Negative or subtractive sequence arranging.

I often say that the arrangement is the most important part of a song. For some people it’s also the most difficult task. Anyone can make an incredible short loop but developing it into a 4-5 minute song takes some practice, thought and planning. A trick my friend Miro Pajic uses which he calls “negative arranging” consists of copying every track’s parts across the entire 4-5 minutes. Next, he goes in and deletes parts instead of starting blank and adding clips/parts as he progresses. I don’t personally work this way but I was surprised to see Miro is not alone.

As I was doing my nightly troll though the Ableton forums I came across a post by uber Live geek Tarekith. He posted a link to his guide to song arranging and it’s definitely worth a read. He also uses the “negative arrangement” style but he calls it, “subtractive sequencing”: click to read

This is a technique I call subtractive sequencing, where we start with all the song elements and remove bits and pieces to form the structure of the song. – tarekith.com

Have you ever tried this technique? Personally I fill up Session view with many tracks, clips and scenes and drag them into a blank Arrangement view.