Lesson 4

Recording MIDI and Software Instruments

Create a new Logic project and title it Lesson 5. A highly original name!

Add an acoustic piano track to your project. Your choice!

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My piano of choice.

Make sure that you save your project to your desktop for easy access.

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Make sure that your Apple Loops window is open by clicking on the Apple Loops icon on the upper right-hand side of the screen.

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You will now see the Loops window in Logic.

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Loops Window in Logic

There are two methods for browsing loops:

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The first icon looks like the Finder on a Mac. You should be familiar with that one!

The second icon breaks the loops down in a list:

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For now let's click on By Genres

The following appears:

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The triangles to the right of the words allow you to further expand your search.

Let's select the
Rock/Blues genre and then All Drums

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As you can see, we have over one thousand drum loops at our disposal!

You will also notice some other columns including
Beats, Tempo, and Key.

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Tempo refers to the original tempo of the loop, key, is the key of the original loop (in this case since it is a drum loop, they key is not available), beats refers to the duration of the loop.

To audition a loop, just single click on the loop name, and it will start playing. To stop the audition, single click on the loop name again.

Green Loops, Blue Loops

If a loop is Green then that means it is a MIDI loop and contains MIDI data that you can easily edit and change. A green loop can be used on software instrument tracks or audio tracks.

Screen Shot 2014-01-23 at 1.50.37 PM Green MIDI Loops

If a loop is
Blue then it is an audio loop that contains audio data and can only be used on audio tracks.

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Blue Audio Loops

Adding A Loop To A Track

After you find the loop that you like, you can just drag the loop from the Media window onto a track in your Arrange window. It is that simple.

For our example we are going to grab and drag the
60s Shuffle Drumset 01 onto our arrange window below our piano track. Don't worry about creating a track for your loop, Logic will do that for you automatically.

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You will probably see the following message. Select
No in this case because we do not want to change our project tempo to the loop tempo.

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After you have dragged your loop onto the
Arrange window, it should look like this.

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To start developing some mixing and engineering chops, you can learn a lot from the folks that developed Logic.

Look at the channel strip for your piano, it may contain an effect or EQ setting that you can open by double clicking. In my piano track if I double-click the
Compressor under the Inserts

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I see the following:

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This shows me how the folks at Apple applied the compressor settings to make the piano sound fuller and richer! You can learn a lot by peaking under the hood!!!

Extending Our Drum Loop

Let's extend our drum loop to play for eight full bars. This is very simple in Logic. Hold down the Option key on your keyboard while clicking on the drum loop in the Arrange Window and then grab the loop and slide it over to the next open measure. Repeat this process until the drum loop looks as follows:

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Repeated drum loop

We will be learning how to edit loops, MIDI, and audio tracks later in the tutorial.

To view a brief tutorial on creating a loop in Logic X click on the following link:

Clip 2

Tempo and Time Signature

At the top of Logic's Arrange Window is our Transport controls.

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The Transport window is the control center for Logic. For this exercise we will be changing our tempo to match the tempo of our loop, which is 125 beats per minute.

Locate the middle section of the
Transport window

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Now locate the Tempo (120)

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.52.18 PM This number is our tempo.

To change the tempo, double click on the tempo number
and enter 125 then hit
Return on your keyboard

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The tempo of our sequence in now set to 125, matching our loop tempo.

If you notice the 4/4 number to the right of the tempo number, this tells us the time signature of our project. You can also change that by clicking on the 4/4 marking. For now, let's keep our sequence in 4/4 time.

Playing Back Our Sequence

Located to the left of the Transport window are our playback controls. For you older folks, these look just like the playback controls on a cassette deck. (Hey, I even remember 45 records)!

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Logic's playback controls

You can start and stop your playback by just hitting your spacebar on your computer keyboard.

You can rewind your sequence back the beginning by hitting the number
0 on your computer keyboard.

You can also click on the controls on your
Transport window.

The following is a description of the transport buttons, from left to right:

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.55.16 PM Rewind Moves the playhead back one measure at a time.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.57.22 PM Forward Moves the playhead forward one measure at a time.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.58.14 PM Go To Beginning.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 1.58.22 PM Play

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  • You can Control-click (or right-click) any of the buttons to customize each of the controls.
  • If you Control-click or Right-Click the Transport bar
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  • You will see the following page:
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Experiment with the different controls located on the Transport Window.

Configuring The Cycle Range

Logic allows you to set a range of start and stop points in your sequence. This is especially helpful when you are recording and don't want to start your sequence from the beginning each time.

Directly to the right of our tempo and time signature box is a set of icons.

