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In Logic Pro 9 Essential Training, Scott Hirsch explains how to harness the power and flexibility of Logic Pro, Apple’s popular songwriting software, to record, edit, and mix music. The course includes instruction on how to compose in Logic Pro, and spend more time being creative and less time dealing with technical uncertainties. Scott focuses on setting up a workspace, recording with both live performers and digital instruments, editing and arranging, and mixing and mastering a composition. Exercise files accompany the course.
Using Flex Time to make out of time region or performances work in a project is very cool, but sometimes you'll find yourself in a situation with a live band where tempo fluctuations occur naturally. The ebb and flow of the tempo when a band plays a song together, are a part of what makes a song feel live. In other words, you like the imperfect tempo and you want to keep it like that. In this lesson, we'll learn how to use the Beat Mapping features of Logic, and with these you can map out the grid of your Logic project to match these tempo fluctuations. The best way to start this process is to single out a drum part that has all the rhythmic timing elements clearly defined.
In this case, we'll use the Kick drum. The next step is to get a ballpark reading on the average tempo of the drum part. This will obviously change over the course of the song. We need to get a starting point. So on the Kick drum's Channel Strip, we're going to open an Insert. This is under Metering, and it's called BPM Counter. BPM Counter basically listens to incoming audio and tells us a rough estimate of the beats per minute. (Music playing.) Okay, it tells us that average tempo is about 134.7.
So let's make our project tempo 134.7, for starters. Go into the Transport, double-click, type in 134.7, hit Enter, and now we have a rough ballpark tempo. Let's see if we stay on the whole time. I'm going to move it to the end of the song. I'll turn on the Metronome to see if it's on time. (Music playing.) See, already by about the midpoint in the song, the band has gotten off from that tempo. That's okay. We are going to use Beat Mapping to fix this.
Bring your cursor to the beginning of the song and to turn on Beat Mapping, we need to configure our global view. So go to View > Configure Global Tracks. Here, we can turn on the Beat Mapping lane. Click Done. Open the Beat Mapping lane up nice and big. Let's also pull out the Kick track so we can see it nice and big. Make sure the region is selected and click Detect on the Beat Mapping lane. It's going to ask if you want to overwrite existing transients. Let's say Yes. It's analyzing the Kick track. It's looking at the transients that are there. Okay, great.
Now I need to zoom in a little bit. I am going to zoom in pretty far here to really see what's going on. So in the Beat Mapping lane, we have Logic's grid above the top and then we have, on the bottom, where Logic thinks the transients are in the region. You can see, like in the case of this first beat, it's slightly off from where the timing grid is. So in Beat Mapping what we can do is drag from the top over to the transient and we can form a tempo for that location. Beat Mapping takes a little while because you've to do this beat by beat. Some of them are right on.
This one is slightly off. Let's move it over. You just click and drag and it sets it. So again, some of these beats are going to be right on. Other ones might need more adjustment. This ones look okay. I'm going to go down a little bit. This one is little off, just click it back. Here we go. This one is little off, click that back. This one is little off, click that back and go off. It takes a little bit of time. But you'll be happy later, once you set this all up. These ones are getting off. The drummer speeding up a little bit.
Do a couple more and then we'll zoom out and see what we have done. Okay, I am going to use a Ctrl+Option+ Left Arrow to zoom out a little bit. As you can see, we are starting the change the tempo over the course of the song. I have another project where we have done this already. Let's close this one and open that one. We'll open the Global Tracks. We'll open the Tempo so we can see what's going on. You can see here, the tempo fluctuates slightly over the course of this song. The Beat Mapping has been done for the whole song and it goes all the way to the end. If you want to hear what it sounds like, once the song has been beat mapped perfectly, you can turn on the Metronome and we can listen.
That way we'll hear the Logic's timing grid against our song. (Music playing.) Let's get rid of that problem area we heard before and see if it's on time. (Music playing.) See, I think it was around here. (Music playing.) Let's check the end of the song and make sure it's on time there. (Music playing.) Pretty good. This song has been completely beat mapped, and now it matches with Logic's timing grid.
Many of our favorite older rock music was recorded on tape without the benefits of Flex Time, and the idea that everything has to be locked in to an unchanging tempo. With this technique, you can keep the breathing room of a natural performance intact and still reap the rewards of Logic's timing grid.
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