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Virtual Mixing
Basic Music for Engineers


A song is based on a melody (and often lyrics) and occurs through time. Songs have musical chords that support the melody (but may not necessarily be played in full). Songs also have other parts that can support the melody and chords (such as drums for rhythm, bass to both support the low end and also to provide a low counter melody, guitars to play chords in rhythmic ways, etc).  It is possible for a single musical element to take the role of others, for example a song can be sung in a way that gives a strong rhythmic feeling without having drums.

Arrangements are maps that indicate not only the song’s sections and their order but also which instruments will play particular parts.  Although may people use the term to only mean the SECTIONS of the song, it also relates to how the different musical parts interact with each other as they support the main melody.

Typical Arrangement sections include:

Intro: Song Beginning
Verse: The “story”
Chorus: The repeating part of the “story”
Bridge: The part when everything changes for a short while before returning to the “story”
Tag (Outro): Song Ending

In order for recording and mixing engineers to be able to effectively capture, edit and then mix music they MUST have a basic understanding of music, arrangements and instruments.