by Sam Inglis
The fundamental components of a song are the words, the tune, and the chords, perhaps represented in a basic guitar or keyboard part. Other instrumental elements such as drum rhythms, bass lines and string parts make up what's called an 'arrangement', and the same song can be arranged in any number of ways. The songs of the Beatles, for example, have been recorded in every musical style from punk to bossa nova, using any number of musical instruments.
The extent to which you direct the arrangement is up to you. Many musicians will be happy to create their parts, as long as you can play them a rough demo of the song. If you want to create more detailed arrangements, modern technology can help.
Any MIDI keyboard or computer-based recording system will allow you to fake the sound of other instruments using 'samples'. With drums in particular, you can take a short section of recorded drumming called a 'loop' and repeat it. Find a couple of drum loops, play a bass line from the keyboard, and in theory, you'll have something that sounds like a band. In reality it's not always as easy as this to create an arrangement that works.
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