Chapter 9: Loops, Markers and Regions

From Reaper Accessibility Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

9 Loops, Markers and Regions[edit]

Note: Many of the arrange view illustrations used in this chapter use the REAPER 4 default theme and color scheme. The information and instructions, however, are still accurate and correct for REAPER 5.

9.1 Creating Loops[edit]

Any audio, MIDI or click source Item can be looped. Indeed, by default REAPER media items are loop enabled. You can disable this for individual items in the Media Item Properties dialog box, or globally (for MIDI and imported items) on the Project, Media Item Defaults page of your Preferences.

The loop point is defined by the duration of the source media. If you insert an item that is four bars long, it will loop every 4 bars, if it is 8 bars, it will loop every 8 bars, etc. Note that in the following examples, if you are using beats for your timebase, the item must be an exact number of beats in length, or it will not loop in sync. If necessary, adjust the playback rate (Media Properties) while preserving pitch, then glue the item to do this.

To Loop an entire Item:

  1. Hover the mouse over the edge of an Item until the Cursor changes to a double-headed arrow (see right).
  2. Drag the Cursor to extend the Item. Each loop point will be indicated by a notch in the item edges.
  3. The length, start time and end time of the looped item will be displayed as you drag the edge of the loop.

Cropping and Looping:

If you wish to loop only part of an item, then one method is to first crop and glue the item.

  1. Make sure snapping is enabled. Hover the mouse over the edge of the Item until the Cursor changes to a double-headed arrow. Click and drag the mouse in on the item to make it shorter, so that you are left with only that part of the item that you want to use as the basis of the loop. Release the mouse button.
  2. Right click over the item and choose Glue items.
  3. Now drag the Cursor to extend the Item. Each loop point will again be indicated by a notch in the edges of the item. Extend the loop as required.

Changing Playback Rate:

There may be times when you will wish to change an item's playback rate, for example to keep it in sync. Taking the same example as above, you would first display the Item Properties box, and most probably make sure that Preserve pitch when changing rate was selected. You could then change the Playback rate (for example, to 2.0). This would have the effect shown here. The original item (looped) as shown above has had its playback rate modified (right).

Creating a Loop from a Time Selection

Another way of creating a loop from only part of an item is to select the required item, highlight the required part of it as a time selection, right click, choose Copy loop of selected area of items, remove the original, then paste in the loop in its place. This is shown here:

  1. Select first the source item, then select the area to be looped (see above). Either press Ctrl Alt L or right click and choose Copy loop of selected area of item.
  2. Select the track and position to which you want the item copied.
  3. Press Ctrl V to paste in the area to be looped.
  4. Drag the cursor from the edge of the item as before to create the loop.

9.2 Creating and Navigating with Markers[edit]

Markers are like bookmarks. They can help you when you are navigating, arranging and editing your projects. Markers can be inserted at the current Edit Cursor position, whether or not the project is being played.

Action Shortcut Effect
Insert, Marker command m Inserts numbered Marker at present position.
Insert, Marker ( prompt for name) command Shift M Inserts numbered Marker at present position and opens dialog which prompts for a marker name. Other options include Set color... to color the marker.
Right click mouse over marker Displays menu to Edit Marker or Remove Marker.

Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts

Default Keyboard and Mouse Shortcuts for creating and navigating with markers are:

To do this Mouse/Keystroke Go to marker 1 thru 10. 1 thru 0 on main keyboard, not Num Pad.
Move marker 1 thru 10 to cursor position, or create new marker if no marker of that number exists. Ctrl 1 thru Ctrl 9 and Ctrl 0
Go to next marker/ project end or previous marker/ project start. ] or [
To jump to any marker. Ctrl J opens Jump To dialog. Type m and marker number � e.g. m2 to jump to marker 2.
Jump to marker using the Transport Bar. Right click on Transport Bar then Jump to marker
Open Edit marker dialog (e.g. to add or change marker name or change marker color). Shift double-click on marker number. Type a new name, or click on Set color.
Make loop selection in REAPER's main arrange view or in the MIDI Editor piano roll view. Double-click on ruler between two markers
Select area between the two markers. Double click on timeline between markers
Move a marker. Click and drag marker along timeline
Remove a marker. Alt Click on marker


This example illustrates the use of markers. Before you begin, on the Options menu, enable the option Loop points linked to time selection.

