Musical Uses
Drum machines that emulated the patterns of rock drummers were among
the first commercial pattern-based hardware. Hip-hop and so-called dance
music seized on the unique, mechanical sounds they provided.
People often refer to loop-based music or pattern-based editing as though
they’re new forms of music—often associating them solely with dance
music and electronica—but the underlying concept isn’t new at all. Musical
traditions of all cultures use repetition and pattern.
By carefully stitching patterns and loops together and using variation,
you can create pieces that sound more organic and musical—or, if you
prefer, more mechanical and odd. Either way, there are endless musical
possibilities.
We’ll look at two ways people most commonly use loops and patterns.
The first is to create a backing track for rehearsing, songwriting, or per-
forming, letting the loops fill in for parts you can’t play. The second is to
build repetitive grooves for interactive dance music. Although we’ll use
GarageBand for the former and Kinetic for the latter, each is capable of
both activities.
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When you need accompaniment for practicing, backing tracks to fill in
missing players for performances, or a way of quickly turning musical ideas
into sketches, loop libraries like the one found in GarageBand are invaluable.
GarageBand ships with a vast collection of ready-made musical materials,
including selections from many different musical genres. You can make
music in GarageBand without ever using these loops, but they can easily
complement other recorded parts or stand on their own. Using sounds
included with GarageBand, we’ll create a country/folk rock arrangement,
then record audio parts, and mix to create a completed song.
Since GarageBand matches the tempo of loops automatically, it’s possible
to combine loops even if they had a different original tempo. GarageBand
doesn’t match the rhythmic feel of materials, so you may have to audition
a few clips to find one that sounds right.
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Quick start:
Pros like
Us3 producer Geoff
Wilkinson use loops
and samples to help
develop ideas and get
an initial groove, then
replace them with
recorded music.
On the DVD:
Youll
find a completed
GarageBand project cre-
ated via the steps here.
If youre on Windows or
don’t own GarageBand,
MP3 files are also
included so you can
hear the results.

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