Chapter 1. Make Music with Logic Now!

Time

This lesson takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

Goals

Browse, preview, and use loops

 

Edit regions and create an arrangement

 

Navigate and zoom in the Arrange area

 

Use effect and software instrument plug-ins

 

Mix down and export to MP3

Let’s get into the heart of the matter and start producing music immediately. In this lesson, you will go straight to the fun part of creating music with Logic—producing a grooving trip-hop song using loops—while gaining a global understanding of how you interact with the application and its library of loops, instruments, and effect plug-ins.

You will take an entire Logic project from start to finish. You will open an empty Logic template and build the song from scratch, using the Loop Browser to preview and add loops. Then you’ll edit regions to build an arrangement, add effect plug-ins, mix, and export your song.

Opening Logic

You can open Logic by double-clicking the Logic icon in the application folder (Applications/Logic Pro), double-clicking a Logic project file, or clicking the Logic icon in your Dock. To get started, you will add Logic to the Dock, making it easy to access. You will then open it and open an existing song file.

  1. In the Finder, choose Go > Applications (or press Shift-Command-A).

    Opening Logic

    The Applications folder opens in a Finder window.

  2. Drag the Logic application icon to your Dock.

    Tip

    You can type the first few letters of the application name (lo should be sufficient) to quickly select the application file. You can then press Command–Down Arrow to open the selected application.

    Tip

    Drag the Logic icon to the Dock.

  3. In your Dock, click the Logic icon.

    Logic starts, and after a moment the Templates dialog opens.

    Note

    If you’ve already used Logic, the last project you worked on automatically opens when you open Logic. In the main menu bar, choose File > Close Project to close that project, then choose File > New to open the Templates dialog.

    The left column displays several folders containing collections of templates. The first three collections—Explore, Compose, and Produce—contain factory templates installed with Logic.

    Note
  4. In the Collection column, click Compose.

    All the templates from that collection appear in the right column.

    The Empty Project template is available in all the collections, and it is the one you are going to use for this exercise.

  5. Click Empty Project.

    An empty template opens, and a New Tracks dialog comes down from the Arrange window’s title bar. A Logic project always needs to have at least one track. For this exercise, the first track you will need is a software instrument track.

  6. In the Number field, enter 1. Select both the Software Instrument button and the Open Library checkbox.

    Note
  7. Click Create.

    A software instrument track is created, and the Media area opens on the right of the Arrange window, displaying the software instrument Library.

    Note

    Until you manually save the project to a hard disk, it lives only in the computer’s RAM, making it vulnerable to a power failure, a computer freeze or crash, or even a loss of notebook battery power. It is extremely important to regularly save your project as you progress.

  8. Choose File > Save (or press Command-S).

    Since this is the first time you’re saving your project, a Save As dialog opens. Anytime you save a file on a computer, you have to provide:

    1. A filename

    2. A location on the hard disk where you want to save the file

  9. In the Save As field, type your project name, My New Day. In the Where pop-up menu, choose Desktop (or press Command-D).

    Note
  10. Click Save (or press Enter or Return).

    Note

    Many desktop Logic users prefer the Enter key to the Return key because it is easier to reach, especially after entering a value from the numeric keypad. This book uses Enter as the final command in many steps, but the Return key works as well when confirming a dialog command or after entering a value in a parameter field.

    Note that the new project name is now on the Arrange window’s title bar.

You’re already on your way with your Logic project by opening an empty template and creating a software instrument track.

When you open an empty template, Logic opens the Arrange window, which will be your main work area. In the next section, you will examine the Arrange window and its working areas.

Exploring the Interface

As you work in Logic, you will spend most of your time in the Arrange window. The Arrange window has six areas. Aside from the main Arrange area and the Transport bar, each area can be opened and closed, giving you quick access to most of the features you need.

Note

By default, the Media or Lists area and the editing area (where you can open the Mixer or various editors) are closed. In the previous exercise, you selected Open Library when creating a new software instrument track, so the Library is open in the Media area.

Let’s now open the editing area.

  1. Click the Mixer button at the bottom of the Arrange window.

    Note

    The Mixer is displayed below the Arrange area.

    Note

    To resize the Editing area, position the mouse pointer between the Arrange area and the Editing area. The mouse pointer turns into a vertical double-arrow symbol, and you can drag vertically to resize the Editing area.

  2. Examine the areas of the Logic interface.

    The areas of the Arrange window are:

    • Arrange area

    • Editing area

    • Toolbar

    • Transport bar

    • Inspector

    • Media or Lists area

    Notice that one of the areas has an illuminated title bar. The illuminated title bar indicates the area that has key focus (and responds to key commands). You can click the title bar or background of an area to give it key focus.

    Tip

    You can also press Tab and Shift-Tab to cycle the key focus forward and backward through the Arrange window areas.

Tip

Arrange AreaThe Arrange area is where the magic happens. It displays the tracks that make up your song. You build a song by arranging audio and MIDI regions on the tracks located below the Bar ruler.

Editing AreaThe editing area can display the Mixer or various editors that let you edit the contents of MIDI or audio regions.

ToolbarThe customizable Toolbar provides quick one-button access to the features and settings you use the most.

Transport BarThe customizable Transport bar acts much like the controls of a CD player, offering transport buttons (Play, Record, Forward, Rewind, and others), information displays in the center (indicating the playhead position, tempo, time signature, and so on), and mode buttons (such as Cycle Mode and Metronome). For more information, see “Navigating the Project” later in this lesson.

