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Re: Looping with other musicians, new tools=new results

In regards to looping with other musicians/instruments,  a couple of 
important issues come to light:

I am quite fortunate that have get to work with many different musicians 
a variety of different, and disparate, styles.  I always bring at least 
of my loopers to the party, and usually find musical ways to integrate 
into a performance.  Of course, this intregratuin must be appropriate for 
the tune/setting.

In all cases, that dreaded “drift” becomes an issue.  I have found some 
around this, but first let me ask if your loopage in an ensemble situation 
is meant to be a continuous static event?  If that is the case it makes 
all most difficult.  In these situations I have found that  using short 
loops as sonic or rhythmic texture allows for a great amount of 
in regards to interfacing with “live” playing.  Re-triggering such a loop 
really quite easy and often can add some very creative tension and 
  Using loops with live players as a continuous or static event presents a 
plethora of problems in regards to timing, drift, and sync.

The essentials for rectifying any/all of these is knowledgable and 
open-minded musicians who don’t mind, or can adjust to, playing with a 
“click”, and a reliable and complete monitoring system.

A constant, repetitive loop is much like a click, and “good” players 
should not have a problem plying to it, yet, as so it does tend to limit 
possible rhythmic or harmonic dis-placement within a performance.

For working in “traditional” song forms, I have found that using small , 
textural loops which are somehow connected to the harmonic “center” of the 
passage work much better than long loops which try to follow the ABABA  
of form.  It is much easier and more musical to “integrate” shorter loops 
into a live musical performance than to work with longer, strict loops of 
verse/chorus.  For this type of thing I think it might be better to just 
sequenced parts (which is that whole other thread…)

In regards to time, sync and drummers:  Since when is it the drummer’s or 
bassist’s responsibility to keep time/tempo for others?  One thing I 
in bands for which I play (and usually in a role of MD), as well as to my 
students, is that it is NOT the role of the rhythm section to “keep” time 
and/or tempo for the other players.  That is an individual responsibility 
each player, and if you cannot manage this elementary discipline then you 
are really not ready to “play”.

Music, in an ensemble, is made just as much by the interplay and dialogue 
between the players as it is by the notes played.  This dialogue is not 
constrained or perfect.  The imperfections, the drift, the push and pull 
the beat defines the quality of the performance and makes the music more, 
for lack of a better word, “human”.  This, of course, creates a certain 
dilemma for live looping with an ensemble, as loops tend to repeat 
themselves quite deliberately, and as “perfect” as they were originally 
played.  Short loops, good ears (and monitors) and a certain flexibility 
from the players involved are necessary to intergrate looping into a 
“real-time”, live group performance.  I think the key work here is 
“integrate”, as one would hopefully want the loops to be part of the 
music; and not vice-versa.


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