Wire to the ear has an interesting recent post about an article on Ableton Live arranging - recommended reading. I always find this kind of stuff fascinating – music and song construction, pacing, intro, outro – feels like it’s the part that is about telling a story.
The article compares two techniques: Standard Arranging and Subtractive Arranging. The first being additive – building in the arrange view vs. the second – putting everything in the arrange view and then removing.
In the past, I used to take a very track-centric approach – laying down tracks (be they MIDI or audio) until a song was built – definitely a reflex from the days of multitrack tape. Now, I typically build something in session view, which once performed, is almost entirely the song. That gets recorded to the arrangement – switch and polish transitions, add unique time elements – and then mix to taste.
I’m always interested in how people work – and love seeing peoples screens – so I’m offering mine from Freedom (Waking Mix). These are the session view prior to a take, the finished arrangement, and then using session as a mixer.