Mixing with GrooveMaker 2.0 SE

GrooveMaker is a fun music loop remixing tool that comes with a pack of loops and sounds to help you experiment with on-the-fly remixes. While the program can be quite involved if you want to drill down into the features and start to create some original music, beginners and people with a passing interest in remixing sounds should still enjoy it.

BUILD YOUR OWN GROOVE

Upon first starting GrooveMaker, click on the text that says Trance Limited then Load. Click the All button to select all tracks then click the Empty button, located at the top right of GrooveMaker's control circle.

Now select track number one; you will notice that only it is highlighted. Next, near the top right of the interface, there is a table with the numbers 1 to 8 listed - this represents GrooveMaker's eight-track loop selector. Hold down the left mouse button over the dash next to number 1 (track number 1) and you will be able to select a track type. For our purposes, select Bd (Bass Drum). Now, in the right-hand column for track number one, hold down the left mouse button over the three dashes and select a loop. You should hear the beat straight away. Continue for each of the remaining seven tracks and try to add different flavours of sound in each channel.

You can adjust the volume of each track by selecting its track number and moving the slider accordingly; this also applies to panning. Controls for both these functions are located at the right and bottom of GrooveMaker's control circle, respectively. Between them you'll find the beats per minute (BPM) slider that you can use to change the song's tempo at any time. You can quickly mute and unmute tracks by using the small buttons titled 1 to 8 at the top of GrooveMaker's control circle.

Remembering that the blue circle/track number that you currently have selected is highlighted, clicking on Solo at any time will play that track on its own. Clicking on Group will put you into Group mode, which allows you to select tracks to group by clicking on their number. When you have selected the tracks you want, simply click Group to exit group mode. What we are doing here is building variation for the mixing of the track.

If you really like how one of your tracks sound at the moment and you don't want it changing, select the track and then LOCK. Clicking LOCK again will unlock the tracks you have selected.

Now play with the Randomix buttons (1-4) on the top left of GrooveMaker's control circle. When you have found a groove you like, click the Mark button located on the left side of the program. This will store the current groove in a groove list, complete with panning and volume information.

LOOPMAKER

For a touch of originality, click on Import Loop then Open to load your own .wav loop. If you don't have any loops of your own, try some from the Test Loops directory. With everything else turned down, LoopMaker's controls allow you to adjust volume, speed, number of bars and even the entry and exit points of when your loop will play. When satisfied, click the blue Write button and save your loop as MyLoop. Click the button above LoopMaker's volume slider. You can now set one of your eight groove tracks to User and load your new loop the same way you first started buildingyour groove.

ARPEGGIATOR

In simple terms, an arpeggio is a group of notes (or chords) played in a particular order. By clicking the ARP (Arpeggiator) button located at the bottom left of GrooveMaker, you are able to click on music keyboard keys, select notes and form note patterns. If you left click and hold down on the yellow text at the top left of the keyboard (A), you can change settings such as the keyboard's sound and note length. When you have a sound you like, click the keyboard's Mark button. Next, select another key and click Mark again. Each Mark that you have set can be quickly accessed via the numbered circles above the keyboard (B).

Similarly, the Marks for the groove itself can be accessed via the numbered circles on the left of GrooveMaker's control circle (C). Drag these to the empty circle next to them to create a sequence of grooves.

Originality is important in music, and although the makers of GrooveMaker claim that the chances of identical mixes are extremely low, the software could quite easily fall into the "spoonfed music making software" basket. What really saves it is the ability to experiment and have fun at the same time.

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Danny Allen

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