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Click on the first icon from the left to select it. This is the Cycle Range icon.

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Selecting the Cycle Range.

You will now see a yellow bar appear across the top of the
Arrange Window Ruler

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If you move your mouse on top of the Cycle Range it will now turn to a hand. Grab the middle of the Cycle Range to move the entire range across the ruler.

To extend or contract the
Cycle Range, move your mouse the right hand corner, it will now turn to an arrow.

Try extending your
Cycle Range for the full length of our drum loop.

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Cycle range extended to match our drum loop.

Now hit your space bar to start playing the sequence. Notice that when it gets to the end of the sequence, it will start playing again from the beginning of the green cycle setting.

Note, when you set your cycle beginning to something other than the beginning of the sequence, when you hit the space bar on your computer, your Logic will automatically go back to the start of your Cycle Region.

To view a brief tutorial on changing tempo, and setting your Cycle Region in Logic click on the following link:

Clip 3

Click Tracks and Setting The Metronome

When you are planning a recording where you can't get all the musicians in the studio at the same time. It is best to have a click track set up using a metronome so that each musician will be playing in time.

To configure the
Metronome in Logic, Control-click the Metronome icon

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Metronome Settings.

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You will now see the following dialog box:

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Project settings

There is an instrument built into Logic called
Klopfgeist. This is the built-in metronome sound for Logic. Make sure that the Audio Click (Klopfgeist) box is checked.

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You can also set the tonality, volume, and output of your metronome

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Experiment with different volumes and Tonalities to find one that best works for you.

Setting A Count In

In the Project Settings dialog window, click on the Recording icon

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This dialog box will allow you to select a count-in for your metronome. I prefer one bar, but at faster tempos I usually select a two-bar count-in.

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Close the dialog box and return to your Arrange Window.

The last step in setting our Metronome is to click on the Metronome icon in our Transport Controls. In this case I have also highlighted the count off icon showing that I have four beats count off before I begin recording.

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Selecting the Metronome and count off.

Playback your sequence and you will now hear a
Metronome click.

When you record (we are going to do that next) you will also hear a count in before Logic starts to record.

Recording a MIDI (Software Instrument) Track

Recording in Logic is easy and straightforward. Recording a MIDI track will also create a notated version that you can view in Logic's Score Editor.

For this example, let's keep our drum loop. Make sure that your drum loop extends for at least eight full measures.

We are going to be using our created piano track to record MIDI. Record-enable your piano track, so that you can hear a piano sound when you play your MIDI keyboard.

Arrange Window should look at follows:

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For this example, I am not using Cycle record, since we are just dipping our toes into the MIDI recording water.

Make sure that your
Bosendorfer Grand Piano Track is selected and the record icon is enabled as shown above.

Rewind your sequence back to the beginning by hitting
0 on your numeric keypad.

To start recording and start your count-in you may either click on the
record icon on the Transporter controls

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or, type the * key (the asterisk key) on your numeric keypad to automatically begin recording.

Try to record at least eight-measures on your piano track. When you have finished, you should have something that looks like this:

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My piano MIDI recording with a drum loop.

Viewing Your MIDI Track

Double click on your MIDI piano track in the Arrange Window.

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Notice the buttons at the bottom of the Logic Interface

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This allows you to view MIDI data in a variety of different ways.

Click on the
Score button as shown above.

You will now see a notational view of the piano MIDI track that you played into Logic.

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My piano track in the Score Window.

Now select the
Piano Roll button.

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You will now see a piano roll representation of you MIDI track.

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Now click on the
Step Editor button.

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You will now see the following window:

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Step Editor allows you to add MIDI controllers, change volume, pan, and other edits to your MIDI track (more on that later).

To close this window, simply place your cursor at the top of the
Step Editor window and notice that it turns to an up/down arrow. Click and drag the window down to hide it.

Expanding Your Tack View and Changing Track Order

If you move your mouse over the middle of track name, you can now drag the track up and down in the Arrange Window. This allows you to change the order of the tracks.

If you move your mouse to the lower left side of the track name, it becomes an up/down arrow, allowing you to grab the track and expand it downward so that you have a larger view area.

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Expanded track view

Logic Project 4:

Record a MIDI piano or other Software Instrument track along with a drum loop. It does not have to be long, eight-measures will be just dandy!

Lesson 4 Recap

You should now be more familiar with:

Adding loops to your Logic Project
Extending loops
Working with Logic's Transport Controls
Working with Software Instruments
Setting up a recording Cycle
Configuring your metronome
Changing the tempo of a Logic sequence
Recording a MIDI track using a click track or metronome.

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