09 September 2010

More Backing Tracks

I've been told that my previous post on backing tracks wasn't very helpful, so I'm going to try again. First, here's the video, which has pretty much all the info.

The process is:
  • Make a template
    • make four midi tracks
    • add "Transpose" MIDI effect to each track
    • add a drum kit, bass, and pad instrument to respective tracks
      • fourth track is a ultility track
    • on the fourth track, make an envelope that transposes around the circle of fifths (see video)
    • in MIDI mapping mode, assign buttons on a foot controller to the essential functions (see video)
    • save as a template
      • Options > Preferences (Ctrl + , )
      • File Tab
      • "Save Current Set as Default"
  • Record three simple clips
    • get a beat in your head
    • tap tempo
    • [turn on metronome]
    • record drums
      • record-arm drum track
      • record-arm clip
      • play hi-hat part
      • hit the same button on your footcontroller to make the clip start playing
      • overdub bass and snare (OVR button on top toolbar has to be on/yellow)
    • record bass
      • record-arm the bass track. this should disarm the drum track. if not, check exclusive record arm in Options > Preferences > "Record Warp Launch"
      • record arm clip
      • play bass part
      • hit the same button on your footcontroller to make the clip start playing
    • record the pad part in the same way
  • [optional] - start playing over clips in original key
  • transpose over all 12 keys for a complete backing track
    • stretch clips over 96 bars (8 bars in each of 12 keys)
      • easiest way is to arm the global record button and play the first "scene" (horizontal row)
      • then tab to "Arrangement View" and drag all three clips so that they loop over all 96 bars
    • copy transpose envelope from utility track to other three channels
That's it. Most of the work is upfront in creating your template. After that you can make any backing track you want more or less instantaneously. One other thing you might have to change - as in the video - is the input quantization. Unless you already have impeccable time, I recommend leaving it on to make it easy and to have an accurate backing track. Better to have less feeling than bad time. In the video, I did a swing beat so I changed record quantization from sixteenths to eighth note triplets.

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