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Hands-On Music Theory by Richard Wentk

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7The Shape

YOU CAN GO ON SOUNDCLOUD AND LISTEN TO MILLIONS OF TRACKS BY HOPEFULS. Some are uploaded for fun. Others are uploaded in the naïve hope that getting a few hundred hits will set them on the way to a Grammy appearance and a lifestyle that includes a personal maid, a helicopter, and the inevitable two weeks in rehab and epic rise in sales.

Many things separate hopefuls from professionals, and most of them aren’t musical. But one of the biggest differences between professional and beginner-level tracks is the quality and creativity of the arrangement.

Arrangement used to mean taking a few ideas and writing out dots for a version with full orchestra or big band. Now it’s as likely to mean spinning out a song in a DAW to give the seed musical ...

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