  1. Open the sample file All Through The Night.RPP and immediately save it as All Through The Night MARKERS.RPP
  2. Play the song. Just before the place where the vocal starts. Press Shift M. When prompted, type as the name Verse 1 Start and press Enter
  3. At the end of the first verse, press Shift M again, name this marker Verse 1 End and press Enter.
  4. Create similar markers for the start and finish of Verse 2 and Verse 3. These will be at or around 1:00, 1:38, 1:46 and 2:35. Save the file.
  5. Press 1 on your keyboard (not the numeric keypad). Notice the edit cursor jumps to the start of Verse 1.
  6. Press 2. Notice it jumps to the end of Verse 2.
  7. Double click on the timeline ruler (not the markers row) between markers 2 and 3. Notice that this area is now looped and will play repeatedly.
  8. Right click over the timeline and choose Zoom selection. You could now do any close editing work required for this selection.
  9. Press Esc to clear the selection, then Ctrl PgDn to restore the whole project to view. Save the file.

Note: Do not use the names =START or =END when naming ordinary markers. These names should be used only when creating special markers which can be used to denote the start and end of a project. This information will be used by REAPER when rendering an entire project to audio media (see also Chapter 21).

9.3 Time Selection Start/End Markers[edit]

REAPER treats the start and end of any current time selection as floating markers. The shortcut keys for Go to next marker and Go to previous marker are ] and [. These will also find the start or end of the current time selection and move the play cursor there.

You can also right-click over the Go to start button and enable the option Use transport home/end for markers. The Go to start and Go to end buttons will now find the previous/next marker or start/end of a time selection when one is current.

9.4 Snapping to Markers[edit]

Optionally, you may wish to ensure that when you are making a time selection, the boundaries of the selection will automatically snap to nearby markers at the start and/or end of the time selection (if any such markers are present).

Consider the portion of the Snap/Grid Settings shown on the right. Notice that snapping has been enabled, with a snap distance of 10 pixels defined.

With snapping disabled, it can be quite difficult to make a selection which starts or ends exactly at a marker. When you attempt to make such a selection, you might end up with the selection shown in the first of the screen shots below. Notice that the end of the selection doesn't quite match the marker.

However, in the second example shown, with snapping enabled and the settings shown above, if you drag the selection to within 10 pixels of the marker position, the selection will automatically snap to the marker when you release the mouse. Notice the effect of making exactly the same selection with the above snap settings disabled (left) and enabled (right).


In the first screen shot (below), a project contains two markers, one at the start and one at the end of the project.

Suppose that you wish to reposition Marker 2 at the start of the second verse. You can simply position the edit cursor there and then press Ctrl 2.

Now let us suppose that you want to create Marker 4 at the end of the song, reserving Marker 3 for a position as yet unspecified. You can position the edit cursor at the end of the song and press Ctrl 4.

9.5 Removing Markers[edit]

There are two main methods of removing unwanted markers.

To remove a single marker

Position the mouse over the marker �flag� and hold down the Alt key while you click the left mouse button. Alternatively, you can right-click over the marker flag and choose Remove Marker from the context menu.

To remove a series of markers

Define a time selection that includes all of the markers that you wish to remove.

Right click over the space just above the marker �flags� within the time selection, and choose Remove all markers from time selection from the context menu.

9.6 Show/Hide Regions/Markers in Grid[edit]

You can choose whether or not to show project regions/markers and/or time signature changes on the grid by enabling or disabling the relevant preferences. These can be found on the Options, Preferences, Appearance settings page.

9.7 Marker Actions[edit]

Many actions are available (in the Actions List Editor) to help you manage markers. These include Markers: Delete marker near cursor and Markers: Renumber all markers in timeline order.

Chapter 15 explains in detail more about actions and about how you can assign them to toolbars or to your own shortcut keys.

9.8 Creating and Using Regions[edit]

Regions essentially take the idea of markers one step further. You can create regions for your projects, making it easy to identify, select and work with different passages of a song.

