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Merging Recordings into a MIDI Region

Sometimes you may want to record a MIDI performance in several passes. For example, when recording piano, you can record only the left hand and then record the right hand in a second pass. Or, when recording drums, you can record the kick drum in the first pass, the snare in a second pass, and the hi-hat in a third pass.

In Logic, when recording MIDI events on top of an existing MIDI region, you can merge the new events with the existing ones. You only have to select the existing MIDI region before recording, and the new notes will be recorded inside the selected region.

Recording into a Selected MIDI Region

In the previous exercise, you recorded a simple bass line onto a piano track. Now you will play chords as you listen to the bass line and record the new chords inside the same MIDI region.

  1. Select the Piano region.
  2. Go to the beginning and start recording.

    Try to play some chords that complement the bass line you recorded previously.

  3. Stop recording.

    The new recording is merged with the existing region and you can see all the notes in the Piano Roll Editor. (You might have to scroll or resize the Piano Roll Editor window to see all the notes.)

Merging Recordings in Cycle Mode

Recording in Cycle mode allows you to continuously repeat the same section and only record new events when you are ready. This can be very useful to record a drum pattern, for example. While repeating a one-bar or two-bar section, you can add new elements to the pattern during each pass of the cycle, while listening to everything that you have recorded.

When you are recording in Cycle mode, notes recorded in all consecutive passes of the cycle are merged into a single MIDI region. In this exercise, you will use Cycle mode to record drums—first recording the kick, then the snare, then the hi-hat—switching in and out of record mode as the cycle repeats so you can practice each drum instrument before you record it.

  1. In the Arrange area, mute both existing tracks.

    Remember that you can click the Mute button on the first track header and drag down the mouse to mute both tracks.

  2. At the top of the track list, click the New Tracks button (+) (or press Option-Command-N).

    The New Tracks dialog appears.

  3. In the Number field, enter 1. Make sure that Type is set to Software Instrument and Open Library is selected, and click OK.

    This time you will insert the software instrument in the Inspector, on the Arrange channel strip.

  4. In the I/O section of the channel strip, click the Instrument slot.

    A menu appears, allowing you to choose one of Logic’s software instruments.

  5. Choose Ultrabeat (Drum Synth).

    The Ultrabeat plug-in is inserted in the Instrument slot of the channel strip, and the Ultrabeat plug-in window opens.

  6. Close the Ultrabeat window.

    Notice the white frame around the Ultrabeat plug-in on the channel strip. A white frame indicates the selected section of the channel strip, whose settings are automatically displayed in the Library. The Library now displays Ultrabeat settings.

  7. In the Library, choose 01 Drum Kits > Funk Boogie Kit.

    Wait a few seconds while Ultrabeat loads the kit. When the kit is fully loaded, the drum kit name is displayed on the Inst 2 track header in the Arrange area.

    Selecting a software instrument track automatically record-enables it, but the instrument is not always in live mode. When an instrument is not in live mode, the first note you play will take about 100 ms (milliseconds) to trigger the instrument, which is then placed in live mode.

    You can put an instrument in live mode by sending any MIDI event to it (playing a dummy note, moving the modulation wheel, and so on), or by clicking the Record Enable button in its track header.

    First, locate the notes on your controller keyboard that trigger the kick, the snare, and the hi-hat. In Ultrabeat, you will use:

    • C1: kick
    • E1: snare
    • F#1: hi-hat
  8. Play the lowest C note on your MIDI controller, while watching the MIDI Activity display in the Transport bar.

    If the MIDI In display doesn’t show a C1, press your MIDI controller keyboard Octave Up and Down buttons until the lowest C plays a C1.

    When you can trigger a kick with C1, locate E1 (two white notes to the right) to play the snare, and F#1 (the next black note to the right) to play the hi-hat.

  9. In the Bar ruler, click the cycle area.

    Cycle mode turns on, and the cycle area is shown as green.

  10. Resize the cycle area so that it spans one bar starting at the beginning of the song.

    You will now record the drums, one at a time.

  11. Click in the background of the Arrange area.

    The Region Parameter box displays the MIDI Thru parameters.

  12. Set the Quantize parameter to 1/8-Note.
  13. Start recording.

    You hear a four-beat count-in before the playhead reaches the beginning of the cycle area. Play two C1 notes: one on the first beat, one on the third beat. In the Piano Roll Editor’s Bar ruler, the first beat is on 1, the third beat on 1.3 (bar 1, beat 3).

    When a new cycle begins, you can hear the kick drum notes you just recorded. Notice that the notes snap to the nearest 1/8 note since you chose that grid resolution for your default MIDI Thru parameters.

    You have all the time in the world before you continue to record. As long as you don’t play anything, there are no MIDI events, and Logic keeps cycling over the existing region, playing back your kick drums. If you feel the need to practice the snare before recording, you can return to play mode while cycling continues.

  14. Click the Play button (or press Enter).

    Logic is no longer in record mode (and the metronome stops clicking), but playback continues as Logic repeats the cycle area without interruption. Notice that the two C1 notes are now quantized to the grid.

    On your MIDI keyboard, locate the snare (E1) and practice a snare pattern. Try to hit the snare on beats 2 and 4.

  15. Click the Record button.

    Playback continues without interruption, but Logic reenters record mode. When you feel ready, record the snare.

    When the playhead jumps to the beginning of the cycle, you can see the two kick notes and the two snare notes in the Piano Roll Editor.

    Use the same techniques to record your hi-hat (F#1) on every eighth note in the same MIDI region.

  16. Stop recording.

The merge MIDI-recording techniques you used in the two previous exercises provide a lot of flexibility, and allow you to take your time, recording a single part of a performance. These techniques will work in many situations. For example, consider recording a violin or cello on a software instrument track; then, on a second pass, record the movements of the pitch bend wheel to add vibrato to some of the notes.

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