Simpler is Better

I find it pretty impressive when I hear a song with a full arrangement: multiple harmony lines or counter melodies or a funky rhythm or intricate chord changes or all of the above. These things can really make a song interesting.

However, I’m doubly impressed by songs that have very simple arrangements and still work. One recent example is the Keane song Somewhere Only We Know. It’s basically piano and voice (and drums on this YouTube video).

The other interesting thing about this song (and others like it) is how basic/simplistic the piano part is: no fancy fingerwork required. So we have a simple piano part, with a seemingly simple arrangement that underpins a nice melody and good lyrics. In fact, the simplicity of the arrangement highlights the lyrics. And the arrangement totally works.

So don’t get bogged down in adding multiple guitar parts and other complicated elements, especially if it slows you down. Move forward with a simple arrangement. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.

Sometimes the simple arrangements are the best. Here are some other examples of the same thing (I’m sure you can come up with your own examples):

Love Song – Sara Bareilles
Imagine – John Lennon
Our House – Crosby, Still, Nash and Young


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