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Power of production, arranging and reharmonization for songwriters

Updated: Sep 17, 2020

As a songwriter, we don’t always think about the importance of presenting our songs in the best way.

Enter production, arranging and reharmonization.

Most songwriters don’t think about what it means to have a producer or arranger involved in your creative process, and some don’t even know what those things are.

That’s because most songwriters never encounter these folks, whose domain is generally relegated to the recording studio working with record companies and recording artists.

But when songwriters harness the power of these recording elements earlier in the creative process, a lot of good can happen.

In the recording studio, the producer’s job is to make the recording sound its best.

The arranger usually comes in before the producer and makes sure the pieces of the song fit together in the best, most commercially appealing way.

Amanda Colleen Williams Nashville red headed songwriter in the studio recording new album music
Amanda working at Studio 515 @ 522 photo credit Pete Garfinkel

The arranger also chooses which instruments or voices will play which sections of the song, and in what order.

When you’re a songwriter, you will naturally want to learn how to perform some of the duties of the arranger yourself.

Amanda Colleen Williams Nashville red headed singer songwriter in the recording studio headphones tracking new album
Amanda singing harmony parts photo cred Pete Garfinkel

For example, when you’re writing a song that has a big sing along appeal, you might want to arrange the song so that it starts with the chorus.

Usually songs begin with the verse section, but a new arrangement could provide the opportunity to hear that catchy hook in the chorus a few more times, always good thing to try for increased commercial viability.

Using production techniques and choice of instrumentation, a producer can steer a song toward a specific genre – from country to pop, bluegrass to soul. A great song can translate across many genres, and even blend genres together creating new trends and fads.

Reharmonization is a specific technique songwriters can easily explore that can help dress up a boring melody.

When you play a melody note for note on the piano or sing the individual notes, you might have noticed before, that there isn’t just one chord that goes along with the notes. Usually you have at least one or two chords that you can play that sound good against any given melody note.

Playing the chord against the melody is called the harmony for your song.

When you take a song and change the chords that go along with it, you have re-harmonized your song.

There are many famous songs that have been hits using reharmonization, production and arranging techniques. In our workshop at the upcoming Songpreneurs Songwriting Retreat we will explore some of these songs, and learn more about the music theory and practical application of these tools.

Learn more and apply here >>