To do this ... Mouse/Keystrokes/Command Create a new region from the current selection. Shift R or right click, Create Region from Selection
To change name or other properties of the region. Shift Double click on region icon.
To specify a color for a region. Shift Double click on region icon then Set color.
Make the area of the region the current selection. Double click on region icon, or right click on region icon, Select Region
Adjust region start/finish point. Left drag on region edge.
To copy a region and its contents. Ctrl left drag with mouse.
To move a region with its contents. Left drag with mouse.
To move a region without moving its contents. Alt left drag with mouse.
Remove a region. Alt Click on region icon

To create a Region from two existing Markers…

  1. Make sure the Option for Loop points linked to time selection is enabled.
  2. Double click on the timeline (not the markers row) between the markers to make the selection.
  3. Right click and choose Create region from selection.

To create a Region from scratch:

  1. Click and drag across the background area of the Track View to make the selection.
  2. Right click and choose Create region from selection.

Example of working with Regions

  1. Make sure that the Option for Loop points linked to time selection is enabled.
  2. In the file All Through The Night MARKERS.RPP, double click on the timeline between the first two markers. This causes this area to be selected.
  3. Right click over the timeline, between the markers, and choose Create Region from Selection.
  4. Hold Shift while you double-click on the new region�s icon to display the Edit Region dialog. Type Verse 1 and press Enter.
  5. Double click on the timeline between markers three and four to select this area. Press Shift R to define a region. Right click over the icon for this region, choose Edit Region, type Verse 2 and press Enter.
  6. Repeat this process using the area between markers five and six to create a Verse 3 region. Keep this region selected.
  7. Press Ctrl with the + on the Numeric Pad to zoom in on that region.
  8. Press Ctrl PgDn to restore the whole project to the screen.
  9. Press Esc to remove the current selection.
  10. Save this file.

Several actions are available (in the Actions List editor) to help you create and manage regions. These include Markers: Insert region from time selection and Markers: Insert region from selected items as well as Regions: Go to next region after next region finishes playing. Also, Project region left drag and Project marker/region edge actions can be customised/edited via your Preferences, Mouse modifiers page. Chapter 15 explains in detail more about actions and about how you can assign them to toolbars or to your own shortcut keys, and about mouse modifiers.

9.9 The Region/Marker Manager[edit]

The View, Region/Marker Manager command toggles this display, used to manage regions and markers.

This table shows how the region manager manipulates markers and regions using its buttons, its controls, and its context menu (displayed by right-clicking on its title bar or in its background area.)

To do this � � you do this Renumber markers and regions in timeline order Choose Renumber in timeline order from context menu.
Go to marker or region and scroll into view. Enable Seek playback when selecting a marker or region on context menu.
Auto play any region on selection in region manager. Enable Play region thru then repeat or stop when selecting a region from context menu.
Edit marker/region name Double-click on marker/region name in table then edit.
Change marker/region color Click on current color to open color palette.
Edit other marker/region data Double-click on number, start time, end time or length to edit.
Sort rows in any order Click on column header, e.g. Color, Name or Start time. In the above example, Start has been chosen as the sort column.
Delete a marker or region Select the marker or region in table and press Delete. Removes the region definition but not media content.
Show/not show regions or markers in Region Manager Tick/untick Regions and Markers options (top right).
Change column order Click and drag column header left or right.
Hide/Show columns Right click on any header, deselect/select from list.
Open Edit region/marker dialog box Double-click on region or marker name.
Change region or marker color Click on small color icon to left of marker/region number.
Zoom to region or marker Double-click on region or marker number.
Render regions as a separate file each (all tracks) From context menu choose Mark all regions to be rendered or click in Render column to select required regions and choose Mark selected regions to be rendered from the context menu, then use the Render Matrix... button to open the Render Matrix window. See Chapter 21.
Render only selected tracks within regions, as separate files After selecting region to be rendered, left click in Render Matrix column to select tracks. For details see Chapter 21.
Export marker/region list as .txt or .csv file Tick Regions and/or Markers option box(es), choose Export regions/markers... from context menu, then type a file name, choose file type and click on Save.
Import regions/markers from .csv file (replace existing) Use Import regions/markers (replace existing) command from context menu, select file then click on Open.
Import regions/markers from .csv file (merge with existing) Use Import regions/markers (merge with existing) command from context menu, select file then click on Open.