InspectorThe Inspector includes a contextual set of parameters. Its contents automatically update depending on the area in key focus, the selected region, and the selected track.

Media or Lists AreaThe Media or Lists area displays media files (such as audio files and plug-in settings) or lists of events (such as MIDI events and tempo changes).

Starting a Project with Apple Loops

In a moment, you’ll learn more about navigating a project in the Logic interface, but you first need to fill out your project a bit. Using loops can be a great way to start. For the songwriter, loops can quickly provide inspiring rhythmic support, allowing you to focus on the chords and the melody. For the producer, they are a large resource of musical bits that can be layered with your tracks to add texture and interest.

The Apple Loops provided with Logic include professional recordings of top-shelf musicians along with software instrument settings designed by major sound designers. Since they are royalty free, you can use them for professional projects at no charge. In fact, as you become more familiar with Logic’s collection of Apple Loops, don’t be surprised if you start recognizing some of them on TV, on DVDs, or even in major movies.

Logic Express

If you haven’t installed the Apple Loops from this book’s DVD, be sure to install them before going further by following the steps in “Getting Started.”

Browsing and Previewing Loops

To start building a song, you need to preview loops and decide which ones to use. The Loop Browser is the perfect tool for the job. It allows you to browse loops by instrument, genre, mood, and other attributes.

  1. At the top of the Media area, click the Loops tab.

    The Loop Browser opens.

    Browsing and Previewing Loops
  2. In the Loop Browser, click the All Drums category button.

  3. In the search field, enter Trip Hop, and press Enter.

    The bottom part of the Loop Browser displays the Search Results list: all the drum loops that contain the text Trip Hop in their names. The first loop at the top of the Search Results list should be named Trip Hop 70s Room Beat.

    Logic Express

    Only one loop, Trip Hop Jungle Beat 01, will show in the Search Results list.

  4. In the Search Results list, click the first loop.

    Logic Express

    The loop’s note icon turns into a speaker and you can hear the loop. The loop automatically plays at your project’s tempo. Logic’s default tempo for a new project is 120 bpm (beats per minute), which is way too fast for trip-hop! That explains why that loop’s groove doesn’t sound quite right. Now is a good time to adjust your song’s tempo.

    You can adjust any setting in the Transport bar display fields by dragging numbers up and down, or by double-clicking a value and entering a new one.

  5. While the loop is playing, look at the Tempo display in the Transport bar. The default tempo is 120 bpm. Drag down the second digit (the 2 in 120) and listen to your loop get slower.

  6. Drag the tempo digits to set your tempo to 70.0000 (bpm). Now it sounds like trip-hop!

    Logic Express

    Tip

    The tempo adjusts by whole increments of the digit you drag. Drag one of the digits on the right of the decimal point when you need more precision, and drag the first or second digit on the left of the decimal point for rough adjustments.

    Now you can try directly entering a new tempo.

  7. Double-click the Tempo display.

    A text field appears.

  8. In the text field, enter 73, and press Enter.

    Tip

    The tempo is set to 73 bpm.

  9. In the Loop Browser, click the next loop (or press Down Arrow).

    The Loop Browser starts playing the next loop. You can press the Up Arrow and Down Arrow keys to listen to more loops until you find something you like.

    Logic Express

    Since your system has only one loop with Trip Hop in its name, the Search List’s selection won’t advance and you won’t hear any difference.

  10. Click the currently playing loop.

    The loop stops playing. Since you’re about to drag loops into the Arrange area to build a song, close the Mixer to increase your workspace.

  11. At the bottom of the Mixer, click the Mixer button.

    The Mixer closes.

  12. In the Loop Browser, scroll down through the alphabetical list of loops and click Trip Hop Jungle Beat 01.

    That’s a nice one! Let’s use it for the song.

  13. Drag the loop onto the Inst 1 track in the Arrange area, between the bar 1 and bar 2 grid lines.

    Logic Express

    The Inspector (the left area of the Arrange window) displays two channel strips: the selected Arrange track channel strip on the left, and the master output channel strip on the right. Logic automatically loads the necessary channel strip setting (the entire configuration of software instrument and effect plug-ins and their settings) to the selected Arrange track channel strip, and places the MIDI region containing the drum pattern on the track. The region snaps to the beginning of bar 1.

    The channel strip setting name (2-Step Remix Overdrive) is displayed in the Channel Strip Settings menu. The track header displays the track icon and track name.

    Logic Express

    The channel strip setting name is Dance Kit.

    Logic Express

    More Info

    In the Loop Browser, some loops have a blue waveform icon, while others have a green note icon. Blue loops are audio loops only: they can be used only as audio regions on audio tracks. Green loops are audio loops that also contain the MIDI region and the channel strip settings used to produce them. They can be used as audio regions on audio tracks (like blue loops), or as MIDI regions on instrument tracks. For more information, see Lesson 7, “Manipulating Tempo and Time Stretching.”

Now you have a drums groove that will be the foundation of your song. Later, you will select more loops that match the feel and style of those drums, so you can keep building the arrangement. Now, let’s learn how to find your way around your project.

Navigating the Project

One of the big advantages to producing music with a computer is that the whole song is laid out right before your eyes. This makes it extremely easy to jump to a certain part of the song, start playback, go back to the beginning, or continuously repeat a section.

Logic offers many ways to navigate a song. In the next two exercises, you will learn the Transport buttons and their keyboard commands; and you will learn to continuously repeat a section of the project, which will allow you to keep the drum loop playing as you preview more loops.

