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"Free" Tempo


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HI there,


I'm a pretty new Logic user, and pretty new to digital recording. I'm working on a song that has in introduction that has a very loose feel tempo-wise but then there goes into a section with a more rigid tempo.


What is the best way to approach this sort of scenario? I want to be able to play loosely, and then at some point start playing to a click or something, but I want to be able to determine when that happens on the fly; ideally, I'd be playing this introductory part, then hit a pedal which cues the system to start a click or something.


I've searched around quite a bit but can't find anything regarding tempo-less or free tempo recording...is there some better term I should be searching for?





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Tempo-less recording is achieved simply by ignoring the tempo and turning off the click during recording. You will also want to make sure that if you're recording MIDI that the "thru" quantize parameter is set to "off" (click on the background of the arrange area and look in the upper left hand corner of the Inspector for the "thru" parameters). This will prevent MIDI parts from becoming quantized to the tempo setting (i.e., "quantize off").


As far as getting the metronome/click to kick in at a specific point, well, yes, it's possible to work out something to give you that feature but it's not a feature built-in to Logic. See, Logic's arrangement is going to progress according to whatever static tempo you have set. Or, you can set up a tempo map (variable click) ahead of time, and have the steady tempo kick in at a pre-determined point in time, but that's not what you're looking for.


The way to do what you want would be to create a sampler instrument that plays back a loop of a click (or a drum loop) that loops at whatever tempo you want to arrive at. The sample can be triggered by any number of means, including Logic's Touch Track feature. As soon as you hear the click, you're going to start playing in time with the click itself. But after you make the recording, it's likely that the click (and your playing) will not be in any way aligned to Logic's grid. Now, that too can be remedied using Beat Mapping.


All that said, doing any of what I described above is "advanced" stuff and if you're new to Logic and recording, it will probably prove to be pretty daunting. What I'd suggest instead is that you simply record the intro and first (say) 8 in-tempo measures of the song. If you're satisfied with the fixed tempo you arrive at, slide your recording to the right until the downbeat note of the in-tempo stuff lands on the next available downbeat. Then, SMPTE-lock the part and beat map the first downbeat and the last downbeat of your in-tempo part. That procedure will give you the average tempo of those 8 measures, to which you can then continue playing to for the rest of your recording. The final step is to SMPTE-unlock the part so that you can freely edit it as needed.


If all that sounds complicated, well, it is. But what you've asked for isn't exactly beginner's stuff. The above approach will work, though it's not going to be as spontaneous as you'd like it to be.

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