Keep It Clean

We humans are extremely visual creatures by nature.

Arranging a tune is also very much a visual thing.

I don’t know about you, but unless I pay attention my arrange page tends to get messy very quickly.

When the arrange is all messed up with unused tracks, muted elements, too much automation and too many bells and whistles to keep track of…

It starts to interfere with the way I think and perceive.

So I try to put some effort in keeping it tidy.

It’s best to aim for “cleaning as you go”. You can also dedicate 5 minutes to sort it out whenever things start to get messy.


Cleaning up the arrange and getting rid of any clutter will greatly help in perceiving the different options you have.

You’ll have “room to think”.

And it’ll be a breeze to try different variations.


Hey this may not be the epic bassline madness I know you lot are hoping to read…

But I guarantee learning a simple thing like this can make your music a lot better than a whole bag of fancy tricks.



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Master Your Craft: 28 Rules for Success in Electronic Music Production

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  • TN1

    Doing most of my arrangements live with a controller at the moment, in some cases i leave my pc monitor off too, i find it helps me to make stuff sound less contrived and forced, especially with techno/house. i used to be very particular about cleaning up muted/redundant channels as i went along, but since i have a better CPU it’s not too much of an issue for me now.

    • Doing arrangements live is something I really want to explore in the future as well… What kind of setup do you use for that? I’ve been looking at the forthcoming MPC Renaissance…

      • TN1

        Funds are ultra limited at the moment so i’m just using a simple Korg Nano Kontrol & Ableton 8, the Korg is decent for the (small) price and as long as you don’t plan on taking it out for live shows it’ll last. As for technique, i love Ableton’s record function, it really opened up a whole new way of thinking for me when it came to arrangements, once everything’s assigned i just switch off my monitor, hit record, and jam out a few different variations until i find something i like!

        • Sounds good, that’s exactly the kind of thing I need to be doing more…. Will have to look into Ableton at some point.