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Improve Your Arrangement With the Arranger Track

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There are times you want to show different versions of an arrangement to a client. You may want to add a lead guitar to a section of a song, or change the order of the songs. This is where the Cubase's Arranger Track comes to our rescue.

With this feature, you can change the order of the sections in our track that is played, like a playlist. You can move different sections of a track around, rather than going through the hassle of copying and pasting tons of tracks and then syncing them together.

Let’s get started.


Step 1. Adding the Arranger Track

As soon as we are done preparing the different sections of the song, we will have to add the Arranger Track to the project. We can do this by selecting Arranger Track from the Add Track menu from the right-click context menu or by the Project menu.

The Snap function helps in quantizing the selections to the desired grid resolution.

Once we are done adding the track, we can sectionalize the song into different parts using the Pencil Tool. Adjusting the length of the sections can be easily done using the Object selection tool and then by adjusting the length at the bottom corners of the section. You can also copy events by dragging the sections while holding down the Alt key.

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Rename the sections according to the arrangement of the song. This can be done either by changing it in the info line or by pressing Alt and double-clicking the required event in the Arranger Events section.


Step 2. Configuring the Arranger Chain

After we are done with adding the arranger track and setting up different sections of the song, we can move on to creating the Arranger Chain.

Open up the Arranger Editor by clicking on the “e” on the Inspector of the Arranger track.

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In this window, we can see the sectionalized events on the right side and the Arranger chain which is used for setting up the order in which the sections are to be played and the number of times it has to be repeated.

You can rename the chain by using the Rename Current Chain function right beside the drop-down list.

Start by dragging the arranger events from the Arranger events to the Current Arranger Events in the order that you want them to appear. You can also right-click the events and select Append Selected in Arranger Chain and then add it to the chain.

In case you want to change the order of the events, just drag the required event and then place it in the necessary position.

Removing unnecessary events can be done by right-clicking the event and selecting Remove Selected or Remove Touched.


Step 3. Using Repeats

Almost all songs contains repeats of certain parts, or sometimes we might have to repeat a few sections of the track to bring in a more completed arrangement, or to adjust the time of the song. The Repeats function can be used for this, repeating different sections as many times as you like.

Just enter the number in the Repeats column in the Arranger Chain or double-click on the section and this will automatically increase the number of repeats.

Another function which helps in customizing the repeats is the Mode function. It can be accessed from the right side of the Repeats function. This function offers three modes to change the way the event is repeated:

  • Normal: This mode plays back the event just the way it is. It will repeat the number of times that you have selected and then move on to the next event in the list.
  • Repeat Forever: This mode loops the current section until you select another event or you press the stop button in the Transport.
  • Pause after Repeats: This mode repeats the section the number of times specified in the repeats section and then pauses the playback.

We can also create new chains using the Create New Chain option and make different versions of the arrangement.


Step 4. Flattening the Chain

Now that we are done with configuring the chains, we can flatten the arrangement that we are pleased with. This makes the project flat, i.e., it arranges the sections in the order that you specified into the main arranger chain and imprints it onto the project. This might include copying sections, deleting a few sections, looping, etc. so that it follows your arrangement setup.

Make sure to save a backup of the project before flattening, because sections might be edited to fit the arrangement chain. Use the Flatten option when are sure that you no longer need to make any changes to the Arranger Chain.

Cubase provides us Flatten (With Options & Preferences) to set the way in which the project is flattened. This contains settings to change the source, destination and other options for flattening the project.

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The Source section lets us choose the Arranger Chain(s) that we are going to flatten. We can choose to flatten the Current Chain, Checked Chains, or to flatten all the chains.

The Destination section allows us to choose the destination of the chains. We can either send the chains to a new project or flatten the chain in the current project itself.

The other options that we can find are:

  • Keep the Arranger Track: This retains the Arranger track for the project. If there are two or more repeats of a certain event, checking the Rename Arranger Events will make sure that the various repeats of that section will be renamed or numbered accordingly.
  • Make Real Event Copies: This create real copies of the events rather than using shared copies. This is really useful if you want to make slight changes to the repeats and to make the arrangement more interesting.
  • Don’t Split Events: This makes only the MIDI data that appear within the boundaries of the event be flattened. MIDI data that starts before the event, or are longer than the length of the event will not be flattened.
  • Open New Projects: As the name suggests, the new projects will be opened once they are flattened and will be cascaded.

Conclusion

After we are done with the setting up of various functions, we can flatten our arrangement and use it for further processing. The Arranger Track can also be used for live purposes and can be dynamically controlled. This track is a must for almost every project and can make your arranging process easy and hassle-free.

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