9.10 Overlapping Regions[edit]

REAPER allows for overlapping regions. Create your regions in the normal way. Use the Ruler context menu to choose Ruler layout, then Display project regions in lanes and/or Display markers in lanes (toggle). To then display these correctly, you can click and drag down on the boundary between the toolbar and the track panel (in order to create enough room to display more than one marker/region lane), as shown here. Also, REAPER’s Action List includes actions to set ruler height to maximum, minimum or default, and Mouse Modifiers preferences allow you to customise Ruler marker/region lanes left drag behavior. For more information about ruler layout options, see the section Ruler Display Options.

9.11 Project Building with Regions[edit]

Regions can be used as a very powerful project building tool, especially when you are constructing a project from samples and/or loops. Two especially powerful features of regions are:

Drag and drop a region along the timeline to move a region's entire contents.

Hold Ctrl while dragging and dropping to copy the entire contents of a region.

To illustrate this, take a look at the image above. We have started building a project, with an introduction, then a verse (which has been made into a region), a chorus (also a region) and a second verse.

By holding the Ctrl key while clicking and dragging the icon for the Chorus region to the right, to the end of verse 2, we are able to copy the entire chorus to that point (see below).

Notice that any markers and time signature markers that are inside the region will also be copied or moved when the region is copied or moved.

Note: You can also select a series of media items and create separate regions for each item in the selection. To do this, make your selection, then run the action Markers: Insert separate regions for each selected item. This action can be run from inside the Actions window, and/or be assigned to a keyboard shortcut, and/or added to a toolbar, and/or added to one of REAPER's menus. see Chapter 15 for more information.

9.12 Changing the Project Timebase[edit]

You can select Time, Beats (position, length, rate) or Beats (position only) as the timebase for your envelopes, events and markers. To do this:

  1. Press Alt Enter to display the Project Settings window. Click on the Project Settings tab.
  2. Make a choice from the Timebase for items/envelopes/markers drop down list, then click on OK.

You can also change the beat by clicking in the BPM box (on the Transport Bar) and entering a number.

9.13 Markers and Media Cues[edit]

If you need to share your media files with other applications that use media cues (for example, Sound Forge) you can convert your markers to media cues when rendering. File rendering is covered in detail in Chapter 21. REAPER also has an option on the View menu (enabled by default) to show media cues where they exist on imported media items. Moreover, you can use the Item Processing command to create markers within REAPER for these media cues.


  1. In the screen shot shown below, our project includes a number of markers:
  2. We can now select the appropriate tracks and render the file (using the File, Render) command, selecting the option Stems (selected tracks) from the Render drop down list, Mono channels, and specifying which combinaton (if any) of markers and regions we want written into the output files as cues. In this example, Markers only has been selected.
  3. If these rendered files were later imported back into REAPER, we can see that the media items contains cues which correspond exactly with the original markers. This is illustrated below. Notice the series of vertical broken lines which indicate the positions of the media cues.
  4. If we now select any of these media items then right click and choose Item processing then Import media cues from items as project markers then a set of REAPER markers and regions is automatically created for the project.

9.14 Tempo Based Music Production[edit]

REAPER incorporates a number of features which make it a good choice for tempo based music production. Some of these elements (such as creating loops and various item properties) have already been mentioned in the context of other uses. Others have not yet been mentioned. In this section we will draw these elements together to give you a flavour of how REAPER can be used for the production of tempo based music. Creating tempo based music is a process that largely consists of creating and sequencing loops from audio samples. These become the building blocks from which a work is created. Individually they can vary in length from a single note to a complete rhythmical pattern, and anything in between.

One advantage that sampling has always had over MIDI is sound quality. There are any number of human performance techniques and subtle variations that it are very difficult if not impossible to simulate with MIDI. However, until recently MIDI held one big advantage over sampling. A MIDI track can easily be transposed without altering its tempo, and its tempo can be changed without affecting its pitch. This has not always been the case with audio.

