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Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

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Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:08 am

I've run into a bit of a snag in Logic Pro X and am hoping someone here might be able to offer some advice.

I'm working on a section for a new song and it has about 4 different time signatures going at the same time. My question is: Is there a way in LPX to stack multiple time signatures on top of each other?

The only way I can see to do this is to
a) record each time signature in a separate session, bounce them down, and then import those tracks using tempo data only (not ideal because I can't hear all of the sections at once)

b) create MIDI tracks to use as click tracks for each time signature (also not ideal because doing things like snapping notes to triplets and figuring out rests will take ages)

c) working on the entire arrangement one measure at a time and then entering those measures as irrational time signatures (can't improvise using this method)

If anyone has come up against this before, please let me know how you overcame it.

Thanks!! :)
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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby The Elf » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:43 am

I don't use Logic, but I don't imagine it would be different to any other DAW. I find a common division (sometimes involving doubling the tempo) and play to the click, ignoring beat 1. If I really needed to I would remove the beat 1 emphasis from the metronome.
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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby Dave B » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:27 am

The Elf wrote: play to the click, ignoring beat 1. If I really needed to I would remove the beat 1 emphasis from the metronome.

+1

I don't know of any DAW which does polyrhythms like this. I've worked on compound time signatures before by creating bars of things like 21/8. But for polyrhythms you should all be playing to a common 'pulse'.

I'd also question the wisdom of 4 time sigs in a section. To me (an old prog-head of the highest order), that would be a red flag - double check that you are genuinely all different and someone isn't just counting wrong / ignoring the tempo - it does happen!

Also, 4 clicks mean that your band are listening to their click in isolation and I'd be worried. Things like this are about the musicians locking in and the bars/ accents creating a coherent pattern which requires the musicians to work together.

4! 4?? Even jazz fiends aren't that evil ... ;)
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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby desmond » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:34 am

I'm not really sure what the problem is really. Presumably you're working at a standard tempo, rather than multiple independent tempos.

If the problem is that you want to configure the click differently depending on which part you're working on, then you have a few options:

Firstly, you can manually create whatever click tracks you need and mute whichever you're not using at any given time, and a low tech old school approach.

Better still, Logic has multiple tempo and time signature sets (global tracks), so you can make a set of 4/4, a set of 7/8 etc etc, and just switch between them when you're working on different parts. The regular metronome should follow the set time sig accordingly.

So on your 4/4 part, you select the 4/4 signature set, and record your parts, then switch to the 7/8 signature set and work on those parts and so on.

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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:00 pm

desmond wrote:I'm not really sure what the problem is really. Presumably you're working at a standard tempo, rather than multiple independent tempos.

If the problem is that you want to configure the click differently depending on which part you're working on, then you have a few options:

Firstly, you can manually create whatever click tracks you need and mute whichever you're not using at any given time, and a low tech old school approach.

Better still, Logic has multiple tempo and time signature sets (global tracks), so you can make a set of 4/4, a set of 7/8 etc etc, and just switch between them when you're working on different parts. The regular metronome should follow the set time sig accordingly.

So on your 4/4 part, you select the 4/4 signature set, and record your parts, then switch to the 7/8 signature set and work on those parts and so on.

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Thank you, that's exactly what I was looking for!
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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:08 pm

Dave B wrote:But for polyrhythms you should all be playing to a common 'pulse'.
Thanks for your reply! There is a compositional reason for the differing time sigs, not necessarily related to created a polyrythm, which requires multiple pulses going at once.

I'd also question the wisdom of 4 time sigs in a section. To me (an old prog-head of the highest order), that would be a red flag - double check that you are genuinely all different and someone isn't just counting wrong / ignoring the tempo - it does happen!
I am the sole performer in this piece (at least until it goes to the drummer and singer) so not worried about the 'band' losing their place. :)

Things like this are about the musicians locking in and the bars/ accents creating a coherent pattern which requires the musicians to work together.
Hmm ... this is a bit of a stretch considering I've not told anyone what my intention is with this piece. Maybe it's not about creating a coherent pattern that locks together? :)

4! 4?? Even jazz fiends aren't that evil ... ;)
LOL
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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:10 pm

The Elf wrote:I don't use Logic, but I don't imagine it would be different to any other DAW. I find a common division (sometimes involving doubling the tempo) and play to the click, ignoring beat 1. If I really needed to I would remove the beat 1 emphasis from the metronome.
Thanks for your insights, Elf. I've tried doing exactly that and it doesn't work. As a listener, you can still suss out the common pulse, which is not what I'm going for at all!
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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby The Elf » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:18 pm

If there's no common pulse I don't see what any DAW could do to help you - you're effectively recording without a timing reference. You would simply have to create your own metronomes.

Again, I don't know Logic, but I do know that Cubase allows you to say whether individual tracks respect musical timing or not - allowing you to hit timing cues for video, for example. This would certainly enable you to move tempo and time signatures around freely without affecting already recorded MIDI/audio tracks. Maybe Logic allows something similar?
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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Aug 01, 2020 2:28 pm

I'll be working on it today, so I'm about to find out lol. Either way, it's getting done. :D
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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby desmond » Sat Aug 01, 2020 3:04 pm

The Elf wrote:Again, I don't know Logic, but I do know that Cubase allows you to say whether individual tracks respect musical timing or not - allowing you to hit timing cues for video, for example. This would certainly enable you to move tempo and time signatures around freely without affecting already recorded MIDI/audio tracks. Maybe Logic allows something similar?

Yes it does, you can display the timeline as time rather than musical bars, and lock events to time positions so nothing moves if you change tempo and time signatures etc. You can also uncheck "Use musical grid" and you get a time-based arrangement environment only which is unrelated to tempo. Lots of options in this regard, as I'm sure do most mature DAWs these days...
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Re: Question about recording compound meters in Logic Pro X

Postby Ben Asaro » Sat Aug 08, 2020 2:08 am

Sometimes a complex problem can have a very simple solution. I am grateful for your suggestion, desmond, and I am sure I will be using it in the future. For this particular section, however, I decided to go with something much simpler: the NerdSeq!

The NerdSeq makes it very easy to have multiple time signatures playing at the same time and I can have up to 5 voices playing at once just using the NerdSeq on its own.

Using the NerdSeq, I can program each time signature in real time as they are looping. The way that sequences are built also enables to me use a division of /4, /8, or /16 (example: I can have one track playing in 3/4 and another in 5/16).

Right now I have the NerdSeq going into a Studio Electronics Quadnic and Intellijel Quadra/Quad VCA combo. Once I get the actual arrangement sorted I will work on the voices themselves and then start building it up with other instruments.

The other cool thing this affords me is the ability to use Euclidean Circles for percussion as well.

Very excited to start working on this over the weekend!
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