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Chapter 4. Working With Loops > Adding a Loop to Your Song

Adding a Loop to Your Song

Once you've found a loop you like, you can add it to your song's timeline by dragging it from the list produced by your search. The left edge of the loop snaps to the nearest downbeat (the first beat of a measure). Alternatively, you can drag a loop to the track header, and GarageBand will place the loop at the beginning of the song.

You can drag the loop to a pre-existing track of the appropriate kind, or you can create a new track. Adding a loop to the timeline creates a region from the loop. Any changes you make to the region do not affect the original loop (see Chapter 8 to learn about editing regions). The tempo and key of this new region automatically adapt to the tempo and key of the song.

Real Instrument loops can be placed only in Real Instrument tracks. Software Instrument loops, on the other hand, can be placed in tracks of either type; however, if you drag a Software Instrument loop to a Real Instrument track, GarageBand converts it to a Real Instrument region. You can also have GarageBand convert any Software Instrument loop to a Real Instrument region. This is desirable because (as we've discussed before) Software Instruments put quite a strain on your Mac's processor. Converting them to Real Instruments gives GarageBand some breathing room.

To add a loop to your song while creating a new track:

1.
Drag a loop of either type (Real or Software Instrument) to the blank area of the timeline (Figure 4.47).

Figure 4.47. Dragging a loop to the timeline.


As your pointer enters the timeline, a gray vertical bar appears, indicating the downbeat where the start of the loop will be placed.

2.
Release the mouse button when you find the right spot.

A new track is created below the pre-existing tracks (Figure 4.48). By default, the new track is of the same type (Real or Software Instrument) as the loop, and it takes its instrument, icon, effect, and input settings from the loop as well.

Figure 4.48. A new track is added to the song.


To add a loop to a pre-existing track

1.
Do one of the following:

  • Drag a Real Instrument loop to a Real Instrument track.

  • Drag a Software Instrument loop to a track of either type.

If you are dragging the loop over the correct type of track, the pointer will have a green plus (+) icon attached (Figure 4.49), and a gray vertical bar will appear, indicating the downbeat where the start of the loop will be placed. If these items are missing, you're over the wrong kind of track (Figure 4.50).

Figure 4.49. The green plus icon and gray vertical bar show you that you're in the right place.


Figure 4.50. If the plus icon and gray bar are missing, you're in the wrong neighborhood.


2.
When you find the right location for the loop, release the mouse button to add the loop to the track.

The loop will snap to the location of the vertical gray bar.

Let's Get Real!

To convert a Software Instrument loop to a Real Instrument loop on the fly, hold down the Option key while dragging the loop to the empty part of the timeline (this feature was added in GarageBand 1.1). A new Real Instrument track will be created, containing the loop you dragged from the loop browser.

If you want this to happen every time you create a new track by dragging a Software Instrument loop to your song, there's a Preferences setting designed just for you. Choose GarageBand > Preferences (Command-,) and click the Advanced tab. Check the Adding Loops to Timeline: Convert to Real Instrument box and close the Preferences dialog (Figure 4.51). To reverse this setting temporarily, hold down the Option key while dragging a Software Instrument loop to the timeline.

Figure 4.51. With the Convert to Real Instrument box checked, dragging a Software Instrument loop into the empty part of the timeline will always create a new Real Instrument track.



Region Names

When you drag a Real Instrument loop to the timeline and drop it into place, a new region is created. Each new region is named after the loop that it's derived from, with a numerical suffix appended.

The first time you drag Blip Synth 01 into your song, for example, the region added to the target track is named Blip Synth 01.1. If you add the same loop to your song again, the resulting region will be Blip Synth 01.2. Names of additional instances of the same loop will continue to be incremented by 0.1 (Figure 4.52). The same thing happens if you copy a region and paste it into a song: the name of the pasted region will be incremented by 0.1.

Figure 4.52. Each time the same loop is added to a Real Instrument track, the name of the resulting region is incremented by 0.1.


Software Instrument loops that are dragged into Real Instrument tracks receive the same treatment; they are, after all, turned into Real Instrument regions by the action (Figure 4.53). This is not true for Software Instruments added to Software Instrument tracks, however; all instances of Software Instrument regions have the same name (Figure 4.54).

Figure 4.53. Software Instrument loops become Real Instrument regions and are named like other Real Instrument regions.


Figure 4.54. All instances of Software Instrument regions have the same name.



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