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Exercise 5: Use the Trimmer with Slip Mode and Spot Mode

The Trimmer tool has two functions, which you can see by clicking and holding on the Trimmer button. In the pull-down menu, the first choice and main function of the Trimmer is to edit the start and end points of audio regions. The second is called TCE (for Time Compression/Expansion), and we will use this to change the tempo of drum loops.

When you select the Trimmer, the cursor turns into something that looks like the letter E with the middle line missing. This character will be facing forward if you are at the beginning of an audio region, or backward if your cursor is at the end of an audio region. If you drag toward the audio waveform, you shorten it. If you drag away from the audio waveform, you lengthen it. You can even think of the Trimmer (provided it's in standard mode, not in TCE mode) as a tool to hide or reveal audio.

  1. Change all track sizes. Hold down the Option/Alt key and change one track height to medium. All the tracks will change to medium.
  2. Zoom in. Zoom in to see Bars 1 through 3.
  3. Drag another kick. Make sure you’re still in Grid mode with an 1/8 note grid value. Drag another kick from the Region bin and place it at 1/2/480 of your Kick track. Notice how the decay of the kick sample goes on top of the attack of the kick that starts on the downbeat of Beat 2.
  4. Use the Trimmer in Slip mode. Choose the Trimmer tool, and this time let’s select Slip mode rather than Grid mode. With the Trimmer, grab the end of the newly placed kick sample and pull it to the left. Notice that you can now move freely. In Slip mode, you can move and copy and paste freely without adhering to a tempo-based grid.

    Look at the Event Edit area and its numbers. Try to make the kick end exactly at the downbeat of Bar 2. It’s not easy, is it?

    • Edit Modes: Reference Guide, p. 246

  5. Trim in Grid mode. Change the Trimmer back to Grid mode, and use the tool to make the end of the kick sample end exactly at Bar 2 (2/1/000). That’s much easier, right? Remember to constantly look at your Event Edit area. Use the Undo command (170fig_01.jpg+Z/Ctrl+Z) if you make any mistakes.
  6. In Spot mode, drag another kick. Now try Spot mode. (You will rarely use this Trimmer mode, but it’s good to understand what it does.) Choose Spot mode and again drag another kick from the Region bin, trying to place it as close to 2/2/480 as you can get. A window opens and wants to know “where exactly do you want to put this region?” Type “2/2/480” into the Start time and click OK.

    The kick is put into the correct spot. Now go back to Grid mode and use the Trimmer again to pull the end of the sample back, to reveal the attack of the preceding sample.

  7. Play. Hit Return/Enter to rewind to the top and play back what you’ve done. You should hear a kick on the pick-up of every other beat, or on the second eighth note of every other beat.
  8. Zoom out. Double-click the Zoomer. This shows you the entire eight bars.
  9. Highlight the kick edits. Since we have two bars edited correctly in our new kick drum pattern, let’s make our new edit occur for the entire eight bars. Choose the Selector and highlight from Bar 1/1/000 to Bar 3/1/000.
  10. Duplicate the Kick edit. Make sure that your Event Edit area shows that you have from 1/1/000 to 3/1/000 highlighted. Then either duplicate three times with 170fig_01.jpg+D/Ctrl+D to fill eight bars, or use the Repeat command (Option+R/Alt+R) and repeat three times. You should now have eight bars of our edited kick pattern.
  11. Highlight the eight bars, play them, and save. With Loop Playback enabled, highlight all eight bars and play. Press 170fig_01.jpg+S/Ctrl+S to save this session.

Many of the Edit tools have more than one function. You access these other functions by clicking on the tool until you see a pull-down menu beneath the tool. Click on the Trimmer now to access its pull-down menu. As we work through the remaining exercises, we will cover some of these additional functions.

So far, whenever you’ve created a new track, I’ve asked you to use Ticks rather than Samples as the track’s timebase. Now I’m going to show you why.

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