July 5, 2018
Today, I'm going to teach you how to play Shape of You by Ed Sheehan with no instruments, using only a loop machine.
The first thing you want to do when you're trying to make an arrangement of a song is determine the form of the original song, and then determine what elements you'd like yo include in each section of the song.
I've made a roadmap of all of my loops and when I want to recording them.
Let's start with the introduction:
I'm layering only the parts that I need for the first verse, and in this case, the pre-chorus. Remember that your first loop sets the tempo for the entire song, so it's best to pick something rhythmic like a bass line or beatboxing to lay down the tempo first. It looks like we need the bass, our rhythm guitar and harmonies, and some sort of high frequency percussion. Ultimately, you're going to want to develop an introduction that's catchy to you. Determining what order you'd like to record your loops makes a big difference in how it sounds and how it builds.
We now need to look at the chorus:
For the chorus, I decided to add the clasps and the "o-ai-o-ai-o-ai-o-ai" part. Since the line "I'm in love with your body" is only 4 bars long, I can actually loop that lead vocal so that when I want to record "o-ai," there's no dead space, and you won't miss the lead. However, I don't want these parts to play in the second verse.
This is where having more than one channel on the looper comes in handy. So I've created a channel chart. I've written down the parts we recorded so far into channel 1. We'll add these additional parts under channel 2. Let's see what happens during the transition to the second verse. On our roadmap, we noted that some additional background vocals differentiate the second verse from the first verse. Now, we don't have to rush into the second verse, so I used improvisation to come up with a new riff and harmonize over it. Then, I stopped or muted channel 2 to turn off the clap, the lead, and the "o-ai" and save them for later. I decided to bring them back in at the pre-chorus to help lead into the next chorus. And since the lead is already recorded on channel 2, I can record more percussion simultaneously as we're hearing all the parts of the chorus already.
And then this leads us to the bridge:
As a general rule, the bridge of a song should contrast with the verses and chorus and still keep the song building to a climax. If we look at our road map, we noted that he bridge is really just claps, which we recorded on channel 2. So before the bridge, I muted channel 1, which gives it a completely different sound. Like in the chorus, I recorded the melody of the bridge first and then created gospel harmonies on top of it. Gospel harmony is a really good arranging technique to use especially with the looper because they always sound good in parallel motion, and you'll never lose the melody. In a root position chord, thirds are stacked on top of each other. To make it a gospel harmony, you take the fifth of the chord sand drop it down an octave.
For the last chorus, press all the buttons, and take it home! Just remember to be creative through this whole process.
We did it!!
We analyzed the form, we recorded rhythmic elements and harmonies, we recorded the lead vocal, we used improvisation to come up with interesting background vocals, and we created gospel lyric harmonies to create a dynamic and interesting looper arrangement of Shape of You using only your voice!
If you want to hear me sing more a cappella looper covers, subscribe to my channel!
Also, if you subscribe to my email list, I'll send you the sheet music, my road map, and my channel map: written instructions so you can practice this at home.
I'm happy to help people get started looping.