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Logic Pro X SkillsNavigation and Creating Music with Samples
GoalsProduce a one-minute instrumental piece using pre recorded mediaExplore the Logic Pro X main window interface Navigate and zoom the work spaceMove, copy, loop, and trim regions in the workspaceMix down the project and apply effect plug-ins and export the project to an MP3 file
Turning on Advanced ToolsChoose Logic Pro X > Preferences > Advanced Tools. The Preferences window opens.
Saving Your ProjectChoose File > Save (or press Command-S)Save your work to the Desktop of the iMac.
Create a new folder called - First Name Second Name - Logic Skills
Save the session as Part 1 - Get Dancing
Main WindowControl bar - contains buttons to toggle areas on and off; transport buttons for playback (such as play, stop, rewind, and forward); information to indicate the playhead position, project tempo, key, and time signatures; and mode buttons such as Count-in and Metronome.Inspector - provides access to a relevant set of parameters. The parameters displayed depend on the selected track or region, or the area in key focus.Tracks area - where you build your song by arranging regions on tracks located below a ruler.
Changing the Main Window LayoutIn the control bar, click the Inspector button (or press I)Click the Toolbar button
Click the Mixer button (or press X)What does the mixer display?
Close the mixer window by pressing XIn the control bar, click the Apple Loops button (or press O)This is the layout you will need for the exercise. You should now be familiar with how to change the views of the main window and some of the shortcuts you can use to do so.
What are Apple Loops and what can you use them for?
Apple LoopsPrerecorded music snippets
Automatically match the tempo of your project
Designed to be repeated seamlessly
Professional producers use Apple Loops for video soundtracks, to add texture to a beat, to create unexpected effects.
Royalty free, so you can use them in professional projects without worrying about licensing rights.
The Loop BrowserAllows you to browse loops by instrument, genre, mood, and other attributes
In the Loop Browser, click the All Drums, Acoustic, and Distorted keyword buttonsIn the results list, click the first loop, Deep End Beat (or press Control-Spacebar)Apple Loops preview at the project’s tempo. The control bar display shows the default project tempo of 120 bpm (beats per minute).
Deep End Beat was produced at a tempo of 92 bpm.
Loops usually work best when used at or near their original tempos, so let’s change the project tempoIn the control bar’s LCD display, drag the tempo value down to 92 bpm
Drag Good Life Beat from the results list to track 1 in the workspace, making sure the help tag says Position: 1 1 1 1An alert asks if you would like to use the tempo information embedded in the loop. The Loop Browser shows that the Good Life Beat original tempo is 88 bpm, a little slower than your current 92 bpm tempo. You will use that new tempo.Click Import (or press Return)
Transport Buttons and Key Commands
What Key Commands have we learnt so far?
Loops Browser - O
Mixer - X
Save - Command S
Inspector - I
Play - Space Bar
Key FocusIn the Loop Browser results list, click any loop to preview it.The blue frame around the Loop Browser means the it has key focus, and is ready to respond to all Loop Browser key commands. Only one area at a time can have key focus.To change key focus going forwards and backwards to different areas press Tab or Shift-Tab
Transport Bar Playback CommandsRewind button (or press , [comma])
Forward button, (or press . [period])
Stop button (or press the Spacebar)
Play button (or press the Spacebar)Go to Beginning button (or press Return)
Moving The PlayheadTo start or stop playback at a specific location, you can double-click the lower half of the ruler. Double-click the lower half of the ruler at bar 3.You can also position the playhead without interrupting playback. Without stopping playback, click the lower half of the ruler at bar 1.Double-click in the lower-half of the ruler. Playback stops and the playhead moves to the location you clicked.
Continuously Repeating a Section
You will continue building your project by adding a bass track. Listen to which bass loop works best with your drums, you will use Cycle mode to continuously repeat bar 1 as you preview bass loops in the Loop Browser.
Click the drum region.Choose Navigate > Set Rounded Locators by Selection (or press U).
Press the Spacebar to start playback. When the playhead reaches bar 2, it immediately jumps back to the beginning of bar 1 and continues playback.In the Loop Browser, click the Reset button.At the top of the Loop Browser, from the Loops pop-up menu, choose Hip Hop.Below the All Drums keyword button, click the Bass button.