Using Transport Buttons and Key Commands

When producing music, time is of the essence. Many tasks are repetitive, and you will find yourself playing, stopping, and positioning the playhead every few seconds. Minimizing the time it takes you to perform those basic operations will greatly improve your workflow and save valuable time.

While it may seem easier at first to click buttons with the mouse, using key command shortcuts can really speed up your workflow. Try to memorize at least the basic set of key commands corresponding to the transport buttons in the Transport bar.

Note

Key command shortcuts for Logic buttons can differ on desktops and laptops. Throughout the book, when key command shortcuts are available for buttons they appear in parentheses following the first use of the button in the text. For more information on specific key commands, consult the manual for your particular setup.

Let’s tour the Transport buttons on the left of the Transport bar, and their corresponding default U.S. key commands.

Tip

In Logic, if you position your mouse pointer over a button and wait a couple of seconds, a yellow help tag appears displaying the name of the button. When a help tag appears, drag your mouse pointer over other buttons and their help tags will immediately appear.

Tip

Transport Buttons and Key Commands

Transport Button

Standard Key Command

Laptop Key Command

Go to Beginning

Return

unassigned

Play from Selection

Shift-Enter

Function-Shift-Return

Rewind

<

<

Forward

>

>

Fast Rewind

Shift-<

Shift-<

Fast Forward

Shift->

Shift->

Stop

0

Return

Play

Enter

Function-Return

Pause

. (on numeric keypad only)

Command-Enter

Record

*

R

If you click the Stop button (or press 0, or Return on a laptop) when Logic is stopped, the playhead returns to the beginning of the project.

You can also press the Spacebar to toggle between play and stop.

  1. Click the Play button.

    Transport Buttons and Key Commands

    The project starts playing, and you can hear the drum loop.

  2. Click the Stop button.

    Transport Buttons and Key Commands

    The project stops.

  3. Click the Stop button again.

    The playhead returns to the beginning of the project.

  4. Press the Spacebar.

    The project starts playing.

  5. Press the Spacebar again.

    The project stops playing.

  6. Click the background of the Arrange area.

    The Trip Hop Jungle Beat region is deselected. Clicking in the background of the Arrange area deselects all regions.

    Transport Buttons and Key Commands
  7. Click the Trip Hop Jungle Beat region.

    Transport Buttons and Key Commands

    The name of the region is highlighted, displayed in white letters over a black background, indicating that the region is selected. Notice the difference between the way Logic displays the region name when it is deselected and when it is selected.

  8. Click the “Play from Selection” button (or press Shift-Enter).

    The playhead jumps to the beginning of the selection (the Trip Hop Jungle Beat region) and playback starts.

  9. Click the Forward button a few times (or press > (right angle bracket)).

    As the project continues to play, the playhead jumps to the next bar each time you click the Forward button or each time you press >.

  10. Press the Spacebar.

    The project stops playing.

  11. Click the Rewind button a few times, or press < (left angle bracket).

    The playhead jumps to the previous bar each time you click the Rewind button or each time you press <.

  12. Press the Spacebar.

    The project stops playing.

Continuously Repeating a Section

You may often need to focus on a section of the arrangement and work on the section while it repeats over and over. In this exercise, you will turn on Cycle mode, adjust the cycle area to match the drums region, and continuously repeat that section as you preview and add more loops.

In the Bar ruler at the top of the Arrange area, you can see a rectangle in a lighter shade of gray, spanning bars 1 through 4. That rectangle indicates the positions of the left and right locators, which are the boundaries of the cycle area when the Cycle mode is on. The cycle area allows you to select a part of the song you want to continuously repeat.

  1. In the upper part of the Bar ruler, click the gray locators stripe.

    The cycle area turns green, indicating that Cycle mode is on.

    Continuously Repeating a Section
  2. Select the Trip Hop Jungle Beat region if it is not already selected.

  3. In the Toolbar, click the Set Locators button (or press Control-= (equal sign), or Control-’ (apostrophe) on a laptop).

    The cycle area matches the position and length of the selected region.

    Continuously Repeating a Section
  4. Press the Spacebar to start playback

    Logic starts cycling over the first two bars, allowing you to hear your drums loop as you preview other loops.

  5. While Logic is cycling through the drumbeat, at the upper left of the Loop Browser, click the Reset button.

    Continuously Repeating a Section

    The music-category buttons and search field are reset, and the Search Results list at the bottom is emptied.

  6. Click the Bass button, enter Bright Tone Bass in the search field, and press Enter.

  7. Click the first loop in the Search Results list.

    You can hear the bass loop while the drums loop is playing. The bass loop plays in time with the drums, at the project’s tempo.

  8. If necessary, adjust the volume of the loop you are previewing by dragging the volume slider at the bottom of the Loop Browser.

    Continuously Repeating a Section
  9. Drag Bright Tone Bass 03 below the drums track, in bar 1.

    Continuously Repeating a Section

    Logic automatically creates a new audio track, and the blue loop appears as an audio region.

    Continuously Repeating a Section
  10. Press Command-S to save your project.

    Continue adding loops by dragging them below the last track in the Arrange area, in bar 1. Remember to click the Reset button before each new search and, if necessary, click the X at the right of the search field to clear the previous search.

    Use the Loop Browser buttons and search field to find and add the following loops:

    • Deep Electric Piano 05 (click the Elec Piano button).

    • Orchestra Strings 03 (click both the Orchestral and the Strings buttons).

    • Wild Slide Distortion (enter Wild in the search field).