Take the example of drum loops. One of the biggest problems with using samplers to trigger drum loops has been that when the tempo changes, so does the pitch. Samplers change pitch by slowing things down or speeding things up. This means that as you play keys up and down your keyboard, you must at the same time handle the issue of beat changes. It becomes almost impossible to get the exact tempo you want without having to open the sampler and make adjustments to the loops.

Today, however, there are available many tools that can do all this for you. The time and pitch altering tools that come with REAPER use high quality algorithms which give you all the options you need to change or maintain such factors as length and intonation. It thus becomes possible to modify samples accurately and without distorting their essential characteristics.

ReCycle is one program that has become popular because its REX grooves automatically arrange themselves to the project tempo on import. Bring in a groove and it always fits the song. Take a set of items representing slices in a rhythmic groove, set their timebase to beats, and change the tempo -- magic! They move all over the place but remain exactly in rhythmic time according to the tempo. Using REX files you are able to play back loops at different tempos without altering the pitch. You're on your way to being able to create drum loops and other sounds exactly the way you want them, and with relatively little effort.

Later in this chapter we'll have more to say about ReCycle, and indeed about REAPER's own dynamic splitting capabilities which puts this magic at your disposal. After dynamic splitting, just double click in the BPM area of the transport bar, enter a number and, hey presto! The whole track plays faster, or slower, in perfect pitch. What's more, the whole track will speed up or slow down naturally, without glitches, pauses or stuttering.

9.14.1 Project Settings[edit]

Before creating any music, you should make sure that your project settings are specified correctly. To display the project settings dialog box, press Alt Enter or choose the command File, Project Settings� from the main menu. In particular, check the following:

Under Project Settings, Project beats per minute.

Under Project Settings, Time signature.

Under Project Settings, Timebase for events. You can select Time, Beats (position, length, rate) or Beats (position only). The former locks items to the timeline so that changes in tempo will cause items to be resized and their play rate adjusted. With Beats (position only), the start of the item is locked to the beat, but the item contents are not affected or modified by tempo changes.

Under Project Settings, Default pitch shift mode and parameter.

Remember that you can change the timebase for individual tracks (right-click, Track timebase) and for individual media items (F2, Item timebase). You can also change properties such as Beats per Minute and Time Signature as often as needed during the song. For example, you can increase the tempo for one passage then restore it to its original setting at the end of that passage. Shortly we will see an example of how this is done.

9.14.2 Audio Media Item Properties[edit]

You can record your own media items or import them from existing files. You can also change various properties such as playback rate and pitch for individual media items.

You can specify parameter settings for individual media items and/or for selection of items. For example, if you wish to change the pitch or playback rate for several items you can select those items and press F2 (or right click anywhere in the selection and choose the Item properties� command).

In the example shown, we are increasing the playback rate for the selected items by 5% and preserving the original pitch. Notice that you can override the project default pitch shift mode if you wish. You may find that different algorithms work better with different kinds of audio item (such as vocal, snare, kick or bass guitar). More information about time stretching can be found in the section Time and Pitch Manipulation.

9.14.3 Creating a Loop from a Time Selection[edit]

Remember that you are able to select any part of an existing media item and use it to create a loop. This subject is covered earlier in this chapter.

Chapter 15 will introduce you to REAPER's actions and the action list editor. This can be used to assign keyboard shortcuts to many actions that can be useful when you are working with loops and time selections. There are actions, for example, to extend the time selection in either direction, to reduce it from either direction or nudge it in either direction. Browsing and searching the action list will help you to identify those which are most useful to you. Chapter 15 will show you how to bind these actions to your own shortcut keys.

9.14.4 Creating a Loop from Transients[edit]

Another method of selecting the area required for your loop is to use the transients in an existing media item. The following actions are just some of the many that can be found within the Action List Editor (Chapter 15). Where no existing keyboard shortcut exists, you can assign your own if you wish.

Item navigation: Move cursor to nearest transient in item Ctrl Tab

Item navigation: Move cursor to next transient in item Tab

Item navigation: Move cursor to previous transient in item Shift Tab

Time selection: Extend time selection to next transient in items

Assuming that you are using the default key bindings shown above, and that Ctrl Alt Tab has been assigned to Extend time selection to next transient in items, you can select the item, navigate exactly from transient to transient and select the exact area required.

