Traditionally, they organize by hand an already existing composition in order to make it into a playable score.
Up until the 1980s, an Arranger (also known as a Music Arranger) was someone who was mostly active in the commercial music field and, by hand, organized already existing music into a playable score based on the instructions of their clients. Nowadays there is only a minority of people that practice this job in the “traditional” way.
From the 1990s up until today, as technology was advancing, it started to replace the role of an Arranger. Their tasks could be done virtually by anyone with access to a computer and a library of sounds.
Generally, an Arranger works closely with the Artist(s), the Producer(s), and the Manager(s) throughout the multiple stages of a project.
First, they have to discuss the details with their client. This usually happens through a phone call and the details include whether the arranger is able to fulfill the client's request, the required amount of time to complete the project, the location, and the finances. Following that, they schedule a meeting with their client to discuss the project further. Topics to discuss include but are not limited to, the client's vision, the style they are going for, and the budget.
After that, the Arranger receives the tracks and starts working on them in their own workspace. They create various demos using samples of the tracks given, which, later on, they share with the client to get their opinion on it. From there it goes back and forth until they reach the required result. Eventually, the arranger will attend studio sessions in order to guide the musicians.
You need to listen and be careful about how you are handling the pressure of the job, it can sometimes lead to the point of breakdown.
Nick Ingman, Arranger
In order to improve as an Arranger, one needs to listen to their clients and the professionals around them. Having a deep understanding of the clients’ needs and vision is important to deliver the best result possible. Additionally, an Arranger should always be open to learning, be able to adapt, as well as cover the duties of a Producer, and enable an organized way of thought.
DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation):
Music Notation Programs:
Arrangers find opportunities by word of mouth and recommendations from other professionals.
An Arranger gets paid with a fixed amount per track that varies depending on the client’s budget. The payment should always be upfront. There are no royalties for an arranger unless they are working on Public Domain Music.
That fixed amount usually varies from £1000 to £1500 per track.
Arrangers do not own any copyright on an arrangement unless they are involved in Public Domain Music.
An Arranger is present during recording sessions in order to guide the musicians.
Good Verbal Communication
Attention to Detail
Dealing with Difficult Personalities
Usually, on this job, the deadlines are very demanding but arranging one track a day is standard.
One way of starting your journey as an arranger can be through education. This might translate to taking up arranging lessons, attending an arranging course, or even attending a music school. Education around orchestration, harmony, and music theory is really valuable as well.Other than that, one needs to have the ability to read sheet music, know how to play at least one instrument, and be able to grasp the skills of a conductor.
An Arranger organizes an already existing composition by hand in order to make it into a playable score.
Public Domain Music
Music and lyrics with no exclusive intellectual property rights. This applies to any musical work that has expired rights or any work that has been published in or before 1925 in the USA.
Written by Fran
Designed by Lou
Published May 9th 2022
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