  11. Press the Spacebar to stop playback.

  12. Press Return to go the beginning.

  13. Click the Cycle area to turn the Cycle mode off.

Your Arrange area now has five tracks: drums, bass, piano, strings, and guitar.

Note

Depending on your system, the tracks may be in a different order. To reorder the tracks, drag the track headers vertically.

Note

The green regions (drums and piano) are MIDI regions on software instrument tracks, while the blue regions (bass, strings, and guitar) are audio regions on audio tracks.

Now that you have chosen the Apple Loops you will use, you are ready to start building the song.

Building an Arrangement

In Logic, you build projects by arranging regions on tracks, positioned below the Bar ruler. You need to determine where a region starts, how many times it is looped, and where it stops. When editing regions in the Arrange area, the same techniques apply to both MIDI and audio regions.

Before you start building the arrangement, let’s make sure you understand two fundamental concepts: Saving the project at regular intervals, and being able to undo the most recent actions.

Saving Your Work and Undoing Actions

Accidents do happen. While some of these will turn out to be happy events and improve your composition, at other times they turn out to be outright mistakes. It is therefore a good idea to save your song after every couple of steps. Remember that the key command to save your file is Command-S. Press it often!

On the other hand, don’t be afraid to experiment and to make mistakes. It is easy to undo your last action by choosing Edit > Undo Action (or pressing Command-Z). You can press that key command several times to retrace the steps you most recently performed. By default, Logic can undo the previous 30 steps.

Command-S (Save) and Command-Z (Undo) will quickly become your two new best friends, so commit them to memory now!

Looping and Positioning Regions

The first step in building your arrangement is to decide where each instrument should enter. By introducing instruments one after the other, you constantly give something new to the listeners, which keeps them excited and eager to discover what’s next.

  1. From the Arrange area local menu bar, choose Edit > Select All (or press Command-A).

    All five regions are selected and their names appear in white over black.

  2. In the Inspector’s Region Parameter box, click to select the Loop checkbox (or press L).

    All selected regions are looped until the end of the song (the default length for a song is 16 bars). The dimmed sections to the right of each region represent the region looping over and over.

    Looping and Positioning Regions
  3. Click in the background of the Arrange area (or press Shift-Command-A).

    All regions are deselected.

  4. Drag the Bright Tone Bass 03 loop toward the right and drop it on bar 2.

    As you perform an operation on a region, a yellow help tag displays the following information:

    • The operation you are about to perform (in the current step, it is Move Regions/Events)

    • The number of the track where you are (2 in the current step)

    • The name of the region you are working with (Bright Tone Bass 03)

    • The position of the operation (1 1 1 1 before you drag, 2 1 1 1 after you drag)

    • The length of the region (1 0 0 0)

    Looping and Positioning Regions

    The help tag displays positions and lengths in bars (or measures), beats, divisions and ticks. You will often refer to a position or a length with those four numbers.

    • The beat is the denominator in the time signature (1/4 note here).

    • The division is set in the Transport bar, below the time signature (1/16 note here).

    • A tick is the smallest possible time unit: there are 960 ticks in a quarter note, or 240 ticks in a 1/16 note.

    So in this case, moving the Bright Tone Bass 03 region to 2 1 1 1 means moving it to bar 2, beat 1, division 1, tick 1: exactly on bar 2.

    Looping and Positioning Regions

    At the left of the Transport bar, the current playhead position is displayed in SMPTE units on the top line, and bars, beats, divisions, and ticks on the bottom line.

    More Info

    SMPTE time code is used to synchronize picture and sound in video. SMPTE units are hours, minutes, seconds, frames, and sub-frames. You will learn more about SMPTE time code in Lesson 12.

  5. Drag the piano loop (Deep Electric Piano 05) to bar 5.

  6. Drag the strings loop (Orchestra Strings 03) to bar 9.

  7. Drag the guitar loop (Wild Slide Distortion) to bar 10.

  8. Press Return to go to the beginning of the song.

  9. Press the Spacebar to start playback.

You already have the foundation of a simple arrangement, starting with drum and bass patterns that groove together, and you’ve built on it by layering other elements like piano and strings as the song progresses.

More Info

Your next step is to decide where to eliminate some of the instruments and allow the arrangement to breathe a little.

Copying and Resizing Regions

Let’s edit the bass track to make the intro lighter in texture, letting the full bass loop kick in at bar 5 with the electric piano.

  1. Option-drag the Bright Tone Bass region to bar 5.

    Dragging a region moves it, but Option-dragging makes a copy and lets you place the copy. Now you can manipulate the bass region in the intro; but, starting on bar 5, the full loop will play repeatedly. Notice that while you Option-drag a region the help tag now reads Copy Regions/Events.

    Copying and Resizing Regions

    Tip

    In Logic, when you use modifier keys such as Shift, Control, Command, or Option while dragging, it is most important which key is depressed at the time you release the mouse button. In fact, you can switch modifier keys while dragging, and the help tag will reflect the change, displaying the appropriate operation. To successfully copy a region by Option-dragging it, make sure you release the mouse button before you release the Option key.

  2. In bar 2, select the Bright Tone Bass region.

  3. In the Inspector’s Region Parameter box, click to deselect the Loop checkbox (or press L).

    The region’s Loop parameter is turned off, and the region does not loop anymore.

    You are about to shorten the bass region, but first you will zoom in on it so you can see individual bass notes in the waveform.