You can select the item, copy and paste it elsewhere, then right click over it, choosing Copy loop of selected areas of items from the context menu.

These are just a few of the actions and commands that can be used to suit your own method of working when creating your tempo-based projects. Explore the others and get to know them. They include:

Copy selected area of items

Trim items to selected area

Split items at prior zero crossings

9.14.5 Transient Detection Settings[edit]

The command View, Transient Detection Settings causes the window shown here to be displayed.

This can be used to make your transient detection sound more natural and human, by introducing subtle variations in sensitivity and/or volume threshold. Enabling the zero crossings option will help to prevent unwanted clicks.

9.14.6 Beat Correction[edit]

REAPER includes many actions to assist you with beat detection and beat correction. There are actions to detect tempo, create measures from time selections, extend or swap time selections to the next transient, and more. Some of them are on the context menus and all of them are in the Action List. Any action can be assigned shortcut keys, run from the action list window itself, and/or added to REAPER's Actions menu. More information about the Action List can be found in Chapter 15.

How you string these actions together is up to you. Here is an example. You might have a live performance that was not done to a click. It is a simple process to go thru the track and manually tempo-map the whole performance. We're going to assume that you are using the following keyboard assignments:

Tab Item navigation: Move cursor to next transient in items.

Ctrl Alt Tab Time selection: Swap left edge of time selection to next transient in items

Ctrl Shift Alt Tab Time selection: Extend time selection to next transient in items.


In the example shown here, we have used our shortcuts to create and extend extend the selection out, as required.

We then instruct REAPER to Create measure from time selection (detect tempo).

We could do this either from the timeline's context menu or using a keyboard shortcut.

We then use our keyboard shortcuts to capture the next time selection required, again using that time selection to create a measure with REAPER auto detecting the tempo.

This process is repeated until we come to the first place where a change of time signature is required.

By right clicking over the timeline we display the context menu and select the command Create measure from time selection (new time signature).

This causes the Edit Time Signature dialog box to be opened, which you can edit at will then click on OK.

This process can then be repeated up to the end of the performance.

9.14.7 Quantizing Items[edit]

REAPER allows you to quantize your audio items. This essentially means lining them up according to the project tempo or time signature.

You might have a situation in which you have copied and pasted a sample several times within a track (or across several tracks) and you need to ensure that they are correctly aligned. To ensure that all items are aligned to the beat, you simply do this:

  1. Double-click on the track in the Track Control Panel to select all the media items in the track. Alternatively, you could right click drag with your mouse to marquee or "lasso" them.
  2. Right click over any of the items, then choose Item Processing then Quantize item positions to grid. This causes the Quantize Item Positions dialog box to be displayed.
  3. Specify your required parameters, including the note length setting (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1, 2, etc.) and whether you want the items stretched to fit. An example is shown on the right.
  4. Click on Process for the quantizing to be done.

In the example above, the option to also quantize item ends and stretch to fit was enabled.

9.15 Dynamic Splitting[edit]

Dynamic splitting is a very powerful feature which has a number of applications. You have already seen (in Chapter 7) how it can be used to remove silence. For example you might have recorded a pretty good bass line that you'd like to use for a song. Maybe it was recorded at 96 beats per minute. The timing might be a bit out at times but on the whole you're pretty pleased with it. The trouble is that you want to use 120 beats per minute for your new song.

Here's another example. Maybe you've recorded a killer slide guitar track. You like it but think it would be pretty clever to give the tune one or two tempo changes. Dynamic splitting is the answer to both these challenges. It works on the principle that you can instruct REAPER to split any media item (or selection of media items) according to criteria that you specify. Basically it works like this:

You first select the media item (or items) to be split.

You right click over the item and choose Item processing, Dynamic split items� from the menu.

This causes the Dynamic split items dialog box to be opened.

You give it the information that it needs to work out where to split your items. This will essentially either be to split the track at its transients or to use a noise gate to split whenever the audio volume falls below a specified amount. As you will shortly see, each has its separate uses.

REAPER then "shadow splits" your selected item(s). That is to say, it indicates with a row of colored bars exactly all of the points at which the item will be split if the parameter settings are left as they are.

You make such adjustments as you wish to the parameter settings until satisfied that they are right.

