Loop (music)

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In electroacoustic pop, rock, and other kinds of music, a loop is a repeating section of sound material. Short sections of material can be repeated to create ostinato patterns. Longer sections can also be repeated: for example, a player might loop what they play on an entire verse of a song in order to then play along with it, accompanying himself.

Contents

Loops can be created using a wide range of music technologies including turntables, digital samplers, looper pedals, synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines, tape machines, and delay units, and they can be programmed using computer music software. The feature to loop a section of an audio track or video footage is also referred to by electronics vendors as A–B repeat. [1]

Royalty-free loops can be purchased and downloaded for music creation from companies like The Loop Loft, Native Instruments, Splice and Output.

Loops are supplied in either MIDI or Audio file formats such as WAV, REX2, AIFF and MP3. Musicians "play" loops by triggering the start of the musical sequence by utilizing a MIDI controller such as an Ableton Push or a Native Instruments MASCHINE.

Definitions

Origins

While repetition is used in the musics of all cultures, the first musicians to use loops, as early as 1944, were electroacoustic music pioneers such as Pierre Schaeffer, Halim El-Dabh, [5] Pierre Henry, Edgard Varèse and Karlheinz Stockhausen.( Decroupet and Ungeheuer 1998 , pp. 110, 118–119, 126) In turn, El-Dabh's music influenced Frank Zappa's use of tape loops in the mid-1960s. [6]

Terry Riley is a seminal composer and performer of loop- and ostinato-based music who began using tape loops in 1960. For his 1963 piece Music for The Gift he devised a hardware looper that he named the Time Lag Accumulator, consisting of two tape recorders linked together, which he used to loop and manipulate trumpet player Chet Baker and his band. His 1964 composition In C , an early example of what would later be called minimalism, consists of 53 repeated melodic phrases (loops) performed live by an ensemble. "Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band", the B-side of his influential 1969 album A Rainbow in Curved Air uses tape loops of his electric organ and soprano saxophone to create electronic music that contains surprises as well as hypnotic repetition.[ citation needed ]

Another influential use of tape loops was Jamaican dub music in the 1960s. Dub producer King Tubby used tape loops in his productions, while improvising with homemade delay units. Another dub producer, Sylvan Morris, developed a slapback echo effect by using both mechanical and handmade tape loops. These techniques were later adopted by hip hop musicians in the 1970s. [7] Grandmaster Flash's turntablism is an early example in hip hop.[ citation needed ]

The use of pre-recorded, digitally-sampled loops in popular music dates back to Japanese electronic music band Yellow Magic Orchestra, [8] who released one of the first albums to feature mostly samples and loops, 1981's Technodelic . [9] Their approach to sampling was a precursor to the contemporary approach of constructing music by cutting fragments of sounds and looping them using computer technology. [8] The album was produced using Toshiba-EMI's LMD-649 digital PCM sampler, which engineer Kenji Murata custom-built for YMO. [10]

Modern looping

Ditto looper pedal Ditto-Looper-X2.jpg
Ditto looper pedal

Today, many musicians use digital hardware and software devices to create and modify loops, often in conjunction with various electronic musical effects. A loop can be created by a looper pedal, a device which records the signal from a guitar or other audio source and then plays the recorded passage over and over again. [11]

In the early 1990s, dedicated digital devices were invented specifically for use in live looping, i.e. loops that are recorded in front of a live audience.[ citation needed ]

Many hardware loopers exist, some in rack unit form, but primarily as effect pedals. The discontinued Lexicon JamMan, Gibson Echoplex Digital Pro, Electrix Repeater, and Looperlative LP1 are 19" rack units. The Boomerang "Rang III" Phrase Sampler, DigiTech JamMan, [12] Boss RC-300 and the Electro-Harmonix 2880 are examples of popular pedals. As of December 2015, the following pedals are currently in production: TC Ditto, TC Ditto X2, TC Ditto Mic, TC Ditto Stereo, Boss RC-1, Boss RC-3, Boss RC-30, Boss RC-300 and Boss RC-505. [13]

