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Chapter 4. Working With Loops > About Apple Loops

About Apple Loops

In general, loops are short, prerecorded pieces of music that are made so they fit smoothly together in sequence or so they can be repeated to create longer pieces of music.

What sets the Apple Loops that come with GarageBand apart from garden-variety loops is metadata. Metadata, here, is textual information that has been inserted into the file headers of Apple Loops. Without this metadata, a loop file would look like just an ordinary sound file to your computer. The metadata, however, includes loads of useful information about the sound file, such as the type of instruments recorded in the file, the style of the music in the file, and the music's key, tempo, and time signature. GarageBand maintains an elaborate index of the meta data for all the loops in its library. When you add a loop to the library, GarageBand adds its metadata to the index.

This metadata adds enormously to the usefulness of Apple Loops. It means that if you decide you want a loop with a techno beat in A that lasts eight bars, you don't have to test every single loop in the program to find one. Instead, you can use powerful search features built into GarageBand to turn up just the right loop in seconds.

Another cool feature of Apple Loops is that they have markers attached to each beat. This means that you can add a loop to your song even if it was recorded at a different tempo. Its beat structure will adjust to your song's tempo without gaps or distortion.

GarageBand includes Apple Loops of both Real Instrument and Software Instrument types. You can add Real Instrument loops to Real Instrument tracks, and Software Instrument loops to tracks of either type. Once added to your song, both types of loops behave just like Real Instrument and Software Instrument material you recorded yourself.

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