You tell REAPER to split the items.

Once split, each slice of the original item will be set to the current timebase. You can set any of the splits to any other timebase you choose. You can use the items together or individually, according to your needs. Suddenly you've got a whole library of samples!

Dynamic splitting is non-destructive. This means that your original audio files (WAV, MP3, AIF or whatever) remain intact. Nevertheless, if you are going to use this method to build a sample library, it's often a good idea to work on a copy of the original track. This just makes it easier to go back to the original if you wish to use it to make a fresh set of samples. Let's now take a look at an example or two.

9.15.1 Splitting a Media Item into Samples[edit]

In the examples below, a recording of a resonator guitar is selected. We have then chosen Item processing then Dynamic split items from the context menu. Studying these examples will help you to understand how the settings work. In every case, the At transients option should be enabled. These examples should be sufficient to get you started. After that, it's up to you to experiment according to your particular needs.


Only a minimal number of options are used here.

If you specify a very low minimum slice length REAPER will seek out transients with a high degree of sensitivity. This will result in our media item being split into a very large number of items. This might be suitable, for example, if we are intending to introduce tempo changes to the song. The larger the number of samples and the shorter their length, the more sensitive and immediate will be the track's response to any such changes. Consider the two examples shown.

Notice (right) that Best to worst has been selected as the method for constraining slice length. This option is likely to be preferred when splitting at transients. Notice also that we have specified that we want to keep the beat locations unchanged even if the tempo changes. (A further explanation of constrain slice length methods follows immediately after these examples).

Now let's see what happens when we bring some of the other options into play.

In the case shown above right we have set a largish minimum slice length with the result that our media items are quite longer. This might be appropriate if we are creating samples to be used with a software synthesizer. However, we might want to do some more fine tuning.

In this next example (lower right), we have increased the minimum slice length and used the Reduced splits option to further reduce the number of splits. In this particular case, these settings might be about right for creating our sample library from this bass guitar track.

Before splitting it might in some instances be worth considering whether you wish to enable the noise gate settings to allow you to also remove silence. Whether you would do this would depend largely on the instrument in question and the nature of the tune and arrangement. If the instrument is played continuously and produces an audio signal similar to that shown above, then there may be little point in using the noise gate.

Below we can see how part of our original media item now looks after splitting.

This next example (right) shows splitting at transients with a noise gate employed to remove unwanted background sounds such as drawing breath from a vocal track.

In this example if we were to set the gate threshold too low, too many unwanted sounds would still get thru. If we set it too high, we risk removing some of the quieter vocal material. You are likely to find that a fair amount of experimenting is needed to get the settings just right.

Constrain slice length methods

Left to right means the media is read from left to right, and whenever a transient crosses the threshold, a split point is created. The minimum slice length then determines how close the next split point can be.

Best to worst means the media is read in its entirety, the strongest transient is found, and a split point is created. Then the next strongest transient, and so on.

The difference is that the left-to-right method can end up missing some strong transients if they happen to fall less than the minimum slice length distance to the right of another transient.

9.15.2 Changing the Project Tempo[edit]

Once an item has been dynamically split, you can create time signature markers for changes in tempo to which your music will respond when played back. To create these, follow this sequence:

  1. Right click over the timeline and choose Insert tempo/time signature marker� from the context menu.
  2. Specify your required changes in Beats per Minute or time signature. If you wish, you can select the option for a gradual tempo transition between markers.
  3. Click on OK.

You can double-click on any time signature marker to edit its settings and you can drag it along the timeline to change its position.

These settings, along with more information about time signature markers and their behavior (including editing and moving markers) can be found near the end of Chapter 10.

9.15.3 Creating a Chromatic MIDI Item[edit]

When dynamic splitting you can select the option to Create chromatic MIDI item from slices.

This causes a MIDI item to be created that creates one MIDI event for each slice, moving up the chromatic scale. One common application of this is for sample triggering.

Suppose that you have a groove that you have assembled from various items from different sources. You can now create chromatic midi from the items and then load those items into a sample player, each mapped to the next note in sequence. The midi will then play the groove. Moving the midi notes around changes the groove. It is also quite easy to swap out exactly what it is that is being triggered.