Sort the results list by tempoLook for loops that were produced at or around 88 bpmClick the first loop. What do you notice when you hear it with the drums?
Select Skyline BassWith an original tempo of 90 bpm, it’s still very close to your project tempo, which means it should work.In the ruler, click the yellow cycle area (or press C) to turn off Cycle mode.
Use the shortcut to take you to the beginning of the projectListen back to the bassline & drums
Choose File > Save (or press Command-S).
As you work in Logic, keep saving your project at regular intervals to avoid losing any of your work.
Setting locators to adjust the cycle area is a technique you’ll use often to focus on part of a project. And if you work with other musicians in your studio, they will love you for not interrupting the playback (and ruining their creative flow) every few bars!
Building Up the Rhythm Section
In this exercise, you will start building an arrangement with the drum and bass loops, and later add more loops to complete your project. First, you will loop both regions so they play continuously.
Click the Inspector button (or press I).Region parameters for the selected region(s) are displayed in the Region inspector near the topClick the Good Life Beat region in track 1 to select it. The Region inspector shows the parameters of the Good Life Beat region. In the Region inspector, select the Loop checkbox (or press L).
In the workspace, click the bass region in track 2 to select it.In the Region inspector, select the Loop checkboxAt the top of the Loop Browser, from the View pop-up menu, choose Loops.In the Loop Browser, click the search box and type fine line.
Fine Line Beat to bar 1
In the Fine Line Beat track header, click-hold the track icon and drag up until the two other tracks move down.
To create an intro in which only Fine Line Beat is playing, you’ll move the two other regions further to the right.Make sure you click one of the selected regions (don’t click one of the loops to their right), and drag to bar 5.
Bars,Beats Divisions & TicksPosition: 5 1 1 1—Where the regions are moved+4 0 0 0—The regions are moved exactly 4 bars later.Length: 1 0 0 0—Length of the clicked region
51115 -The bar consists of several beats.The beat is the denominator in the time signature (quarter note here).The division determines how the grid is subdivided in the ruler when zoomed in horizontally (sixteenth note here).A clock tick is 1/960 of a quarter note. A sixteenth note contains 240 ticks.
It’s time to practice your navigation chops!
What do you think of the current mix of your tracks?
The intro sounds good, and the layered drum loops work great together. However, Good Life Beat is too loud.In the Good Life Beat track header (track 2), drag the Volume slider to the left to turn down the volume to about – 8.0 dB.You will spend more time mixing the song; for now let’s continue editing regions and adding more loops to the arrangement.
Zooming In to Edit the IntroYour intro feels sparse, but the beat is original enough to capture attention, which is the role of an intro.
To accentuate the starting impact of the two new regions at bar 5, you will create a couple of unexpected edits at the end of the intro.
Copy the Fine Line Beat region to bar 5Option (Alt)-drag the Fine Line Beat region to bar 5
To create a break, you need to stop the original region on the track from looping. How would you do this?
Click the Fine Line Beat region at bar 1 to select itIn the inspector, deselect the Loop checkbox (or press L)
Creating a BreakYou will shorten the Fine Line Beat region so that it doesn’t play the last two notes of the regionTo resize the region comfortably, you need to zoom in until you can clearly see the individual drum hits on the waveform.To turn the mouse pointer into a Zoom tool, you hold down Control and Option (Alt), and then drag the area you want to magnify.
If you’re not happy with what you’re seeing in your workspace, Control-Option-click the workspace to zoom back out, and try again.
Resize PointerMove the mouse pointer over the lower-right corner of the Fine Line Beat regionDrag the Resize pointer to the left to hide the final two drum hits.
The drum break creates a sudden void at the end of the intro, which reinforces the impact of the drums and bass. But a void calls to be filled! That break in the drum loop is the perfect time to capture the attention of the listener by introducing the bass a few notes earlier.
Copy the bass region from bar 5 to bar 1Zoom into the selection by clicking the region and pressing ZResize the bass region in the intro from the left so it plays only the final few notesWhat was your process? Check with the person next to you if you did the same.
You Should Have.........In the new Skyline Bass.1 Region inspector, deselected the Loop checkbox (or pressed L).Moved the mouse pointer over the lower-left corner of the region, and draged the Resize pointer to the right, leaving only the last group of five notes.