  4. Press Control-Option-Z (the “Zoom to fit Selection” command).

    The selected region fills the Arrange area and you can clearly identify individual notes in the waveform.

    Tip
  5. Click the “Play from Selection” button in the Transport bar (or press Shift-Enter).

    Listen to your bass pattern while looking at the waveform. You are going to shorten the bass region to remove the last three notes.

  6. Position your mouse pointer over the lower-right corner of the region.

    The mouse pointer turns into a Resize tool.

    Tip

    You can use the Resize tool to adjust the start or end of a region.

  7. While looking at the waveform, drag the corner of the region to the left, shortening the region to hide the last three notes.

    The help tag length information should read . 2 2 0: The edited region is two beats and two divisions (sixteenth notes) long. Let’s zoom out. Depending on your zoom level, the Resize tool may snap to another value. Get it as close as possible, but don’t worry if your help tag doesn’t read exactly . 2 2 0.

    Tip
  8. Press the Navigation: Back key command, Control-Z.

    Logic returns you to the previous zoom level, displaying your whole arrangement. You now have a nice short bass pattern in measure 2 that is perfect for the introduction.

  9. Choose File > Save (or press Command-S).

    The project is saved.

    You need to repeat the same bass pattern twice in bars 3 and 4, before the full bass loop kicks in at bar 5.

  10. In the Arrange area’s local menu bar, choose Region > Repeat Regions (or press Command-R).

    Tip

    The Repeat Regions/Events dialog opens, allowing you to create copies of the region and snap them to the desired grid unit.

  11. In the Number of Copies text field, enter 2. In the Adjustment menu, choose Bar, and click OK.

    Tip

    The shortened bass region is copied twice on the downbeats of bars 3 and 4.

    Tip
  12. Press Command-S.

    The song file is saved.

  13. Go the beginning of the song and listen to your new introduction.

You now have a nice little introduction. The song starts with the drums groove, then a shortened version of the bass riff is introduced and repeated three times. On bar 5, the whole bass line starts just as the electric piano joins in.

Adjusting Loop Repetitions

Before you move on to arrange the strings and slide guitar parts, you will adjust the number of repetitions of the electric piano so it stops on bar 9, leaving some space in the mix for the next section.

  1. Position your mouse pointer over the upper part of the piano loops (the dimmed parts to the right of the region).

    The mouse pointer switches to a loop tool. You can use the tool to precisely adjust the point where a region stops looping.

  2. Hold down the Loop-length tool at bar 9.

    Adjusting Loop Repetitions

    The help tag reads Loop 9 1 1 1 (2), meaning that the region is looped until the first downbeat of bar 9, and the loop plays twice.

  3. Press Command-S.

    The song file is saved.

Tip

Once you become more proficient with Logic, you can use the Loop tool by clicking where you want to cut off the loop without holding down the mouse button. For now, holding down the mouse button displays the help tag, which allows you to make sure the loop will stop exactly where you want. If the help tag doesn’t read 9 1 1 1, you can drag the mouse left or right until it does, then release the mouse button to perform the cut.

The song is starting to take shape! It has a nice sparse intro, then a fuller grooving section with the electric piano. Let’s work on the strings and slide guitar section.

Arranging a Middle Section

One modern production trick is to recreate a music phrase composed of pieces of phrases from different instruments. It is the modern equivalent of the classic call-and-response dialogue that blues singers and guitarists perform when jamming: the singer sings a short phrase, and then the guitarist answers it with a short lick.

In this song, you are going to perform that trick using the strings for the call, and the slide guitar for the response.

  1. Select the Orchestra Strings region.

  2. Press L.

    That region’s Loop parameter is turned off, and the region does not loop anymore.

  3. Position the mouse pointer on the lower-right corner of the strings region until the Resize tool appears. Drag to the left to halve the size of the region.

    Arranging a Middle Section

    The help tag indicates that the resized region is one bar long.

  4. Select the Wild Slide Distortion region.

  5. Press L.

    That region’s Loop parameter is turned off, and the region does not loop anymore.

  6. Drag the region’s lower-right corner to bar 11.

    The resized region is one bar long.

    Arranging a Middle Section

    You have recreated a two-bar phrase composed of one bar of strings followed by one bar of slide guitar. The strings play a simple quarter-note motif. The slide guitar repeats and sustains the last note played by the strings, and then slides back into the first note of the strings motif. If you repeat that new phrase a few times, the slide guitar will take you right back into the strings motif.

    You can use the same Repeat Regions command you used earlier to repeat a group of regions.

  7. Click in the background and drag the mouse pointer, making sure that the rectangular green highlight touches both the strings and the slide regions.

    Both regions are selected.

    Tip

    When selecting regions, make sure you always start dragging in the background. If the mouse pointer is over a region when you start dragging, you will move the region.

    Tip
  8. In the Arrange area’s local menu bar, choose Region > Repeat Regions (or press Command-R). The Number of Copies field should still be set to 2, and the Adjustment menu to Bar, so click OK.

    This time the whole selection, which contains two regions, is repeated twice.

    Tip
  9. Select the first Orchestra Strings region on bar 9.

  10. Click the “Play from Selection” button (or press Shift-Enter).

    Playback starts at the beginning of the selection, on bar 9, and you can listen to your new dialogue between the strings and the guitar.

Ending the Song

Now would be a good time to wrap up the song. You will bring back the electric piano, let it groove for a while, and create an ending for the song on bar 21. First, you will need to zoom out of the Arrange area to make space for the ending.

