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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.
One of my favorite definitions of music is by a French avant-garde composer Edgard Var?se, who said, "Music is organized sound." Logic software instruments and your awesome recording techniques have the sound part covered. Now we'll use quantization to deal with how those sounds are organized in time. Quantization is the rhythmic correction of audio or MIDI to a specific time grid. Here we'll learn how to use MIDI quantization. Let's listen to this song. (Music playing.) Okay, the drum sounds a little generic.
Very straight and drum machine like and the bass is pretty off-rhythm. We'll use Region Quantize first to fix the bass part. Region Quantize can be done within the Region parameter box on the left-hand side of the screen in the Inspector pane. The Region parameter box will show you the contents of the region you have selected. In this case, the region is called Liverpool Bass and we're seeing the parameters for that region in this box. Quantizing is a nondestructive process and you can always get back to the original performance. Right now, the quantizing for a region is in the default or Quantize Off setting.
No quantizing is happening. Let's open this pulldown menu and we'll get to see all the quantizing options for that region. These are all the Quantize options we have. At the very top of this pulldown menu, we've got some quantizing options for mixed and odd meter quantization. Swing quantization, which impose some human feel grooves, are next. There are the ones with the letters after them. At the bottom of the menu, we've got our straight quantization, which is where we begin for this region. Let's try 1/8th notes first. You can already see the notes moved around in the region. Let's hear it. (Music playing.) Cool! That fixed our faulty performance.
Let's try quarter notes and see how that sounds. (Music playing.) As you can see, in this place the performance in a grid of quarter notes this time. Let's go back to Off and we'll see how it's nondestructive. We'll get back to the original performance and how it's played. (Music playing.) Okay, let's go back to the 1/8th notes. I think that sounded the best for now. In the Region Parameter list, let's also explore some of the Advanced Quantization techniques.
Open that disclosure triangle to see them. These allow even more control over the feel of the performance. As you can see, there are lots of controls in Logic to subtlety change quantization like Delay, Dynamics, Q-Range, Q-Strength. I'll make some advanced adjustments here, but feel free to try some of them out on your own. Go down to the Q-Length and double-click. Let's try a Q-Length of 100. Let's also adjust the Q-Velocity here to 50. These fine -uning quantize controls can be used to add a more human feel to the performance.
Let's see how they sound. (Music playing.) Pretty subtle, but it sounds a little less robotic and more human this way. Now we're going to check out the Swing options by quantizing the drums. So let's click on the Studio Brush Kit region. Let's also solo the tracks, so we can hear it just by itself. Swing values, which delay certain notes in the grid, become more extreme as the letter goes higher. They're up at the top of the menu. So 16F is going to have more swing than 16A.
Let's see if we can hear that. Let's try a 16A Swing first and listen to the drums. (Music playing.) It's pretty subtle but we'll really hear it if we choose 16F, the highest swing value for 16th notes. (Music playing.) You can hear how the hi-hat is really swinging. Now let's try putting the drums to 8D Swing value. 8D is another swing value, but this time it's based on eighth notes instead of 16th notes, and D is pretty high swing value.
Let's also put the bass into a swing value. Click on the Liverpool Bass and let's choose instead of the 1/8th note straight quantization, let's choose 8C Swing value for the bass. Okay, let's hear them together. I'm going to un-solo the Studio Brush Kit and we'll hear both together. (Music playing.) This really changes the feel of our song to kind of a more bluesy feel. You can really hear how you can change the feel of the whole performance just by adjusting the Quantize options.
So what we've done here is region qantization. All MIDI events in the region are quantized together. It's also possible to have more control by using the Quantize features in the MIDI Editor windows. Select the Studio Brush Kit and hit Command+6 to open the Piano Roll window. Now we're going to select only the specific events we want to quantize. To do this, drag a selection around just the hi-hats. This will allow us to only quantize the hi- hats and leave the other drumbeats alone. Remember, we can only do this from a MIDI Editor.
With those hi-hats selected, I'm going to go up to the Quantize pulldown menu that's in this window and choose 8C. You can see that only the hi- hats moved. Let's choose 16C. As you can see, we're just quantizing the hi- hats and leaving the other MIDI events alone. You can also quantize individual notes with the Quantize tool. To get the Quantize tool, hit Escape to get your toolbox and choose the Quantize tool. Now we can click on just a specific MIDI event to quantize it. Try this kick drum event here. Click once on it.
You can see it automatically quantize to a 16th note grid, because that's what's selected in our pulldown menu currently. Finally, if you ever want to permanently and destructively set the Quantize values in the region, you can do this from the Arrange window. Let's close the Piano Roll window. So to destructively and permanently set those values, make sure you have the region selected. Go to MIDI > Region Parameters and select Apply Quantization Settings Destructively. Remember, this won't allow you to go back to the original performance if you do it.
Quantization allows us to fix out of time parts, but there is so much more you can do with it. You can start exploring the subtle ways you can humanize or dehumanize a performance. The possibilities really are endless.
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