To zoom out to see the whole project click an empty space on the workspace and press Z
The zoom function doesn't allow for looped regionsAt the top of the workspace, drag the horizontal zoom slider to the left (or press Command-Left Arrow a few times).
Play your new intro. Do you think it works?
Build Up the Arrangement
Avoid monotony by adding melodic elementsIn the next exercise, you will add a couple of synth arpeggio loops. And rather than let them loop throughout the song, you will keep things moving by alternating between the two synth melodies.
The notes of a chord played in rapid succession, either ascending or descending.
Adding Lead SynthsIn the Loop Browser, click the X symbol in the search field to clear the previous search.You are looking for rather clean and high-pitched sounds.Click the Synths and Clean keyword buttons.In the search field, type Arpeggio.
Click the Name column title to reorder the results by loop name.Two loops fit the bill perfectly: Barricade Arpeggio and Deal Breaker Arpeggio.Drag the Barricade Arpeggio loop to the bottom of the workspace at bar 9.Drag the Deal Breaker Arpeggio loop to the bottom of the workspace at bar 10.
Task 1Resize the deal breaker region to make it 1 bar long
Task 2You will now copy both regions so they play alternately.
How did you do this?
Explain your process to your neighbour
You should have something looking like this - Play the new synth section.
PanningBoth synths sound as if they are coming from the center of the stereo fieldTo give them a little space, you can spread them apart acoustically by positioning them to either side of the stereo field.On the Barricade Arpeggio track header, click the Balance knob and drag down to turn the knob to the left.
On the Deal Breaker Arpeggio track, click the Balance knob and drag up to turn it to the right.Play the section again - how does it sound now?
So far you have only added parts, if you keep building your song by adding more elements the song will lose focus.So if you can’t add any more to your song, subtract!So let’s add a piano loop after the synth section, and then delete the drums and bass while the piano plays.
Click ToolsAt the top of the Tracks area, look at the tool menusThe menu to the left corresponds to the tool assigned to the mouse pointer.The menu to the right corresponds to the tool assigned to the mouse pointer when holding down Command.
The Loop Browser sometimes shows multiple loops with similar names, and that usually means that the loops all follow the same groove, the same chord progression, or are otherwise meant to work together. Let’s see if we have any other Skyline Apple Loops meant to work with our Skyline Bass loop.
In the Loop Browser, click the Reset button to clear all keyword buttonsIn the search field, type SkylineDrag the Skyline Piano loop to the bottom of the workspace at bar 13.You will now create the break by deleting the drums in track 2 and the bass in track 3 for the entire time the piano is playing.
Marquee ToolHold down the Command key to turn the mouse pointer into a Marquee tool.Command-drag around tracks 2 and 3 from bar 13 to bar 17.Choose Edit > Delete (or press Delete).
Finishing the songLet the rhythm section play four bars after the piano stops, and you’ll end the song at bar 21.Move the mouse pointer to the upper part of the loops on track 1.Drag the Loop tool to bar 21.
Repeat the same process to stop the drums on track 2 and the bass on track 3 at bar 21.
Listen to the track from bar 11 - What do you think of the ending?
It feels too abrupt - Let’s bring back the piano by itself to create a quick outro.Option-drag the Skyline Piano region to bar 21Finally shorten the new copy of the piano region so it ends with a sustaining note, which will work better for an ending.Drag the lower-right corner of the Skyline Piano.1 region to the left so that it ends with the long sustaining note in bar 23.
Zoom out to see the entire projectHave a listen
Mixing the SongNow you can focus on the sound of each instrument, and how they sound as an ensemble. You can adjust each instrument’s loudness and its position in the stereo field, and even modify its timbre so all the instruments blend harmoniously.
You will open the Mixer, and name your channel strips so you can easily determine which instrument they control. You will then adjust the Volume faders and Balance knobs to change levels and stereo positions, and apply patches and plug-ins to process some of the instruments.
