MUS 14A • Department of Music • Summer 2021

Introduction to Music Technology

LIU Post • Long Island University

What is a Loop?
In electroacoustic music, a loop is a repeating section of sound material. Short sections of material can be repeated to create ostinato patterns. A loop can be created using a wide range of music technologies including turntables, digital samplers, synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines, tape machines, delay units, or they can be programmed using computer music software. More about Loops

The pupose of this exercise is to give you an opportunity to create a music loop, i.e. one which repeats seamlessly so the beat doesn't change as it repeats and you can't tell where it repeats.

As you edit your loop, keep in mind the skills you learned and the techniques you used in our first two audio exercises. Also, keep in mind what was discussed in class when we did our third exercise, that is – music is made up of sound AND silence, and a beat does not end until the next beat begins, whether sound heard in the beat or there is silence.

However, there is one big difference in what was done in the first two audio exercises and what you'll do in this exercise – you will not include a fade-in and fade-out in this exercise. Instead your editing will have to be much more precise. More about this difference in class.

Below you'll find files you can download and open in Audacity to edit.

The exercise asks you to complete and email one loop. You can get extra credit if you create more than one.

Example 1. Queen
Format: WAV (uncompressed), Length: 17 seconds, File Size: 3.1 MB

In this example create a loop of the intro. There is one possible loop. Maybe two.

Queen Work File to download. Your final version should sound similar to this: Queen Loop

BTW I cheated a bit when creating the Queen Loop. See if you can hear what was done. (Hint: In the loop it occurs in the very first beat).

Example 2. Michael Jackson
Format: WAV (uncompressed), Length: 33 seconds, File Size: 5.8 MB

In this example create a loop from a section of the introduction. There are at least three or four possible loops. You only have to create one.

Jackson Work File to download.

Your final version should sound similar to one of these loops:
Jackson Loop 1
Jackson Loop 2
Jackson Loop 3

For the music you choose, listen closely to the Loop version, note where the excerpt begins and its total length.

NOTE: Be prepared to zoom in and out A LOT, to tap your foot as you test whether your loop stays in beat, and to turn your headphones up loud!! Creating a loop is not an easy process and can get very frustrating. (But, I know you'll get it.)

ADDITIONAL NOTE: Counting out loud when listening to your loop is permissible!!

Follow these steps:

  1. Download one or both of the Work Files. To dowload a file, right-click on a Work File link, look for Save Target As, Save Link As, Download Linked File (or something similar) then save the file in your personal folder.
  2. Open the downloaded Work File in Audacity.
  3. Immediately save your project file in your folder (File > Save).
  4. Find the starting point of the excerpt and the end point and highlight that section.
  5. Press SHIFT-Play to loop-play the selection and listen carefully to see if the selection stays in beat when it loops back to the beginning and the loop is seamless with no extraneous sound.
  6. If the loops sounds right to you AND it stays in beat with no extraneous sound, go to step 7. If it doesn't sound correct, stop playing it and adjust the selected area by changing the start point and/or end point. To do this, put your cursor over one of the selection edges and when the cursor turns into a finger, click and drag the edge to the left or right. Then, go back to step 5.
  7. On the Edit menu find Trim Audio. The music before and after the selected area will be removed. If there's space before your excerpt open the Tracks menu and find Align Tracks > Start to Zero.
  8. Continue to fine-tune your loop until you're sure it loops seamlessly.
  9. Create an audio version of your project by choosing Export from the File menu. For this exercise choose Wave (WAV) as the type.
  10. Talk to JM before emailing your finished loop.

This exercise is more of a technical exercise about how to edit and create a loop. Other considerations when making a music loop will be discussed and demonstrated in class.