[Date Prev][Date Next]   [Thread Prev][Thread Next]   [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

Re: MIDI looping

>Just a year ago, I mentioned to a friend, "I wish there
>was some kind of digital delay where you could record a loop,
>then set it aside and record another one, and then switch back
>to the first, and then overdub, but why would anyone bother
>manufacturing something nobody else would want?"

The manufacturers often ask themselves that question after trying it for a
while, usually with unfortunate results.......:-)

>MIDI looping.

>So what's the deal?  Does nobody on this list do MIDI looping?
>Is there simply no good technology to carry it out?  Are
>people talking about it on some synth mailing list?

Like Jim mentioned, a lot of simple sequencers to a primitive sort of
looping. I know my old alesis drum machine has it's record mode, which
basically loops over the length you have set. Anything you play gets added
to the loop. Not much you can do to it once it's in there, though. I never
did manage to record drum sequences this way with any success, although it
was great for the "happy accident" method of composing. Somehow it's never
occured to me to experiment with that just for looping.

Other than that I would suggest using Max, which is a
graphical/object-oriented midi programming environment for the mac. It's a
great tool, created at IRCAM in France and sold by Opcode. I think the
sample applications that max even comes with even includes a midi delay and
a looper. I think it would be fairly easy to create a powerful midi looping
application with max. You could even design a nice big, custom gui. I'd be
surprised if someone hadn't already done this, actually.

>Or is
>it just that audio looping is so much cooler because guitars
>(or accordians or trombones or voice) can do much cooler things,
>and MIDI isn't expressive enough?

well, there is that....:-)

My experiences with demoing in the oberheim booth is that midi/synth people
don't quite grasp the possibilites of audio looping when the demo is done
with synth sounds. They assume it's done with midi somehow. And so many of
them are accustomed to creating on sequencers in a rather methodical way,
that the real-time performance possibilities aren't very interesting to
them. They think, "well why don't I just make sequences first and then loop
the one I want later when I need it?" If that's what they are used to, then
the idea of creating the sequence live may not be very interesting. The
idea that you could have that process of creating a sequence actually BE
the performance, and that manipulating that sequence in a wide variety of
ways as it plays might be musically interesting, is wide open territory.

Analog synth enthusiasts are a different breed of course, the idea of
tweaking filter knobs and looping the resulting sound is interesting there.

Guitarist and dj's seem to grasp looping immediately because they often
have the burden of juggling multiple parts of the music at once, and
looping is a great help. Being able to loop a break beat/rhythm guitar
part/whatever is immediately appealing. It gives you freedom to do another
thing while the loop is going. (play a solo, play a different rhythm part,
cue up another track, drink more beer)  From that entry point the artistic
possibilities inherent to looping become more apparent.

>Or vice versa, that synths
>are already powerful enough instruments that they don't need
>the crutch of delay technology before they become interesting
>solo performance instruments.  (Hey, I'm a guitarist myself,
>I'm just getting the theories on the table, not advocating

crutch? ah-hem....

>so I'm getting a guitar synth.  And then I figured, hey,
>MIDI looping should be a lot simpler than digital looping,
>maybe I could do that.  A search on the web, and here I
>am--nobody anywhere seems to be talking about MIDI looping.
>(I'm not doing it myself--but I want to be.)

It does seem like a pretty obvious use of midi to me. And you seem to be
right, there aren't really any good tools that I know of for real-time midi
looping. Plenty for non-real-time, of course. It would be interesting to
hear from people who have cobbled together midi looping setups.


Kim Flint                   | Looper's Delight
kflint@annihilist.com       | http://www.annihilist.com/loop/loop.html
http://www.annihilist.com/  | Loopers-Delight-request@annihilist.com