Choosing Names and Icons for Tracks and Channel StripsAt the bottom of the first channel strip, double-click the Fine Line Beat name.Type Beat Loop, and press Return
Close the mixer by pressing XIn track 2’s track header, double-click the Good Life Beat name. Type Drums, and press Tab.Track 3’s name is ready to be edited. Type Bass, and press Tab.Track 4 to Synth 1
Track 5 to Synth 2
Track 6 to Piano
Track IconsNotice that track 2 has only a generic audio waveform icon.In the Tracks area, Control-click the icon in track 2’s track header.Click the Drums category and select an icon.
Adjusting Volume and Stereo PositionOpen the Mixer - What is the shortcut?You can resize the Mixer area to see more of the channel strips.Place the mouse pointer between the Tracks area and the Mixer area. A resize pointer appears, drag this as far as it will go.
With the Mixer open navigating your song efficiently may prove challenging (or nearly impossible).To remedy this use Cycle mode to continuously repeat a part of the song that contains all the instruments.Close the Mixer. Zoom out to see the entire project & drag the mouse in the top half of the ruler.
Press space barOpen the mixer
Click the background of the Mixer to deselect the channel strips, and on the Synth 2 channel strip, drag down the Volume fader.Continue adjusting the Volume fader until the Gain display reads –10.The Volume fader affects how much gain is applied to the audio signal at the output of the channel strip, and therefore, controls how loudly that instrument plays.
Balance KnobsOn the Synth 1 channel strip, drag the Balance knob all the way down to –64.On the Synth 2 channel strip, drag the Balance knob all the way up to +63.How do the synths sound in the stereo field?
Adjust the Synth 1 and Synth 2 pan knobs to values of about –35 and +35, respectively.
Processing Instruments with Plug-InsThere’s more to mixing than adjusting each instrument’s volume and stereo position. Now you will apply effect plug-ins to process the audio signal flowing through the channel strip, thereby changing the tone of your instruments.
In this exercise you will use a bass amp plug-in to add an edgier character to the bass, and a reverberation plug-in to bring warmth and dimension to the piano.
Bass AmpsOn the Bass channel strip, click the Audio FX slot to open the plug-in menu.From the menu, choose Amps and Pedals > Bass Amp Designer.
The Bass Amp Designer plug-in is inserted in the Audio FX slot on the channel strip, and its interface opens
Sounds good but it's too loud!
Close the plug-in windows by clicking the close button.In the Mixer, drag down the Bass Volume fader until the Gain display reads about –11.0.
Adding ReverbYou will now add a plug-in to the Piano channel strip. But first you need to move the cycle area so you can hear the piano.In the Tracks area, in the ruler, drag the cycle area 4 bars to the right, so it goes from bar 13 to 17.Start playback
In the Mixer, click the Audio FX slot on the Piano channel strip.Choose Reverb > Space Designer.From the Setting pop-up menu, choose Medium Spaces > Rooms > 1.5s Piano Warmth.
Compare the Piano with and without the reverb - what has it done to the sound?
Is it an improvement - why?
Click the close button to close the Space Designer plug-in window.Click the Mixer button (or press X) to close it.In the ruler, click the cycle area (or press C) to turn off Cycle mode.Play the entire song.
Peak Level DisplayIn the Inspector, look at the peak level display on the Output channel strip.
When a part of the song is too loud, the Output channel strip peak level display shows a positive value and turns red, indicating that the audio signal is distorted.
In a relatively short time, you have produced a one-minute instrumental song with six tracks, edited the regions in the workspace to build an arrangement, mixed the instruments in the Mixer, and added plug-ins to process their sounds.
Mixing Down to a Stereo FileThe last step is to mix down the music to a single stereo audio file so that anyone can play it on audio software or hardware.
In the Tracks area, choose Edit > Select > All (or press Command-A) to select all regions.In the main menu bar, choose File > Bounce > Project or Section (or press Command-B) to open the Bounce dialog.Make sure the PCM checkbox is deselected. Select the MP3 checkbox.
In the Bounce dialog, click the Bounce button (or press Return).
Bouncing creates a new stereo audio file on your hard driveType Get Dancing in the Save As fieldSave the MP3 to your desktop
Well done! You have completed the first Logic Skills task.
Logic Skills TestNext week you will have a test on what you have learnt so far. Make sure you practice the shortcuts you have learnt and that you can explain the processes you have been doing to move, trim and edit in Logic.