5 things to know about music technique live looping

SINGAPORE - So you play a music instrument, sing or beatbox and are curious as to how live looping can open up a whole new world of sound and expand your musical palette during a live performance.

Here are the five things you need to know about live looping:

1. Equipment

There are tons of options when it comes to live looping tools. Many live musicians opt for pedals - electronic gadgets that are connected in between the music instrument and the amplifier. These are usually placed on the floor and you operate them by tapping with your feet. Some of the basic ones, like the TC Electronic Ditto Looper (www.tcelectronic.com/ditto-looper/), go for about $165 here.

You can also use a laptop on stage and use looping software, like Ableton Live (www.ableton.com/en/live/new-in-9/), or smartphones or tablets with apps like Loopy (http://loopyapp.com/).

2. Music arrangement skills

With live looping, you are essentially recording a sound, melody or a music part and then get it to repeat while you add layers on top of it. Skilled loop artists can improvise and give their creativity free reign and make up decisions on the spot but beginners need to think about what kind of sounds, melodies and rhythms that they want to loop and how to layer them on top of one another.

3. Co-ordination skills

Since you will be handling a few things at the same time - playing your instrument and operating the looping equipment - good hand-eye, or feet-eye co-ordination is essential. Hitting the buttons a fraction of a second too fast or too slow can throw your music off. Popular acts like Ed Sheeran, KT Tunstall and Kimbra make it look easy but you can bet they spent hours and hours practising on their live looping techniques.

4. Think out of the box

There are more than one single way to play your instrument, so think of the various different sounds that you can get out of your guitar, percussion or voice. For example, you can strum the strings on your acoustic guitar for chords or melody lines and then create beats by hitting the guitar body with your hands and letting it loop.

5. Learn and share knowledge

Get in touch with other artists who use live looping, head to down to each other's performances and learn how others do it. One great place to start is to join the Live Loop Asia community (www.facebook.com/liveloopasia)

Head down to the Y2K14 Live Loop Asia Festival Singapore at Artistry,17 Jalan Pinang, on until Sept 27. Performances start at 7.30pm and admission is free, although donations are welcome.

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