Looping is a staple of the music industry. It has been a hallmark component to music production, composition, and production. Songs like Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles utilized looping to create the famous background sounds in the song.
So, what is looping?
Looping takes a phrase or soundbite and plays it non-stop, over and over again. Any credible digital audio workspace (DAW) will have a looping component to their software.
You can use sound-on-sound looping. This is the art of recording additional passes over the top of the content that you originally looped. You are essentially compounding loops over-top of each other. Entire songs have been made by just using this looping technique.
Looping goes all the way back to the 1950s. It is named looping because people used analog tape for audio samples. They would splice together the two ends of the part of the analog tape to form an actual loop. When you think of the word looping, think of this to get a clear picture of what it is.
Electronic music pioneers used tape loops to make their music. However, the more fashionable pop and rock started using looping in the 1960s.
Why would you use a looper?
There are many reasons to use a looper for your music production. Getting your bandmates together for rehearsal sessions can be hard, especially when everyone has jobs outside of music-making. However, you can use a looper to create entire tracks all by yourself. It is a powerful composition tool. Having a solid DAW will allow you to create music through looping.
“all you need are sound clips of certain audio you want and drag them onto the timeline of your DAW. Start looping to create your masterpiece.”
Do not use your samples exclusively
You need to be creative with your samples and loops. Using nothing but loops nowadays is not the best choice. You can create an entire track using just loops, but it probably won’t be precisely what you are looking for. This is why it is essential to develop a cohesive track with samples and loops. This will take trial and error, but it will be worth it in the long run when you find the perfect mix.
The art of layering loops
Layering loops is very popular in the industry. Drums are typically are part of layer looping. Using drums as an extra layer will help create a great beat or groove for the track. This will be an extra layer on top of the main drum beat. By having a solid drum loop as the main component of your drum track, you can sprinkle in different samples of percussion to give some extra life to the production.
“you can add other elements from a voice sample or instrumental in creating more of a unique and engaging groove.”
Using one loop is not recommended
Not to be confused with layering, using one loop is not recommended. Do not just use one vocal sample from the same voice or one drum loop to create your hook. You want to create something unique that no one has ever heard. If it is too generic, the hook will not grip people the way you want it to.
If you want your track to be playing on repeat, you want to be edgy with the number of loops you make. Splicing together different loops, doing a linear loop, or mixing everything are ideas on how to do this. The whole point is to experiment and end up with something you are proud of.
Looping is considered one of the most cutting-edge innovations to come out of the music industry over the last few decades. The great thing about looping is you have all the creative freedom. It is a simple concept to grasp, and once you do, the possibilities are endless.
This guide has given you an idea of what looping is and what to do with it. As the artist, it is up to you to get into the recording studio to create samples. Then hop onto your digital audio workshop and drag those samples onto the timeline. Loop your way to a masterpiece.