Can you see sound? With Logic, you can. A soundscape is more or less an aural painting, filled with emotion and colored by experience in much the same way as a painting hung on the wall reflects the mood of the artist when she picked up her brush. In a painting, the artist arranges strokes and dabs of color across a canvas to make a visual picture. In Logic, you arrange strokes and dabs of sound across the Arrange window to make a song. The Arrange window is your sound canvas. It's also Logic's main editing window, and the majority of your time editing in Logic will be spent in this window.
Let's take a brief look at the various parts of the Arrange window.
The Arrange Area
The heart of the Arrange window is the Arrange area. This large rectangular space occupies most of the Arrange window, and it has one function only: It's used to arrange MIDI Regions and Audio Regions to make a song.
The Song Position Line
The Song Position Line (SPL) is Logic's playhead. As a song plays, the SPL moves across the Arrange area to let you see which part of the song you are hearing.
The Bar Ruler
The Bar Ruler is divided into bars and beats. It's your song's timeline. As the song plays, the Bar Ruler works in conjunction with the SPL to help you determine the current playback position in your song.
The Transport Panel
The Transport panel holds buttons used to control Logic's playback and recording functions.
MIDI Regions are little boxes that contain MIDI data. A MIDI Region is a tightly wrapped package, and if you open one up by double-clicking it, you'll see a collection of note-on and note-off messages; volume, pan, and continuous controller data; and other information (such as SysEx messages) that tell a synthesizer how to play notes.
It's important to note that MIDI Regions do not contain sounds. The sounds all sit in your synthesizers. Think of a player piano in an Old West saloon. In this device, a roll of paper with holes punched in it cycles through the piano. The punched-out holes represent note information that tells the player piano which keys to press and when to press them. If your synthesizer is a player piano, MIDI Regions are the rolls of punched paper that tell it which keys to press.
An Audio Region is a selected area of an audio file. Like MIDI Regions in the Arrange window, Audio Regions look like horizontal boxes. But there's a difference: While MIDI Regions hold MIDI data that plays your MIDI devices, Audio Regions point to digital audio files stored on your hard disks. This can be audio recorded directly into Logic through your sound card, audio imported from a folder on your hard disk or a CD, or even converted MP3 files downloaded from the Internet.
The Track List
In Logic, all MIDI Regions and Audio Regions are recorded and arranged on horizontal lines called tracks. These tracks are listed vertically, from the top of the Arrange window toward the bottom. Toward the left edge of the Arrange window there is a column displaying the names of your song's tracksthis is called the Track List.
The Region Parameter Box and the Object Parameter Box
These boxes update to show you information about MIDI Regions and Audio Regions selected in the Arrange area. There are a lot of settings in these boxes, each with a unique purpose, so let's defer the discussion of them until the appropriate lessons later in this book.
MIDI Regions and Audio Regions sometimes need to be erased, cut, or combined. The tools for these jobs can be found in the Arrange window's toolbox. There are many tools in this box, and each is designed for a specific purpose. The functions of most of these tools are obvious from their icons, and you'll discover how to use each one as you work through this book's lessons. In this lesson, we'll stick to some general tips about selecting tools quickly and efficiently.
The Marquee and Automation tools are not available in Logic Express.
Selecting tools from the toolbox is every bit as easy as you'd expectjust move the pointer over the tool and click it! But still, there are some tricks you can use to make selecting tools quicker. Let's explore a few of them now.
The following tricks work in all editing windows that have a toolbox.
Using the Secondary Tool
Logic gives you access to both a main tool and a secondary, or alternative, tool. The main tool is the one currently selected and highlighted in the toolbox. The secondary tool is reserved for any function you use often. It is accessed by holding down the Command key. For example, if you're constantly returning to the toolbox to grab the Glue tool, save yourself some time by making the Glue tool your secondary tool, and it will become available each time you press the Command key. Let's assign the Glue tool to the Command key now.
Pressing the Control key always enables Logic's Magnifying Glass (Zoom) tool. This cannot be changed.
Using the Floating Toolbox
Instead of moving the mouse pointer all the way over to the toolbox, you can open the toolbox right under the pointer's current position in the Arrange area by holding down the Escape key.
For the sake of simplicity, we're going to call this arrow-shaped tool the Arrow tool, but you will run across occasions when Logic calls it the Pointer tool.
Exploring the Transport Panel
The Transport panel contains buttons that control Logic's playback and record functions. These buttons look similar to the control buttons on a cassette deck or recordable audio CD player, and indeed, they work exactly the same way. The Transport panel's other displays are used to edit your song's tempo, move the SPL, or set up loop boundaries for cycle Playback and Record modes.
Let's use the Transport panel controls to start and stop the playback of your song.
Controlling Playback Using the Number Pad
If your computer keyboard has a number pad, you can also start and stop playback using the Enter and 0 keys.
If you have the Cycle mode enabled, pressing the 0 key while the song is stopped causes the SPL to jump to the beginning of the Cycle range, and not the beginning of the song. The Cycle mode is discussed in Lesson 3, "Understanding Workflow Techniques."