The musical loop is one of the most important features of video game music. It is also the guiding principle behind devices like the several Chinese Buddhist music boxes that loop chanting of mantras, which in turn were the inspiration of the Buddha machine, an ambient-music generating device. The Jan Linton album "Buddha Machine Music" used these loops along with others created by manually scrolling through C.D.s on a CDJ player. [14]

Loop-based music software

See also

Related Research Articles

Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments, digital instruments, or circuitry-based music technology in its creation. It includes both music made using electronic and electromechanical means. Pure electronic instruments depended entirely on circuitry-based sound generation, for instance using devices such as an electronic oscillator, theremin, or synthesizer. Electromechanical instruments can have mechanical parts such as strings, hammers, and electric elements including magnetic pickups, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Such electromechanical devices include the telharmonium, Hammond organ, electric piano and the electric guitar.

Effects unit Electronic device that alters audio

An effects unit or effects pedal is an electronic device that alters the sound of a musical instrument or other audio source through audio signal processing.

MIDI Means of connecting electronic musical instruments

MIDI is a technical standard that describes a communications protocol, digital interface, and electrical connectors that connect a wide variety of electronic musical instruments, computers, and related audio devices for playing, editing and recording music. The specification originates in a paper titled Universal Synthesizer Interface, published by Dave Smith and Chet Wood, then of Sequential Circuits, at the October 1981 Audio Engineering Society conference in New York City.

Breakbeat is a broad type of electronic music that tends to utilize drum breaks sampled from early recordings of funk, jazz, and R&B. Breakbeats have been used in styles such as hip hop, jungle, drum and bass, big beat, breakbeat hardcore, and UK garage styles.

Music technology (electronic and digital)

Digital music technology encompasses digital instruments, computers, electronic effects units, software, or digital audio equipment by a performer, composer, sound engineer, DJ, or record producer to produce, perform or record music. The term refers to electronic devices, instruments, computer hardware, and software used in performance, playback, recording, composition, mixing, analysis, and editing of music.

Tape loop

In music, tape loops are loops of magnetic tape used to create repetitive, rhythmic musical patterns or dense layers of sound when played on a tape recorder. Originating in the 1940s with the work of Pierre Schaeffer, they were used among contemporary composers of 1950s and 1960s, such as Éliane Radigue, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, who used them to create phase patterns, rhythms, textures, and timbres. Popular music authors of 1960s and 1970s, particularly in psychedelic, progressive and ambient genres, used tape loops to accompany their music with innovative sound effects. In the 1980s, analog audio and tape loops with it gave way to digital audio and application of computers to generate and process sound.

Sampler (musical instrument) Device that records and plays back samples

A sampler is an electronic or digital musical instrument which uses sound recordings of real instrument sounds, excerpts from recorded songs or found sounds. The samples are loaded or recorded by the user or by a manufacturer. These sounds are then played back by means of the sampler program itself, a MIDI keyboard, sequencer or another triggering device to perform or compose music. Because these samples are usually stored in digital memory, the information can be quickly accessed. A single sample may often be pitch-shifted to different pitches to produce musical scales and chords.

Boss is a manufacturer of effects pedals for electric guitar and bass guitar. It is a division of the Roland Corporation, a Japanese manufacturer that specializes in musical equipment and accessories. For many years Boss has manufactured a wide range of products related to effects processing for guitars, including "compact" and "twin" effects pedals, multi-effect pedals, electronic tuners and pedal boards. In more recent times, Boss expanded their product range by including digital studios, rhythm machines, samplers and other electronic music equipment. They also are now manufacturing solid-state amplifiers and speaker heads such as the Waza and the Katana. Both feature multi-effects units meant to emulate Boss' classic effects pedals.

Ableton Live Digital audio workstation

Ableton Live is a digital audio workstation developed by Ableton for macOS and Windows. In contrast to many other software sequencers, Ableton Live is designed to be an instrument for live performances as well as a tool for composing, recording, arranging, mixing, and mastering. It is also used by DJs, as it offers a suite of controls for beatmatching, crossfading, and other different effects used by turntablists, and was one of the first music applications to automatically beatmatch songs. Live is available in three editions: Intro, Standard, and Suite.

