What Are Music Loops?

Musicians today are lucky to be able have a wide variety of tools and equipment on hand to create and play music. While earlier musicians just used traditional musical instruments, and perhaps an old fashion pen and paper, to play and compose music, today many musicians are using computer programs to compose and perform songs. One of the most popular tools when it comes to creating music is called music loops.

What is a music loop?

Music loops are a recording of a small portion of a song (usually only one bar long) or sound that repeats over and over on continuous loop, hence the name music loops.

Why do musicians use music loops?

A music loop means that a person can create music and sounds (for example, speeding up the sound on the loop or even playing a loop in reverse) that would not be possible by playing a traditional instrument. If a person sits down and plays a musical instrument, like a piano, they can do a lot of great things, but there are some limitations. A person’s hand might only be able to physically play notes so fast, and a person can make mistakes. Music loops repeat the same sound or bar without error, giving people creative freedom and flexibility within their music.

How are music loops played?

Traditionally, music loops were recorded and played on a tape machine; but now, most are recorded and stored on a computer or in a computer program. This makes using music loops for playing and composing any piece of music much easier—particularly when it comes to recording a song, since most recording studios (even home recording studios) record digitally on a computer or in computer program.

Music

Do people need to be computer savvy to use music loops?

While the original computer programs that used music loops may have been confusing, today’s music loops programs are much simpler to understand. In fact, for most people living in our growing technological society, using music loops and other music programs is easy. Generally, the music loop software can be installed and used on a variety of computers and platforms that people are already familiar with.

What are some other benefits of using music loops software?

Music loops software programs have the capability to record and play hundreds, even thousands, of different music loops—much more than a traditional tape recorder would have been able to play. Additionally, music loops software often comes with prerecorded loops, known as sample libraries, that musicians and composers can use and play around with when creating and playing music.

While computers never used to be associated with playing or creating music, today it would be hard to find a musician who is not using a computer software program. Programs that use music loops offer professional and hobbyist musicians creative and intriguing ways to compose, record, and play a variety of songs.

The Art of Fine Art Photography

Fine art photography differs from other photographic subsets. Its main distinction lies in its purpose. While fine art photography and other forms of the craft such as photojournalism or fashion photography may overlap, its sole intent is to express the creative vision of the artist and elicit an emotional or contemplative response from its viewer.

The field of fine art photography has changed radically over the past century as ideas surrounding the usefulness of photography have evolved. Before the twentieth century, photography was seen as a method to capture an image, no more, no less. It wasn’t until groups such as the Linked Ring from Britain formed and began to advocate the photographer as artist that perception began to change. The American counterpart, Photo-Secession, was a movement led by Alfred Stieglitz and F. Holland Day which proposed that what was important about a photo was not what was in front of the camera, but the intent of the artist behind the camera and his or her own subjective vision. A shift in how photos are perceived began to take shape.

For the first half of the twentieth century, landscapes, nudes, and portraits dominated the field of fine art photography. Artists would take many photos, hoping to discover the right angle or lighting that conveyed the intended sentiment. They would hang around for hours or days attempting to capture the perfect moment on film. Artist and environmentalist, Ansel Adams, is one such photographer. Known for his crisp and stark landscape photography, Adams became a proponent of pure or straight photography, which aimed to make the craft as realistic and objective as possible, renouncing manipulation.

It wasn’t until the 60’s and 70’s that snapshot aesthetic, a term used in fine art photography to describe the trend of capturing every day, seemingly banal moments on film, began to emerge. Artists like Garry Winogrand and Nan Goldin became famous for their use of this technique, producing casual, snap-shot type photos of strikingly ordinary circumstances. This trend continued to become championed by the fashion industry as well, blurring the boundaries between art and function.

Current trends in fine art photography, no surprise, have been influenced widely be the use of digital technology, in pre and post processing. Digital stacking and multiple exposures are two common digital alterations, as well as color and grain manipulation. Lighting remains one of the most integral facets of fine art photography. In recent years there has been a movement to construct the perfect photo, with careful staging and lighting, rather than hoping to discover it. Artist Jeff Wall continuously experiments with lighting, contrasting bright and dim, popping his subjects with glow or hiding them in the haze.  Experiments in full spectrum photography are popular as well, using light across the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared spectrum.

The line between fine art photography and other genres is often blurred. Award-winning photojournalists and fashion photographers are producing amazing works of art while reporting the story or selling the brand. What differentiates fine arts photography from the other forms is the intent of the artist to fulfill his own creative vision and share that with the world.

Talented Famous Photographers Leave Their Mark

The world’s most famous photographers come from diverse photographic backgrounds. They have produced work in documentary photography, photojournalism, fashion photography and fine arts. The amazing work produced by these famous photographers is recognizable all over the globe.