  1. At the lower right of the Arrange area, drag the horizontal zoom slider to the left (or press Control–Left Arrow).

    Ending the Song

    The whole arrangement zooms out horizontally. Look at the Bar ruler, and try to display at least 23 bars in the Arrange area. Depending on your screen size, you might also want to zoom in vertically.

  2. Drag the vertical zoom slider down (or press Control–Down Arrow).

    The whole arrangement zooms in vertically.

    The zoom sliders are an easy means of zooming the whole arrangement. Once again, commit the Control–Left Arrow/Right Arrow commands to memory, and save your right arm a trip to the sliders every time you need to zoom. The commands are listed at the end of this lesson.

  3. Option-drag the Deep Electric Piano region to bar 15, right after the end of the last Wild Slide Guitar region.

    Ending the Song

    The region is copied along with its single loop. To create an ending for the song, you will stop all the still-looping regions at the same place. The last piano loop is still selected, so you will add the drum loop and bass loop to the selection by Shift-clicking them.

  4. Shift-click the drums loop and the last bass loop (on bar 5).

    Shift-clicking allows you to select several regions at once when there is no easy way to drag a rectangle across them as you did earlier for the strings and guitar regions.

  5. Position the mouse pointer over the top part of one of the looping sections.

    The mouse pointer switches to the Loop tool.

  6. Option-drag the Loop tool to bar 21.

    All three regions stop looping on bar 21. When using the Loop tool on multiple regions, holding down Option makes all the looping sections stop at the same place.

    Ending the Song
  7. In the lower half of the Bar ruler, double-click about a bar before the end.

    The playback starts where you double-clicked. It sounds a little abrupt: Usually musicians end a song by playing the last note on the downbeat of the last bar. Since the loops are cut off right on the downbeat, that last note is missing.

    You can adjust the end of the bass and the piano loops so they play one more note on the next downbeat.

  8. Press the Spacebar to stop playback.

  9. Click in the background of the Arrange area.

    All the regions are deselected.

    This time, you need to zoom in on the ending of the bass and the electric piano tracks to precisely adjust where both instruments will end.

  10. Control-Option-drag around the last bar (bar 20) on both the bass and the piano tracks.

    Ending the Song

    The mouse pointer switches to the Zoom tool, and the highlighted area is zoomed in.

  11. On the bass track, drag the Loop tool to the right to uncover one more note, until the help tag reads 21 2 1 1.

    You can see the final note in the waveform.

    Ending the Song
  12. On the piano track, drag the Loop tool to the right to uncover the beginning of the first note in bar 21, until the help tag reads 21 1 3 1.

    On MIDI regions, notes are displayed as horizontal lines. Here, the low note is in the lower part of the looped region. As long as the attack of a note is visible, Logic will sustain the note for its whole length.

    Now you can zoom out to see your entire arrangement.

    Ending the Song
  13. Control-Option-click anywhere in the Arrange area.

    The arrange area returns to the previous zoom level, showing you your complete arrangement.

    Ending the Song
  14. Listen to your arrangement.

You should now have a basic understanding of how to manipulate regions to create an arrangement in Logic. Your basic editing techniques are as follows:

  1. Drag a region to move it.

  2. Option-drag a region to copy it.

  3. Place the mouse pointer at the lower-corner of a region to resize it.

  4. Place the mouse pointer at the upper-right corner of a region to loop it.

You also learned basic zooming techniques:

  1. Control-Option-drag on an area to zoom in on that area, and Control-Option-click anywhere to return to the previous zoom level.

  2. Press Control–Right Arrow to zoom in horizontally, Control–Left Arrow to zoom out horizontally.

  3. Press Control–Down Arrow to zoom in vertically, Control–Up Arrow to zoom out vertically.

  4. Press Control-Option-Z to zoom in on the selection, and Control-Z to return to the previous zoom level.

Feel free to experiment on your own, and be creative! Try adding sections, or creating breaks in some parts. Use short breaks in the drums or bass tracks to trigger attention. They remove the foundation that listeners take for granted. You wake them up, then bring them back into the full groove.

As an additional exercise, try to stop the bass from looping just before the last section (on 14 2 1 1), and have it return for the end (on 15 1 1 1).

Mixing the Song

Once you have arranged the song, the next step is to mix the song before you can export it as a stereo file. Mixing is the art of blending the instruments, carefully balancing their volume and frequency spectrum, and giving them a place in the stereo sound field.

As you finish the project, you use the Mixer to adjust the level of each track and its stereo position, and add processing plug-ins to sculpt the sounds. In the following exercises, you will mix the middle section: the exchanges between the strings and guitar.

Preparing for Mixing

When mixing, you can use Cycle mode to repeat a section of the song, so you don’t have to worry about navigating the song while you focus on making that section sound better as you work in the Mixer.

In this exercise, you will open the Mixer, rename the channel strips, and adjust the cycle area to match the middle section of the song.

  1. At the bottom of the Arrange window, click the Mixer button (or press X).

    The Mixer opens.

    Preparing for Mixing

    Note

    Depending on your screensize, you may need to resize the Mixer area so you can still see your tracks in the Arrange area. You may also have to scroll the Mixer area vertically to see the entire channel strips.

    The Mixer shows you the channel strips that correspond to the tracks in the Arrange area. All those channel strips are mixed onto the Output 1-2 channel strip. The Arrange area stacks tracks vertically, while the Mixer stacks channel strips horizontally, so the channel strips are displayed left to right in the same order that they are displayed top to bottom in the Arrange area.

