Preparing the Project
Let's take a moment to open and save the first project for this lesson before moving on to the main exercises.
This project shows the complete workflow of a recorded Software Instrument region starting with the original recording in the top track. The Joined Final Piece track shows the finished edited version of the recording. You'll work on editing this project shortly. But first, this is a good time to learn how to monitor the processor with the playhead because this project may be demanding on your computer.
Monitoring the Processor with the Playhead
Did you know that the playhead changes color to indicate the level of demand on your computer's processor? The playhead turns from white to yellow to orange to red to indicate how processor-intensive the song is. White indicates the lowest processor load, red the highest.
When the playhead turns dark orange to red, you are pushing the maximum load on the computer processor, and you could be overloading it. When the processor overloads, playback will be interrupted by a dialog warning that you are using too many tracks, effects, and notes.
Software Instrument tracks and regions are more demanding on the processor than Real Instrument regions, especially if they contain a lot of notes played simultaneously.
To see how the playhead helps you gauge the load on your processor, let's play the project 3-1 Edit Recording in the Timeline.
If you see an alert dialog that you can't play the project because of high demands on the processor, click the Lock button on the top track to lock the track. Then play the project. The locked track will be rendered first before playing, which should free up some of the processor demands. If you still can't play the project after locking and rendering the top track, see "Strategies for Minimizing Processor Load" (Bonus Exercises > Minimizing_Processor_Load.pdf) on the accompanying DVD for more options.
Now you know how to identify changes in the processor load by the color of the playhead.
Working with a Software Instrument Recording in the Timeline
When you played the first part of the project in the previous exercise, you probably noticed the pauses between certain parts of the song. These pauses were added intentionally during the recording process. Even if I thought I could record a song straight through, I'd still leave pauses between sections to give myself more options later.
For example, if I make a mistake, it's easier to rerecord that section than to start over. Also, I may not know exactly how I want to arrange the song with other instrumentation. Maybe I'll leave a pause at a particular point in the song for a cymbal swell, strings, or some other instrument highlight. Maybe I won't want a pause at all. The good thing about pauses is that they are easy to remove if I decide not to use them. Keep in mind, there's nothing wrong with recording a long piece in one take. However, you may find that with some songs it's easier in the long run to give yourself more options.
When you're recording long takes, such as the one in this project, consider creating edit-friendly moments within the take by inserting a brief pause and releasing the sustain pedal if you're using one. This will produce a clean break between notes for editing. (Obviously you wouldn't do this in a live performance.) Note that this technique works not just for piano but for all the other instruments as well, including vocals, and it is not limited to Software Instrument recordings.
Let's work with this edit-friendly Software Instrument piano recording in the top track. The first pause is at the 30th measure, so you'll move the playhead a few measures before that to hear the pause in context. One of the easiest ways to get to a specific measure is to use the time display.
Splitting a Region
Splitting a region means that you physically slice the region at the playhead position, creating two regions, one on either side of the split. To split a region within a track, first select the region, then place the playhead at the point where you want to divide the regions, then press Cmd-T or choose Edit > Split.
The trick in splitting a track is finding the right spot to create the split.
Voila! No pause, and the piano part continues seamlessly without the gap as if it was originally recorded that way. The best part is, if you decide to add a little bit of a pause back in, you can always separate the regions a beat or so as needed.
It's your turn to find the second pause in the song, split the region, and delete the pause. Feel free to work on your own, or use the following steps. Closing the gap on this edit will be a little trickier because, in this case, the song will sound better if you leave a one-beat gap between regions. When you're ready to close the gap, move the playhead to the 2nd beat of the measure, then drag the edited region to the playhead. Use the time display to move the playhead to the 2nd beat of the measure (036.2.1.001).
Nice work! Sounds very natural, yet still includes a slight pause between sections of the song.
Trimming a Region
There are two ways to extend or shorten a Software Instrument region. You can extend it as a new looped segment by dragging the upper-right corner to the right in the Timeline, or you can trim it by dragging the lower-right corner toward the left. You can only extend or trim a region from the right side. This is to maintain the original integrity of the piece. If you want to remove part of the beginning of a region, you can always split it and delete the segment before the split.
In this exercise, you'll trim the excess notes from the end of the last region. These were backup sections I recorded at the end of the song in case I wanted to use them instead of the first take.
The second Grand Piano track in the Timeline shows the recording before all of the gaps were split and deleted. The Split and Trimmed track shows the final timing with all of the gaps removed and adjusted and the excess trimmed off. You'll notice that there is an extra split section at the end, which was created to remove a slight gap between the last two parts of the song. Feel free to experiment in removing the last gap after this lesson.
Joining Regions in the Timeline
Once you've split and positioned all of the regions in a track, you can join the parts together to create one long region. Although joining isn't necessary, it can come in handy sometimes if you want to move the entire finished piano parts around in the track, or copy and paste them, or even modify their timing or velocity.
You can join any recorded regions together, or regions from loops that came from the same original loop. The Joined Final Piece track shows all of the separated regions joined into one finished region.
To join regions, you first select them, then press Cmd-J or choose Edit > Join. Let's try it.
Now you know how to split, delete, move, and join regions to edit a Software Instrument recording in the Timeline.