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Editing Performance Length and Reversing in Music Editing

Aside from being able to fix problems in your tracks, you can use editing to shorten, simplify or reverse your other work. The following covers a couple of ways that the editing capabilities of your digital system can be used outside the box, so to speak.

Adjusting the length of a performance

Time compression and expansion allow you to make small adjustments to the length of a section of music. This can be useful if you’re trying to match your music to a video or if you want to change the feel of a vocal performance.

For example, you can slow the last word in a phrase for a more crooner-type sound, or you can match certain words to rhythmic accents in the music. You can also fix a poorly performed drum fill (one that speeds up or slows down).

To compress or expand a section, you use a function called — at least on some systems — Time Machine. To use it, select the music that you want to edit and fill in the parameters in the Time Machine dialog box.

Reversing a phrase

Being able to change the waveforms of your music can open a lot of possibilities for experimentation. You’ve probably listened to a recording and been told that a subliminal message was hidden within the music. Of course, The Beatles were famous for putting reversed vocals in the back of the mix, and you can do this easily as well.

Reversing a musical phrase can be used in many more ways than to just peddle music. For example, you can add a reversed drumbeat or cymbal crash to add anticipation. This was overused in the ’80s, but it can still be effective, depending on the style of music that you play.

To do this procedure, follow these steps:

  1. Select a drumbeat (be sure to get the initial attack) and copy it to an empty track.

  2. Place the end of your selection where the drumbeat that you want to anticipate begins.

  3. Choose Edit→Reverse to reverse the phrase.

    If you play both tracks, you hear a reversed snare go right into a regular snare hit. Both attacks should happen at the same time. If they aren’t exact, just move the reversed one over until the attacks are the same.

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