Friday, January 12, 2007
Hail and Howdy! The topic for this lovely mid-January is music creation and I’m going to review loops and programs for using them. A music loop is a short, pre-recorded musical phrase that you can use as the basic building block in a song. A loop can be as long or as short as you like, but the most manageable length appears to be about 1 or 2 measures. Once you have your assorted drum, bass, keyboard, ocarina or whatever loops, then you’re ready to start putting them together, and for that you need some software. One of the original and preeminent programs for looping is Acid from Sony. Acid lets you assemble your loops with a minimum of effort, by simply dragging and dropping the sounds you want. A key feature of Acid is the ability to change the pitch or tempo of any or all loops used in a song, so that you can match up loops of varying length and key. The pitch/time-shifting feature has some appreciable limits, since you can’t change the pitch or tempo too much without it becoming noticeable. Acid comes in 3 varieties: Acid Pro the high-end version, Acid Music Studio with fewer bells and whistles, and Acid Xpress a free version that you can download from the Sony Acid site. You need Windows 2000/XP and a fairly fast PC, plus it helps to have an audio editing program if you plan on importing or rolling your own loops. Finding decent loops to use in your own work can be tricky. There are a few places to find freebies online, and there are a ton of el cheapo CD’s you can buy on Ebay. Every week I offer a few loops for free (to download you need to right click on the loop name) on this site. There are other loop music program available (namely Ableton Live and Garage Band) but I’ve yet to try them. Let me know if you think the Acid family of products is great or just lacking. A Wikipedia article on Acid is here.
This week’s picture was created using Corel Photo Paint
Click on the picture to get a full-sized view.
The loops of the week were created with Cakewalk Music Creator.
right click on the name of a loop to download it.
The song of the moment is Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd.
Send your comments and feedback and I’ll read it all and respond to some of it.
Bye for now!