Arrange a song based on sections like verse, bridge and chorus

Songwriting is most productive when you follow the Collect & Arrange workflow. At the time you begin with a new song, you will already have a lot of phrases at hand that you can try out and see what works best with the lyrics and style you have in mind. The phrases will put any chord progression to live in an instant.

There are probably a million ways to come up with an idea for a new song. Playing around with Synfire is one of them. This workflow summary therefore focusses on how to arrange and refine a song based on existing phrases.

Song Parts

You only need very few phrases for a song. Build a riff or pattern for the verse first and then make variations of it as you develop other parts, like bridge and chorus.
  1. Create a Container for each part. Leave room at the beginning for one measure in order to simplify the synchronizing with a DAW later on.

  2. Use an Alias where a part repeats later in the song.

  3. Use Pause to turn individual instruments on or off while the song evolves. It is a good idea to keep all pause parameters in separate child containers, so you can use different combinations of pauses at different places in the song.

Another possible approach is to start with a very dense pattern for the chorus (the climax of your song with everything maxed out) and then strip it down and thin it out for the more mute parts like intro and verse. This ensures a consistent rhythm and makes the parts similar to each other, which is a great way to build up anticipation and tension. Jumping right into a completely different part may be too disruptive for unsuspecting listeners, but ultimately it depends on your style, how harsh or smooth you want it to be.

Yet another approach is to generate related but somewhat different parts with a Factory and glue them together. Make sure though that rhythm is compatible across parts. The best way to verify that is to get up from your seat and move.


Keep in mind that 80% of a melody is rhythm. If you already have lyrics, that will largely determine the rhythm. Once you have a rhythm that works, do the following.

  1. Record a Step parameter by tapping in the rhythm on your external MIDI keyboard.

  2. Move that Step parameter to the Grid outlet of the phrase toolbar. Now you have a grid to draw along.

  3. Draw a horizontal line with the Line Tool using the blue horizontal symbols. Be sure duplicates are enabled to get a series of multiple symbols.

  4. Nudge individual Figure symbols up or down to shape a melody.

The more convenient method of coming up with a melody is to generate some with Factories and keep and refine those you like.

(this is not finished yet)