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Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching
Illustration by John Hersey

Editing vocal phrasing to work with 4/4 time


From:

Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching

with Josh Harris

Video: Editing vocal phrasing to work with 4/4 time

Now it's time to dive in and edit our vocal in our new time signature of 4/4. Before we play the vocal, I will mute the snare drum, but I will unmute it later on once you've done more vocal editing. I'll unmute the vocal track and take a listen to where the first note of the first verse starts. (music playing) Right off the bat I can hear that the 6/8 phrasing doesn't just work against the 4/4 time signature.
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  1. 5m 36s
    1. Welcome
      1m 41s
    2. What you should know before watching this course
      46s
    3. Why did we record this course in four different digital audio workstations (DAWs)?
      45s
    4. Using the exercise files
      2m 24s
  2. 3m 4s
    1. What is time stretching/expanding?
      1m 4s
    2. Exploring different time-stretching scenarios in remixing
      2m 0s
  3. 31m 17s
    1. Understanding where to get a capella vocal tracks
      2m 30s
    2. Time stretching in Pro Tools
      6m 44s
    3. Time stretching in Logic Pro
      4m 51s
    4. Time stretching in Reason
      5m 17s
    5. Time stretching in Ableton Live
      5m 16s
    6. Understanding the roles of multiple DAWs in a time-stretching workflow
      1m 2s
    7. Dealing with wet vocal stems
      4m 2s
    8. Choosing the tempo for different styles or genres
      1m 35s
  4. 21m 6s
    1. Importing vocals and using the 10% time-stretch rule
      7m 42s
    2. Comparing several vocal time stretches at faster BPMs
      6m 20s
    3. Putting the time-stretched vocal in context
      7m 4s
  5. 26m 43s
    1. Setting up your session for double timing a vocal
      7m 27s
    2. Double timing the music and then time stretching the vocals to a slower BPM
      8m 54s
    3. Putting the time-stretched vocal in context
      10m 22s
  6. 28m 53s
    1. Setting up your session to slow down a vocal track
      2m 34s
    2. Calculating the BPM and tempo of the original track
      4m 18s
    3. Time stretching the vocals to a slower BPM
      6m 46s
    4. Comping the time-stretched vocal and the original vocal
      6m 49s
    5. Putting the time-stretched vocal in context
      8m 26s
  7. 54m 12s
    1. Starting from a pre-existing Pro Tools multitrack session
      13m 34s
    2. Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track, part one
      9m 55s
    3. Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track, part two
      7m 37s
    4. Subdividing 6/8 time and changing the time signature to 4/4
      7m 5s
    5. Editing vocal phrasing to work with 4/4 time
      7m 0s
    6. Time stretching the vocals to a faster BPM
      9m 1s
  8. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching
2h 51m Intermediate Jun 28, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Josh Harris demonstrates time-stretching techniques in four of the major digital audio workstations: Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Reason, and Ableton Live. Josh covers the basic time-stretching treatments, where minimal tempo adjustment is needed, and then moves into more difficult territory—remixing at a much slower or faster tempo than what the original tracks were recorded at—where time stretching is pushed to the extreme. Another technique shows how to create a composite vocal from multiple time-stretched tracks. Each lesson employs real-world musical examples to clearly show where each time-stretching technique is useful and how the results of time stretching affect the sound of a song.

Topics include:
  • What is time stretching or expanding?
  • Understanding how time stretching fits into the remixing process
  • Working in Pro Tools, Logic Pro, Ableton Live, or Reason
  • Calculating the tempo of the original track
  • Dealing with wet vocal stems
  • Importing vocals with the 10% time-stretch rule
  • Comparing time-stretched vocals at faster tempos
  • Putting a time-stretched vocal in context
  • Setting up a session for double-timing a vocal
  • Creating a 4/4 remix from a song originally in 3/4 or 6/8
  • Tightening up a vocal that drifts from the click track
Subjects:
Audio + Music Music Production Music Editing Remixing
Software:
Ableton Live Logic Pro Pro Tools Reason
Author:
Josh Harris

Editing vocal phrasing to work with 4/4 time

Now it's time to dive in and edit our vocal in our new time signature of 4/4. Before we play the vocal, I will mute the snare drum, but I will unmute it later on once you've done more vocal editing. I'll unmute the vocal track and take a listen to where the first note of the first verse starts. (music playing) Right off the bat I can hear that the 6/8 phrasing doesn't just work against the 4/4 time signature.

So what we're going to need to do is go in and cut up each phrase and shove it over a little bit later, because we've essentially added a quarter note to our time signature. So before I even make my first edit point, I'm going to mute the vocal and sing where I feel the vocal should start. (music playing) Sorry to subject you all to my singing.

But it's more for a reference point of where the beat should fall. Let's play the vocal muted, and I'll keep my start point in my head of where I believe the vocal should land. (music playing) Right on 16/3. I zoom in on my clip and use my Command+E to make a slice, expand out, I want to make sure that I don't shift regions without grabbing all the regions. In other words, if I bring this over to the right, I need to make sure that I'm preserving my clip edits from pervious movies.

I'll Command+Z to restore everything back to normal. I'm highlighting everything from the start of the vocal to the end of the song. And I prefer to use this technique to move vocals around. Option+H brings up the Shift menu, and we know that we're going to move things for the most part 1 measure later. We'll start with a 1-bar denomination, and I just moved everything by 1 bar. So let's go back to 15, unmute the vocal, and take a listen.

(music playing) It still feels a little bit late. I'll highlight all of my clips, go up to Earlier and move it by 1 quarter note, go back to 15 and play it and take a listen. (music playing) So every phrase will most likely need to be shifted over at least 1 full measure.

But we're not going to just do that and not listen. Because some phrases may need two beats, three beats. We have to just figure out some sort of framework and then begin to shift the vocals over and then go in and fine-tune them if they're not accurate. I'll start by moving this over 1 measure, go back to 15. (music playing) I'll zoom in on my clip, we're at 22/4, zoom out.

So as you can see, there is a lot of zooming in and zooming out, grabbing all of your clips, moving things over by 1 measure, and starting there as a reference point, going back to 15. (music playing) Now this is an arbitrary decision. Just like the first line of the first verse, I could shift this over to the left, so it comes earlier by 1 quarter note.

Go back to measure 15 and see how this feels. (music playing) That feels a little too early to me. Let's go back to the way we had it, Command+Z, go back to 15. (music playing) We'll go with that.

Moving on to the next phrase, highlighting all of my clips, shifting over 1 full measure later, and we don't have to go back to 15, we'll start at measure 19. (music playing) Moving on to the next phrase. The reason that I'm bringing the playhead back several measures is that when you're doing something like this, you have to pre-roll the section far enough in advance so that you have an anchor of where you are.

If I just start the playhead 1 bar before my edit point, I'm not really going to feel where I am in the phrase. We think of these as 4-bar phrases. And if I don't give myself at least 4 to 8 bars of pre-roll to listen to the edit point that I just made, I might feel a little bit confused and actually not properly place the vocals. Now we made that edit. Now I'll start at measure 29. (music playing) That particular phrase could go either way. It could probably be shifted by a quarter note one way or the other.

But again, these are decisions that you might make further on down the road when you've actually got more of a track together. The goal with this movie is to simply show you how to go about editing a vocal that wasn't 6/8 time in 4/4 time and where you need to insert space into the phrase. Some of the final decisions of vocal placement won't occur until the track is substantially further along.

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