As you've seen above, the SPL is a thin vertical line that travels across the Arrange window as your song plays. The SPL has one function only: It shows you the current playback position of your song. As you audition various parts of your song, such as intros, choruses, and breakdowns, you will need to move the SPL to the area you want to hear. This is an interactive processmove the SPL, listen, move the SPL, listen again. In fact, basic as it may seem, moving the SPL is an important editing technique, and Logic provides you with several ways to do it.
Using the SMPTE/Bar Position Display
The Transport's SMPTE/Bar Position display offers the most precise method of moving the SPL, because it lets you type in an exact song position for the SPL to jump to. Available in both the Transport panel and Transport window, this display is made of two separate sets of numbers: the Bar Position display and the SMPTE display.
Exploring the Bar Position Display
Songs are measured in bars and beats. Obligingly, the Bar Position display shows your current song position in bars and beats, and also allows a greater degree of resolution by breaking bars into divisions and ticks.
While bars and beats are basic music concepts, divisions and ticks are a bit more confusing. To show how the Division and Tick settings work, we need to open the Transport window.
Choose Windows > Transport (Cmd-7). The Transport window opens. This window contains all of the same settings as the Transport panel, and a few extras as well. For now, however, let's focus on the Bar Position display.
The Bar Position display's division number is governed by the Transport's Division setting, and the Division setting tells Logic to divide each bar a certain number of times. For example, with a Division setting of 16, each bar is divided into 16 parts, which are equivalent to sixteenth notes. Each beat is a quarter note, and there are four sixteenth notes in a quarter note, so each beat in the Bar Position display is further divided into four parts. These four parts are reflected in the Bar Position display's division number. With a Division setting of 32, the Bar Position display's division value can be used to divide each quarter note into eight parts, and so on. (Don't worry if you find this confusing, because you won't often have to enter division values into the Bar Position display.)
If the Division setting doesn't offer a fine enough degree of resolution, you can also dial a tick number into the Bar Position display. At 1/3840 of a bar, ticks are the smallest bar subdivision offered by Logic.
Leave the Transport window open.
Using the Bar Position Display to Move the SPL
Now that you're familiar with how the Bar Position display works, let's use it to move the SPL.
In either the Transport window or the Arrange window's Transport panelit doesn't matter whichdouble-click the Bar Position display.
A text field appears. Let's move the SPL to the beginning of the song, at bar 1.
Type 1 1 1 1 (that is, type four 1s with spaces in between), and press Return. The SPL jumps to bar 1, beat 1, division 1, tick 1, which is the very beginning of bar 1 (make sure to insert a space between the numbers; otherwise the SPL will jump to bar 1111 instead of the beginning of bar 1).
To save time while moving the SPL, Logic lets you avoid typing in all four position numbers. If you only want to jump to the beginning of bar 7, for example, you don't need to type 7 1 1 1 into the Bar Position displayjust type 7 and press Return. Similarly, to jump to bar 7, beat 2, you can type 7, press the spacebar, type 2, and press Return.
Double-click the Bar Position display, type 7, and press Return.
The SPL jumps to the beginning of bar 7.
In the Transport, click and hold the Bar Position display's beat value, and then drag up or down to change the value.
As you drag, the beat value changes and the SPL moves back and forth across the Arrange window.
About the SMPTE Display
The SMPTE display shows the SPL's position in minutes and seconds. The SMPTE display is really designed for Logic users who are spotting sound to video, because this display shows SMPTE time code.
SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) time code is used for determining time points and frame positions in a video stream. Video displays a series of still pictures over time. Each picture is called a frame, and as the frames flip by, they create the effect of motion. Because video is a frame-based medium, its smallest degree of resolution is a single frame. Consequently, the SMPTE display shows hours, minutes, seconds, frames, and subframes.
Broadcast video has two major competing standards: NTSC (National Television Standards Committee) and PAL (phase alternating line). The standard you use is dependent on the country you live in. In NTSC countries, video progresses at a frame rate of 29.97 frames per second (fps), while PAL countries use a frame rate of 25 fps. Keep this difference in mind when reading the frame portion of the SMPTE display.
In either the Transport window or the Arrange window's Transport panel, double-click the SMPTE display.
A text field appears. Let's move the SPL to 15 seconds into the song.
Type 01:00:15:00.00 and press return. The SPL moves to 15 seconds into the song.
Using the Bar Ruler
A common way to move the SPL is to drag it along the Arrange window's Bar Ruler. The Bar Ruler has a horizontal line that divides it into two parts. The section under the line is used for moving the SPL.
Click in the lower section of the Bar Ruler at bar 5.
The SPL jumps to bar 5.
In the lower third of the Bar Ruler, click and drag left and right.
The SPL moves back and forth across the Arrange area.
Double-click the lower portion of the Bar Ruler to start playback from the clicked position. You might notice that the SPL's movement is jerky. This is because it's snapping along Logic's internal time grid. Let's disable this snapping in the next step.
Hold down the Control key while dragging along the bottom section of the Bar Ruler.
Pressing the Control key engages a finer resolution mode (which becomes more precise the more you're zoomed in).
Using the Transport's Position Slider
The Transport window's position slider provides a further method of dragging the SPL forward or backward through your song. The position slider represents the length of your song, and it provides a very intuitive method for quickly navigating your arrangement.
From the Transport window's pop-up menu, choose Position Slider. The position slider appears along the bottom of the Transport window.
Logic Express users will not have the same Transport menu choices listed in the figure above, which was taken from Logic Pro.
Drag the right end of the gray area to move the position slider.
The SPL moves through your song.
The position slider is available only in the Transport window and not in the Arrange window's Transport panel.
Close the Transport window.