I wrote a month ago about a very old song of mine, "Gemini and Leo"; after writing that entry, I couldn't get the song out of my head. I sequenced it for MIDI nearly 20 years ago; I took that arrangement and started work on a more modern arrangement for Reason.
As always, my old MIDI arrangements are too 'thick', so my first task was to 'thin' it out, i.e. have fewer instruments playing at the same time. I changed the introduction as it sounded too bland and old-style; I added an instrumental section in the middle, which allowed me to repeat the bridge section. I took sections which were played on one instrument and transferred them to a different instrument; I added a drone over the first two verses.
All in all, I spent a great deal of time and care working on this arrangement, making it light and interesting. I listened to it on and off when we were in Italy and realised that there were still changes which needed to be made. I implemented these a few days ago, and I think that now I have achieved a very good arrangement (although after a while I can always find something else which needs to be improved).
Now all I have to do is record vocals, which shouldn't be too difficult. I've been thinking about how I want to arrange them - double tracked in the bridges, no effects solo at the end, etc. I realise that reading the above might seem frustrating as there's no way to hear the song - at least, not yet. Even if I did find a way to post the song here, it probably wouldn't make much sense without the vocals. Strangely, I often prefer the 'karaoke' version of my songs: the backing track without vocals. One can hear properly all the little pieces which I take so much delight in adding.
Yesterday I also listened to another arrangement which I completed over a month ago, another old song called 'Cream on the pudding'. Again, I worked fairly hard on this arrangement; listening to it now, I can find a few things which need to be improved. I had forgotten some parts of the arrangement, so they came as a total surprise (that's good). There are actually three versions of the arrangement, all of which are basically the same. The differences lie in every fourth bar (the song basically consists of four bar phrases): the first version is in straight 4/4, whereas the second version drops two beats from each fourth bar.
The third - and final - version drops only one beat from each fourth bar, which makes for interesting listening. I've only sung this song a few times (checking that the key is right) and already I can foresee problems: most vocal phrases begin with an anacrusis (or 'pickup') and it's going to be difficult to remember how to fit the anacrusis over a shortened bar. Normally my tunes begin after the opening beat of a bar - I think that I do this subconsciously so that I can hear the opening chord which helps me pitch the vocal.