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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.
Logic's flexible timing grade is one of its greatest strengths. Let's learn how we can set up and change our project's tempo and time signatures. Tempo refers to the duration of time each musical beat takes. It's measured in beats per minute or BPM. You'll find your current Tempo setting in the middle of the Transport window. Default BPM is 120 or 2 beats per second. Adjust it here to change the global BPM of your song. You can click up or down on the number to make the BPM higher or lower, or you can double-click on the number to enter a number in manually.
Let's try 140. You can also change the tempo during playback. I'm going to play the song and I'm going to drag the Tempo down. We should hear the tempo slow as this happens. (Music playing.) Now I'm going to speed up. (Music playing.) Because these are all MIDI-based software instrument tracks, they're able to conform to the changing tempo in real-time.
Once you decide an appropriate tempo for your song, you may leave it there or you may wish to speed it up or slow it down during the course of your song. To do this, open the Global Tracks triangle. Here we have a Tempo lane. Let's open this up, and let's pull the window down to make it big. As you can see, the tempo is 140 for the course of this song. Let's double-click at bar 5 to make a new tempo node. We can click and drag after this node to pull the tempo down after that point in time. Let's pull it way down. So you can hear a dramatic change.
Now, I'm going to deselect Cycle Mode and play from before the tempo change. We should hear the Tempo dramatically shift from 140 to 116 at bar 5. (Music playing.) You can also make a gradual change from 140 to 116 by clicking on the node in the middle and pulling to the left. This makes a gradual tempo curve. Now, the tempo will gradually change from 140 to 116 between bars 1 and 5.
(Music playing.) The cool thing about trying out different tempos is that you can audition and change between up to 9 alternate tempos in your Logic project. To do this, just click in the Alternative box in the Tempo lane. If you like what you did that you want to try a different tempo, simply go to this pulldown menu and choose number 2. Now, we have a fresh Tempo lane to start. You can move between your alternate tempos at anytime. This is great for remixes and film scoring since it lets you try out all different kinds of tempo options.
If you're still not sure what you want your tempo to be by a BPM number, you can manually tap in a tempo to your keyboard. This is cool but it requires a little setup. Go to File > Project Settings and click on Synchronization. Here we're going to change the Sync Mode to Manual, and we're going to click on Auto Enable External Sync and close this window. Now we're going to go to Options > Tempo > Tempo Interpreter. This will interpret the tempo as we tap it into our keyboard. Now we need to hold Shift and tap the T button to the tempo we want to hear.
(Tapping sound.) (Music playing.) When I hit Stop, it locks in the tempo I was tapping, which is somewhere around 98 BPM. The time signature, or how many beats per bar, defaults to 4/4 or common time. This means every bar is divided into 4 beats. The time signature can be changed at anytime in the Transport, but note that it changes from where the playhead is onward.
So if I double-click on here where it says 4/4 and type in 3, it gives me 3/4 time. That means every bar is divided into 3 beats, not 4. If you look in the Signature lane of your Global Tracks, you'll see that 3/4 occurs from right around when my playhead was onward. Once you make a new time signature, you can pull them around in different locations in the Signature lane by clicking on the division line and dragging left or right. Keep in mind you can set all of these tempo and time signature changes ahead of time before you record a band and the performers will hear all the changes reflected by the metronome in their headphone mix.
Logic makes it easy to have complex tempo and time signatures in your song with a few clicks of the mouse. You'll find these useful when you're composing, setting up click tracks for recording sessions, or working on remixes.
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