Another example is hit replacement. You can dynamic split a drum part, creating chromatic midi from it. You then have one velocity-sensitive midi note for each hit. It's then a straightforward job to delete a bad hit and use the midi note to trigger a drum sample. Alternately, you can use the whole midi track to trigger a drum sample to double a recorded part (thereby fattening it).

The chromatic MIDI item can, of course, be edited like any other MIDI item with the MIDI Editor, and used to play any synthesizer or sample player. A comprehensive section on using the MIDI Editor can be found later in this User Guide, at Chapter 13.

Leading Pad, Trailing Pad and Fade Pad settings

The examples used in this section have not made use of any of these three settings.

Leading pad is the amount in milliseconds (ms) by which the split point is pushed left of the transient or gate open point when you click on Split. This works both with transient splits and gate open splits. Dynamic split works out where to split and then pads it left by your ms value.

Trailing pad pushes the actual split point to the right by the number of ms specified., and by that same value to the right of the gate close point in gated splits. The actual splits in this case will be to the left and right of the dark area boundaries if you use both When gate opens and When gate closes.

The Fade pad option, if enabled, will fade in and out over the length of those pads.

9.15.4 Saving and Using Samples[edit]

After splitting, you can save any of the individual slices as samples. To save an individual sample, simply right click over it and choose Glue items from the context menu. The sample wave file can then be imported for use with any VSTi sampling plug-in, such as ReaSamplOmatic5000.

Remember also that if you save the original file with the split items, you can return to it as often as you need to whenever you wish to use it to create more samples.

9.16 Ruler Display Options[edit]

The Ruler Display command on the ruler right- click context menu lets you decide what is displayed on the ruler and how it is presented. Options pertaining specifically to regions and markers are discussed earlier in this chapter. These include: Display project regions in lanes Display project markers in lanes. You can also choose whether or not to: Display tempo changes Display time signature changes Display tempo and time signature changes in separate lanes. Enabling all three of these causes tempo change markers and time signature change markers to be shown as in this example (right). Grid lines can be shown or not (as you wish) for project/region markers and time signature markers: these can be enabled or disabled in your Appearance Preferences On this page you can also choose whether to also divide arrange view vertically by a specified number of measures.

The ruler height can be adjusted using any of these methods:

  • Left drag the mouse down or up on the boundary between the toolbar and the track panel.
  • If you have enabled the necessary Editing Behavior, Mouse preferences option, left drag the mouse down or up on the boundary between the ruler and arrange area.
  • Other options are to use one or more of the Actions List actions Ruler: Set to default height, Ruler: Set to maximum height and Ruler: Set to minimum height. These, like any other actions, can be assigned to keyboard shortcuts and/or toolbars if you wish.

Some general tips for managing markers (project regions/markers and time signature/tempo markers) are:

  • Alt click on a marker to delete it.
  • Double-click on a marker to edit its settings.
  • Click and drag a marker left or right to move it.

Under Preferences, Mouse modifiers you will find various left drag actions that you can use (or change) when working with Project marker/region markers or Time signature/tempo change markers. Further detailed instructions specific to managing time signature/tempo markers can be found in the section Time Signature/Tempo Changes and Markers.

9.17 REX File Support[edit]

REX files consist of sets of groove slices. They are created in and exported from a program called Recycle for the purpose of being used in the creation of tempo based music. You can import these files into REAPER either using the Insert, Media command or by dragging and dropping from the Media Explorer. When you do this, they will automatically position themselves according to the current tempo.

Once you have imported your REX files into REAPER, you can manipulate and use them in exactly the same ways as you can use other media items that have had dynamic splitting applied within REAPER.

For example, imported REX slices can be made to keep their beat location even if the project tempo is changed.

In your Preferences settings, under Media, Video/REX/Misc there are a number of options available for determining how your REX files behave.

You can choose to import REX files as Beat slices that dynamically adjust to tempo change or as A single loopable item at the current project tempo, or ask REAPER to Always prompt.

You can also specify REX tail behavior as any of Preserve all slice tails, Chop all but the final slice tail. Chop only the final slice tail, or Chop all slice tails

The Action list also includes a useful action Item: explode REX item into beat slices. This can be assigned its own shortcut key if you wish.