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Music

Handy Shortcuts for Logic Pro X

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While writing my previous tutorial I realized that there were a few shortcuts that I use in my daily workflow that would make things move faster and easier for a lot of people out there. So here, I'll highlight some alternative and more intuitive ways of getting things done your way in Logic Pro X.

Before we go further, I'd like to mention that I will mainly cover some shortcuts that that aren't not easily found in the menus. However, there are lot of extremely easy and useful shortcuts that you can learn simply by going through each of the menus in the menubar. Several items on those menus have their corresponding shortcuts mentioned on the right and that is a great place to start if you are absolutely new to Logic Pro shortcuts. Logic also allows users to edit and customize Key Commands from the Logic Pro X menu. 

1. The Double Escape

I'm starting off with a very simple and well known shortcut since this will help with what comes next.

Hitting esc once with the cursor in the arrange or edit window will present you with a list of tools. If you are using one of the alternative tools (Pencil Tool, Scissor Tool etc.), hitting esc twice will always return your cursor to the Pointer Tool. This is very handy.

2. Auto Chop Samples and Loops

This is one I used as a part of my previous tutorial. First select the Scissor Tool from the menu. To auto chop any region by a set musical division, place your cursor over the region at the point where you would like the first chop to be made, hold down option and click. The region will be automatically chopped up into equal parts. 

For instance, if you were doing this for eighth note divisions and place the cursor after the first eighth note section, the rest of the region will be chopped into equal eighth note sections. This works great for  audio regions but works on MIDI regions as well. 

Take a look at the image below for an example of how this would look when chopping into sixteenths.

Now hit esc twice to return to the Pointer Tool.

3. Automation Curve

In the esc drop down list, you might have noticed an Automation Curve Tool. However, There is a faster way of getting automation curves in place. 

Just hover your Pointer Tool over any automation lane and hold down shift + control. The cursor changes to the Automation Curve Tool and you can now click and drag the line in any direction to give it a different kind of curve.

4. The Big Picture

At any point during a session, use shift+control+z to zoom out and see the entire arrangement. On the other hand, just control+z will zoom in to show you only the selected region. 

5. Split by Playhead

Here's one of my favorites that Robert Anthony reminded me about. Use command+T to split the selected region at the playhead position. You can also select regions across multiple tracks to split them all together at the playhead position. Just make sure all the region you want to split by the playhead are selected.

6. Split by Marquee

The Marquee Tool is usually the Command+Click tool by default. If it isn't, you can select it by hitting esc and then holding down command while clicking on the Marquee Tool

This tool is great for removing or muting one part of a region or an entire section from the arrangement. For instance, if you have a MIDI region that's set to loop, this is the easiest way to remove a section from the middle. 

Hold down command and mark out the area you wish to mute or remove. Now release command and simple click on the highlighted area with the Pointer Tool. Logic Will automatically convert that section into a MIDI region and also create two MIDI regions to its left and right so that you can remove or mute only that one section in the middle, without any effect on the rest of the arrangement (the region to the right will continue looping). You can do this across tracks to create a break.

7. Capturing Notes

Ever been playing a keyboard part over a loop or section and felt it was really good? Then you realize you weren't recording! Fortunately, Logic has a way of getting this MIDI data into your arrangement. Once you stop playback, use shift+R to capture the last take as a recording. 

This is not foolproof though, it will only work if the playhead is moving. So basically if you were playing but Logic wasn't, this won't help. Also, this works only the first time after stopping the playhead since it resets every time you press Play.

8. Uniform Notes

To make all the notes in the Piano Roll Editor the same length, select/highlight all but one of the notes, hold down shift+option and drag at the end of the note that isn't highlighted. This will make all the notes shorter or longer and simultaneously quantize the note lengths.

Note: This operation does not work when all notes are selected.

Conclusion

These are some of the shortcuts I use everyday to speed up my work. Hopefully, they will enhance your workflow as well. Please feel free to share your favorite shortcuts in the comments.

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