A trailblazer in the field of documentary photography, Dorothea Lange became one of the world’s most famous photographers for her photos documenting the Great Depression. Hired by the Farm Security Administration (FSA), Lange`s photos emphasized the human consequences of the Great Depression and helped propel the field of documentary photography into the mainstream. Her most well-known photo is entitled Migrant Mother, 1936, and depicts Florence Owens Thompson, a transient and destitute mother of 7 children, sitting on the side of a dusty highway in a makeshift tent.

Steve McCurry is one of photojournalism’s most famous photographers. His work can be seen in the National Geographic as well as many other magazines throughout the world. His photo of an Afghan girl with striking eyes made the cover of the magazine in 1985. Since then, her image has become one of the most viewed faces in history.

Mario Testino is one of today’s most famous photographers in the fashion industry. His photos have appeared on the covers of, among others, Vogue and Vanity Fair, and his work has contributed to the success of many models and commercial fashion projects. He is also famous for his portraits of British politicians and royalty. Other famous photographers in this industry include Richard Avedon, Steven Meisel, and Helmut Newton.

The field of fine arts photography has produced many famous photographers in a variety of genres. Ansel Adams is probably the most well-known landscape photographer, publishing over 8 portfolios of photographic prints between the years of 1922 and 1984. He was a proponent of straight photography, emphasizing the clear, crisp reality of his subject, and a pioneer of environmentalism.

During the latter half of the twentieth century several famous photographers emerged. Baron Wolman became well-known as America’s leading rock-and-roll photographer, producing loose and candid shots of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, and other rock legends. Robert Mapplethorpe was a controversial artist who was best known for his black and white portraits of nude men and women. His photo of Andy Warhol sold at Christie`s Auction House in 2006 for $643,200, making it the 18th most expensive photo in the world. Sally Mann, became known for her work depicting her own nude children as well as corpses, both human and animal. Annie Leibovitz is famous for her highly stylized portraits of celebrities. Her work has appeared in Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair among other magazines. Anne Geddes is an Australian photographer who became famous in the 90`s. She is known for her creative portraits of babies and children.

Tim Mantoani is a photographer from California who has been working on what he calls the “Behind the Photographs Project”. The series features portraits of famous photographers holding their most iconic photographs. Mantoani hopes to remind people that there are amazing artists behind lens. Some of his subjects include Steve McCurry and Baron Wolman.

The Kinds of Software Instruments Available

A software for everything

If you are just beginning your path as a musician or are interested in creating your own music on a computer, the amount and types of software instruments out there can seem dazzling. Software instruments are not just a computerized version of a real life guitar or piano, but actually describe a range of music production programs. Here is a brief overview of them.

The Basics

Software instruments (or virtual instruments) are programs that can be run on a Mac or a PC. Some come pre-installed as part of a computer’s operating system, others can be found for free or cheap online, and more professional packages can cost around $200. Some emulate real instruments and some offer unique sounds. In almost all cases, they offer more flexibility than hardware instruments – they take up no space, you can load as many as your computer can handle and you can easily store presets. Some are based on samples; some on synths and some use both (MusicMatter).  The three most common types are synthesizers, samplers, and emulators.

The synthesizer

Synthesizer software instruments are the same as those found in keyboards, and can range from analogue emulations to totally new and unique models. Both can easily be found online and for a variety of prices.

The sampler

Sampler software instruments are programs in which users can take stored sounds—from instruments to movie quotes—and turn into loops and new sounds. In the sampler, users can employ techniques like reverse reverb to create new sounds to be exported into a final production software to be incorporated into a musical piece. Other samplers include this feature and entire compositions can be completed in there. Some come pre-loaded with thousands of musical, audio, and vocal “samples”, others allow for third party libraries to be downloaded into them.

Emulators

The last type is emulator software instruments. Emulators are exactly as they sound—they are virtual copies of real world instruments that the user can operate on their computer to create new musical pieces. Almost every instrument has its own emulator. As How Stuff Works put it, “The cool thing about these emulator plug-ins is that they include a graphical interface that looks exactly like the original instrument, right down to all the crazy knobs and faders. And since this is a MIDI interface, you can even add extra effects and capabilities — like the ability to play more notes at the same time.” In essence, you can direct an entire orchestra from your living room.

Thanks to computers and modern technology, there are more and more ways for people to create quality music. From synthesizers to samplers to emulators, almost everything a person would need to create their sound can be found online. And best of all, many musicians connect online, sharing their knowledge and experience, making it easier for someone to find the right program for their needs.