    The names of the channel strips are not really descriptive. You can rename a channel strip by double-clicking the name in the corresponding track’s header.

  2. In track 1, double-click the drums track’s name.

    A text field appears.

    Note
  3. Type Drums, and press Enter.

    The first channel strip in the mixer displays the new name, Drums.

    Set the remaining track names:

    • Track 2 to Bass

    • Track 3 to Piano

    • Track 4 to Strings

    • Track 5 to Guitar

      Note

    In the Mixer, all the channel strips display the new names.

    Note

    Now let’s adjust the cycle area to the middle section of the song.

  4. Select all six Orchestra Strings and Wild Slide Distortion regions.

  5. In the Toolbar, click Set Locators.

    The Cycle mode is turned on, and the cycle area adjusts to fit the selection.

    Note

    From now on, when you use the Spacebar to toggle between play and stop, playback will always start at the beginning of the first strings region at bar 9.

Adjusting Levels

Each channel strip has a level meter, a clip detector on top of the meter, a volume fader to adjust the level, and a Pan/Balance control to adjust the stereo position. Below the volume fader, a Mute button allows you to silence that channel strip, and a Solo button allows you to listen to that channel strip by itself.

Adjusting Levels

Notice that the Guitar channel strip is selected. The Guitar track was the last track selected in the Arrange area when you renamed it, which is why its channel strip is selected in the Mixer.

Tip

In Logic, selecting something in one area or window usually results in the same element being selected in other Logic areas or windows. For example, selecting a track in the Arrange area results in the selection of that track’s channel strip in the Mixer, and vice versa.

  1. Play the song.

    The clip detector at the top of the Output 1-2 channel strip is hitting the red. That’s not good! Notice that it reads 3.0. That means Logic’s output is overloading by 3 dB.

    Tip
  2. In the Drums channel strip, drag the level fader down –8.2 (dB).

    Tip
  3. On the Output 1-2 channel strip, click the clip detector.

    The clip detector is reset and starts tracking the new peak level. It no longer hits the red. Good.

  4. On both the Drums and the Bass channel strips, click the Solo buttons.

    Tip

    The Solo buttons turn yellow, and you can hear only the Drums and the Bass tracks. This makes it easy to balance the level of the bass against the drums without the distraction of other instruments that are not yet mixed. Now that you’ve turned down the drums, you can hear that the bass needs a little taming.

  5. In the Bass channel strip, lower the level fader to –2.7 (dB).

  6. Option-click one of the yellow (engaged) Solo buttons.

    Both Solo buttons turn off simultaneously.

    In trip-hop, you want to keep the drums and bass “in your face.” The only way to achieve that balance without overloading the mix is to turn down all the other instruments. If you feel your mix starts to sound weak, don’t be fooled: simply turn up the volume on your audio interface or monitoring system.

  7. In the Strings channel strip, lower the level fader to –9.1 (dB).

  8. In the Guitar channel strip, lower the level fader to –20 (dB).

  9. Press the Spacebar to stop playback.

Using Processing Plug-Ins

At the top of each channel strip, a Setting button gives you access to thousands of factory channel strip settings for both instrument and audio tracks. Again, a channel strip setting is a collection of all the plug-ins on a channel strip, along with their individual settings.

Below the Setting button are the EQ display and the Insert slots for processing plug-ins.

Using Processing Plug-Ins

Another technique to keep the drums and bass sounding big is to make the other instruments sound thinner. First you will try a few channel strip settings to change the sound of the guitar.

  1. At the top of the Guitar channel strip, click the Setting button to open the Channel Strip Settings menu, and choose 08 Warped Processors > 03 Lo-Fi Processors > Be Valved.

    Using Processing Plug-Ins

    The channel strip setting loads, inserting a Limiter, a Bit Crusher, a Channel EQ, and another Limiter plug-ins and their settings to give that particular Lo-Fi sound. The Setting button now displays this channel strip setting’s name, Be Valved.

  2. Press the Spacebar.

    Playback starts at the beginning of the cycle area, and you can hear the effect of the chosen channel strip setting on the guitar.

  3. Hold down the mouse button on the Setting button for a moment to open the Channel Strip Settings menu again, but don’t choose anything.

    Using Processing Plug-Ins

    At the top of the menu you see the name of the current setting, and right below it, Next Channel Strip Setting and Previous Channel Strip Setting, with their corresponding key commands: Shift-] (right bracket) and Shift-[ (left bracket).

    Tip

    Once you find a function on a menu, it is a good habit to look at the corresponding key command. Then, close the menu and use the key command. By forcing yourself to use keyboard shortcuts the first time you execute commands, you are bound to memorize them faster, accelerating your workflow.

  4. Keep the song playing and Press Shift-] .

    The next channel strip setting loads, and the Setting button displays its abbreviated name, Dark Noi (for Noisealyzer).

  5. Press Shift-] two more times, listening to the two following channel strip settings, and watch as the Setting button displays their names: Loop-A(-Zooid), and, the one you’re going to use, Mud-Can.

    The guitar is a little too loud, so let’s lower its level.

  6. In the Guitar channel strip, lower the fader to –27 (dB).

Panning Instruments and Copying Plug-Ins

Remember that your initial goal is to get the strings and the guitar to have a conversation. You will realize this concept by panning them to either side of the stereo field while making them sound a little more alike, placing them in the same range of frequencies. In the Mud-Can channel strip setting, the Guitar Amp Pro plug-in is mainly responsible for the resulting sound, so you will copy that plug-in and its settings on the Strings channel strip.

