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Exercise 8: Use Shuffle Mode

The last Edit mode we’ll examine, Shuffle mode, is used when you want to move things forward or backward in time. For example, say you have a four-bar intro and you decide to make it into an eight-bar intro. You would highlight the four-bar intro on all tracks and then duplicate them using Shuffle mode. This would insert the new four bars after the existing four bars and move (“shuffle”) the whole song back four bars.

Shuffle works the same way for deleting sections of a song. Let’s say you have an eight-bar intro and you want to shorten it to four bars. If you were to highlight the four bars you want to delete on all tracks in Grid mode and then hit Delete, there would be four empty bars in your arrangement. However, if you highlight the four bars in Grid mode, choose Shuffle mode, and then Delete, Pro Tools will delete the four bars you had highlighted and then move up the rest of the song, eliminating any empty space in your arrangement.

And last but not least, you can scroll through the Edit modes and tools:

  • Use the ~ (tilde) key (it’s directly above the Tab key) to scroll through modes.
  • Use the Esc key or click the center mouse button (Win) to scroll through tools (click both buttons simultaneously if you have a two-button mouse).

Try to force yourself to learn these shortcuts now. If you do, your editing keystrokes will become second nature, and you’ll soon be able to focus entirely on the music rather than the technology.

Suppose we want the song to start with one bar of shaker before the kick, snare, and hat come in. There are many ways to accomplish this. We could use the Selector tool to highlight the Kick, Snare, and Hi Hat tracks from Bar 1 to Bar 9, and then choose Cut and then Paste at Bar 2. But let’s get familiar with Shuffle mode and use that instead.

  1. Highlight the first bar of the Kick track. Double-click on the Zoomer to show the full song. Choose Grid mode and the Selector tool, and highlight from Bar 1 to Bar 2 on the Kick track.
  2. Insert silence. Choose Shuffle mode for the Edit window, and select Edit > Insert Silence.

    Now you have one empty bar of the Kick track.

  3. Zoom out. Double-click on the Zoomer again. You’ll see that one extra bar of Kick extends beyond the other tracks. Shuffle mode has inserted the bar of silence and then moved the track forward one bar in time.
  4. Move the Snare forward. Go back to Grid mode. Highlight Bar 1 to Bar 2 of the Snare track. Then choose Shuffle mode again and, rather than going to the Edit menu to insert silence, use the keyboard shortcut 170fig_01.jpg+Shift+E (Mac) or Ctrl+Shift+E (Win). This inserts one bar of silence into the Snare track and moves the entire track back in time one bar. You can always make sure your highlight is correct by constantly looking at your Event Edit area.
  5. Move your highlight to another track. Stay in Shuffle mode. The empty bar of the Snare track should still be highlighted and set to one even bar. Now use a little-known shortcut to keep the same highlight and make that highlighted area move to the Hi Hat track. You can use Control+; (semicolon) on the Mac or Start+; in Windows to move a highlight down, and Control+P (Mac) or Start+P (Win) to move a highlight up.

    Hit Control+; or Start+; now, and your one-bar highlight should move to the track below.

  6. Insert silence on the hat. Use 170fig_01.jpg+Shift+E or Ctrl+Shift+E and move the Hi Hat track forward one bar. Now all tracks except the Shaker have one extra bar.
  7. Add one bar to Shaker. Go back to Grid mode. Choose the Grabber and click on the last Shaker region at Bar 8, and hit 170fig_01.jpg+D/Ctrl+D to duplicate one bar of Shaker. Now all tracks end at the downbeat of Bar 10.
  8. Play and save. Press Return/Enter to go back to the beginning and play back your track. Now you have one bar of shaker and eight bars of full drum kit. As always, save before you move on.
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