MIDI controller

A MIDI controller is any hardware or software that generates and transmits Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) data to MIDI-enabled devices, typically to trigger sounds and control parameters of an electronic music performance.

<i>Technodelic</i> 1981 studio album by Yellow Magic Orchestra

Technodelic is the fifth studio album by Yellow Magic Orchestra, released in 1981. The album is notable for its experimental approach and heavy use of digital samplers which were not commonly used until the mid-to-late 1980s, resulting in a more minimalist and avant-garde sound compared to their previous work.

Electro-Harmonix Guitar pedals company

Electro-Harmonix is a New York-based company that makes high-end electronic audio processors and sells rebranded vacuum tubes. The company was founded by Mike Matthews in 1968. It is best known for a series of popular guitar effects pedals introduced in the 1970s and 1990s. Unknown to most people, EH also made a line of guitars in the 70's.

Live looping

Live looping is the recording and playback of a piece of music in real-time using either dedicated hardware devices, called loopers or phrase samplers, or software running on a computer with an audio interface. Musicians can loop with either laptop software or loop pedals, which are sold for tabletop and floor-based use.

Hip hop production

Hip hop production is the creation of hip hop music in a recording studio. While the term encompasses all aspects of hip hop music creation, including recording the rapping of an MC, a turntablist or DJ providing a beat, playing samples and "scratching" using record players and the creation of a rhythmic backing track, using a drum machine or sequencer, it is most commonly used to refer to recording the instrumental, non-lyrical and non-vocal aspects of hip hop.

Peter Hayes (musician) American musician and singer (born 1976)

Peter Hayes is an American musician and singer, best known as a member of the rock band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Delay (audio effect) Audio signal processing technique

Delay is an audio signal processing technique that records an input signal to a storage medium and then plays it back after a period of time. The delayed signal may be played back multiple times, or fed back into the recording, to create the sound of a repeating, decaying echo.

Roland SP-404

The Roland SP-404 Sampling Workstation is a discontinued sampler made by Roland Corporation. Released in 2005, it is part of the SP family and successor to where Boss Corporation’s SP-505 sampler left off. The sampler was succeeded by the SP-555 in 2008, but was later given its own upgrade as the Roland SP-404SX Linear Wave Sampler in 2009. Another upgrade, the Roland SP-404A Linear Wave Sampler was released in 2017. The Roland SP-404 has played a huge role in influencing the sound of popular music genre Lo-Fi Beats.

Sampling (music) Reuse of sound recording in another recording

In music, sampling is the reuse of a portion of a sound recording in another recording. Samples may comprise elements such as rhythm, melody, speech, sounds, or entire bars of music, and may be layered, equalized, sped up or slowed down, repitched, looped, or otherwise manipulated. They are usually integrated using hardware (samplers) or software such as digital audio workstations.

The BOSS SP-505 Groove Sampling Workstation/SP-505 is a sampling workstation made by Boss Corporation, which is a division of Roland Corporation. The digital sampler is part of the SP family and was released in the year of 2002, as a follow-up to Roland’s SP-303 installment. Ironically, both the 303 and 505 installments were succeeded by the release of Roland's SP-404 in the year of 2005.

The Roland SP-606 is a music sampler manufactured by Roland Corporation. It is part of the SP family, which includes Roland’s popular SP-303 and SP-404 installments. Released in the year of 2004, the sampler was soon succeeded in 2005 by the SP-404.

References

  1. Anon. 2018.
  2. Duffell 2005, p. 14.
  3. Hawkins 2004, p. 10.
  4. Horlaes 2018.
  5. Holmes 2008, p. 154.
  6. Holmes 2008, pp. 153–154.
  7. Veal 2007, pp. 187–188.
  8. 1 2 Condry 2006, p. 60.
  9. Carter 2011.
  10. Anon. 2011, 140–141.
  11. Equipboard staff 2018.
  12. Ross 2010.
  13. Anon. n.d.
  14. Entropy Records 2011.

Sources

Further reading