Previously I took you down the road of getting started with Logic Pro X’s “Live Looping” format. This entirely new way of interacting with musical ideas was recently introduced, and for those of you unfamiliar with Ableton Live it is a whole new way to work. Now that you can add loops, record into cells, and play back tracks, let’s explore a few workflow ideas to help you get the most out of the grid!
Configuring a few items about a cell can help you have a smoother Live Loop experience. Start out by picking a drum beat from the loop browser. Drop it into an audio track, and drop another drum beat in the neighboring cell. Now you’ve got 2 drum beats to work with while experimenting. I’ve set up an electric piano track just below the drum loops, and I’m ready to play.
First, I’m going to trigger the drum loop itself to play. I want the drums playing back while I play around with the keyboards a bit, so I’ll click on the play button in the drum loop cell. The drum loop starts playing back, and when it comes around to the ‘top’ of the loop again, start playing the keyboard part you want. Feel free to take several ‘takes’ at it, and try a few things out. Don’t worry, we’re going to cut it back next.
Double click the cell you just recorded into, and open up the piano roll. If you play back the entire column with the column playback control you can hear your creation. Mine has a measure of empty space at the start, as I waited for the loop to come around before I began. I also have a LOT of extra notes at the end, because I tried out a bunch of different options. The first thing I’ll do is select a starting point for my loop. In the piano roll, you can see a little green ‘start’ indicator at the top of the region.
By clicking and dragging this start indicator, I can pick the exact starting point of my loop. You now have the ability to start and end your loop wherever you want. Feel free to go through and pick a starting/ending point that best represents what you want that loop to be! Quantize your performance to make it sit with your drum loop a little tighter if necessary.
If you know exactly how long you want your phrase to be before you start, consider setting up the cell before you even record a note! You can click into an empty cell, then go to the inspector on the left side. Here, I’ve set up quantizing, as well as setting the recording rules to ‘create takes’ as well as set the recording length to be the cell length.
What’s this going to do for me? It’s going to automatically quantize everything I play. It’s also going to record in a 4 measure phrase, and then it’s going to keep repeating and recording new takes until I press stop. That will give me a bunch of takes to choose from that are already the proper length and already quantized! This efficiency can really help me get ideas down quickly and production-ready!
Live Loops has so much more to it, but thinking about your project beforehand can really help you focus on the fun and creativity as you work and worry less about ‘housekeeping’ after each recording. Take notice of what you set each time in terms of region parameters and consider working pre-setting them into your workflow.
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