  1. In the Strings channel strip, drag the Balance control down to –15.

    Even though the Balance control is a rotary knob, you adjust it like any other setting in Logic: drag the Balance control vertically, starting dragging in the middle of the control knob.

    Panning Instruments and Copying Plug-Ins

    The strings move to the left.

  2. Drag the Guitar channel strip’s Balance control up to +14.

    The guitar moves to the right.

    Panning Instruments and Copying Plug-Ins

    Now let’s copy the Guitar Amp Pro plug-in from the Guitar channel strip to the Strings channel strip.

  3. Option-Command-drag the GtrAmpPro plug-in to a Strings channel strip Insert slot on the left.

    Panning Instruments and Copying Plug-Ins

    A copy of the plug-in, with identical settings, is inserted on the Strings channel strip.

    The Strings are now slightly too loud.

  4. In the Strings channel strip, lower the fader to –11 (dB).

    Now let’s listen to a section with the electric piano to adjust its level.

  5. In the Arrange area, select one of the Deep Electric Piano regions and click the “Play from Selection” button (or press Shift-Enter).

    Logic starts playing the song from the selection, even though you have Cycle mode turned on.

  6. In the Piano channel strip, lower the fader to –4.8 (dB).

  7. Click the Mixer button again to close the Mixer, click the Cycle area to turn off Cycle mode, and listen to your song.

The song is finished! You started from nothing and used the Loop Browser to select five loops; created an arrangement by moving, looping, and editing regions; and mixed the five instruments. You can now export the mix and share it with your friends and family.

Exporting the Mix

When you are finally happy with the way your song sounds, it’s time to export it. In this exercise, you will export an MP3 file. The process of rendering the mix into a single stereo file that you can burn onto a CD or use in other applications is called bouncing.

First, you must adjust the project length to define the bounce range. At the top of the Arrange area, look at the Bar ruler. The last region in your song is the bass, and it stops a little after bar 21. If you listen to the song’s end, you’ll notice that the last piano note sustains for a while, so you will end the song on bar 24 to avoid cutting off the last note.

  1. In the Transport bar, below the Tempo display, drag the Project End display down to set the project length to 24 bars.

    Exporting the Mix

    Let’s make sure the song plays until the end.

  2. Double-click the lower half of the Bar ruler around bar 20 to play the end of the song.

    The last electric piano note is not cut off.

    The bounce range can also be defined by the cycle area, or by selecting regions. To bounce the entire song, make sure Cycle mode is turned off and no regions are selected.

  3. Click the background of the Arrange area.

    All the regions are deselected.

  4. Choose File > Bounce.

    You are going to export the project as an audio file, so the Bounce window looks like a Save As window with name, location, and bounce options at the bottom.

    Make sure the Start and End positions correspond to your entire song. Start should read 1 1 1 1 and End should read 24 1 1 1. If they don’t, you can adjust them now by dragging the digits vertically.

    Exporting the Mix
  5. Name the bounce file New Day; and, in the Where pop-up menu, choose Desktop, or press Command-D.

    You can choose from four different destinations for your bounce file:

    1. PCM: uncompressed audio file (AIFF, WAVE, CAF, and Sound Designer II)

    2. MP3: compressed audio file

    3. M4A: compressed audio file format used by iTunes and iPod

    4. Burn: a file burned directly from Logic onto a CD or DVD-A

  6. Deselect PCM, and select MP3.

  7. Click Bounce.

    A progress indicator appears, tracking Logic bouncing the mix.

    Exporting the Mix

    Once finished, a second progress bar tracks Logic as it converts the mix to an MP3 file.

    Exporting the Mix

    Once the Progress windows disappear, the file is ready.

  8. On your desktop, double-click the file New Day.mp3.

    Tip

    You can use Mac OS X key commands to help complete this last step. Press Command-Tab to switch to the Finder, then press Option-Command-H to hide other applications so you can see your desktop. Type the first few letters of your song or use arrow keys to select it, and press Command–Down Arrow to open it.

    Tip

    The file opens in QuickTime (or in your default mp3 player) and you can listen to your very first Logic mix. Your MP3 file is ready to be shared in an e-mail or uploaded to a website!

    Tip

Lesson Review

1.

How many areas are in the Arrange window, and what are their names?

2.

How do you know which area will respond to key commands?

3.

How do you adjust a setting (such as the tempo) in Logic?

4.

Which kinds of regions go on software instrument tracks and audio tracks?

5.

What units displayed in the help tag indicate a length or a position in the project?

6.

How do you move or copy a region in the Arrange area?

7.

In what order are channel strips displayed in the Mixer?

8.

What is a channel strip setting?

9.

What are the steps to take to export your mix?

Answers

1.

There are six areas in the Arrange window: Arrange area, editing area, Media or Lists area, Inspector, Toolbar, and Transport bar.

2.

The area that has key focus responds to key commands and also has an illuminated title bar.

3.

Drag a value up and down to increase or decrease it, or double-click to access a data field in which you can directly enter a new value.

4.

MIDI regions go on software instrument tracks; audio regions go on audio tracks.

5.

Bars, beats, divisions, and ticks.

6.

Drag a region to move it; Option-drag a region to copy it.

7.

Channel strips are displayed left to right in the same order that they are displayed top to bottom in the Arrange area.

8.

The collection of all the plug-ins on a channel strip, including each plug-in’s settings.

9.

Adjust the project length, deselect all regions and turn off Cycle mode, choose File > Bounce, choose a destination, and click Bounce.

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