that suddenly cuts out so a vocal sample can play before the drop enters. The boundaries couldn't be more clearly defined, but that adds to the impact of the next section and just feels good.

Regarding your stance on the subject, I found this link that I think really helps compliment what you're saying. It's a very interesting perspective on transitions that I really got a lot of value from reading so i'll repost it.

https://makingmusic.ableton.com/fuzzy-boundaries
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attila

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2016, 10:02:17 pm »
In the last year or so I've focused a lot more on selling transitions with strong songwriting. Sometimes I hit a roadblock and get creative with sound design.

Like ~2:18 in my last track with vocal bending

https://soundcloud.com/lyonnmusic/the-symphony

It feels like the more songs I finish the more I feel like using risers and old standard things is taking the easy way out. If the songwriting is strong the movement will already feel really good without anything else. At that point I'll add a super subtle percussive hit or quick wisp. Having vocals helps out a LOT though. I love cutting to just vocals before a section change...I'd say 75% of the time I like to bring the energy down instead of up.

~0:40
https://soundcloud.com/lyonnmusic/lyonn-well-light-the-sky

A riser can add anticipation, but I far prefer the chord progression carry the anticipation while letting the music dictate the big energy shifts. Music starts to feel too linear when it's constantly hand holding listeners to where it's going.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2016, 10:04:46 pm by attila »

Arktopolis

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2016, 09:30:31 am »
^ Yep, a noise sweep doesn't replace a good cadence!

Marrow Machines

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2016, 04:12:28 pm »
a little dittle on the drums always helped me transition.

i have trouble with transitions. Some times you can just let the song flow into itself, other wise you can have a designated 2bar build up with a riser and other effects.

It really depends on the context you're looking at.
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led

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Re: Transitioning Between Song Sections
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2016, 12:36:26 pm »
Well, you CAN have a momentary pause for 1/4 of a bar. Doesn't porter like to do that?