Song Writing with Infinite Looper
Over the years, we've worked with hundreds of song writers. Some of them have been touring professionals, who make their living by going from city to city, playing original music live. Others are session musicians, splitting their time between the recording studio and their own music endeavors. Some teach music lessons. And we've talked with countless numbers of recreational musicians, who make music for their own satisfaction. Whether you're up on stage or in your basement, if you've ever picked up any sort of instrument, you've likely dabbled in writing songs. Song writing is fun. Anyone can do it. The focus of Infinite Looper is to make it easier to capture the key ideas of a new song, so that inspiration doesn't slip away.
And what makes a song? It's the chord progression. The melody line. The lyrics. The Beatles wrote dozens of amazing songs, and they're great whether they're played on a guitar, a piano, sung a capella, or with a symphony orchestra. Beethoven and Mozart pieces are inspiring no matter what they're played on. With Infinite Looper, you can quickly capture a chord progression, a melody line, lyrics. The app won't write a song for you. You have to bring your own ideas. But the app can help you catch and keep those ideas.
The focus on song writing is one of the elements that sets Infinite Looper apart, and something we want to be clear about. The app is not designed to create a finished mix ready for pressing into vinyl. Professional musicians use Logic, Ableton, Reason, and other desktop DAWs, because they can do everything you need for a final mix. If you're going to go to the trouble and expense of releasing your music commercially, use a desktop DAW. Please.
But for writing a song, less is more. Most of the song writers we have talked to do their work with a guitar or piano, a pad of paper, and a pencil. This is where Infinite Looper comes in. It lets you quickly try out a set of chords, and have them looping so that you can feel how things move. Play a melody, and have it loop over the chords. Listen to the rough mix while you try out lyrics. Add in a bass line to see how it plays against the melody. The app is designed to be easy to use so that it doesn't distract from the song writing process. There are no knobs to twiddle, effects to tweak. All of that can come later during production. If you're writing a song, focus on the song. Imagine if you were writing a novel; if you're worried about the font you're using before you have the first paragraph written, you're worrying about the wrong thing.
Starting a Song
There are a few typical ways that song writers begin work on a new song. Some start with lyrics; there's some concept that they want to capture, some story to tell. Infinite Looper has a built-in note pad, if you want to jot down the lyrics on your iOS device. Or, you can just use a notebook, a pad of paper, the back of a napkin.
Other song writers start with a chord progression. Infinite Looper has ten pages of configurable pads. You can set up any pad, on any page, quickly. Select a page, tap the gear icon, and then tap a pad; a dialog box will open, that will let you select from hundreds of different chords. Pick what you want, and then tap the gear icon again to turn off configuration.
If you have a few chords that you like to use, set up a page with them. Then, any time you need them, they're right at your finger tips. The pad assignments are kept with the app, and not the individual song -- so they'll be there every time you start a new project.
Play the chords on the pad page, to see how they sound together. If you've got it the way you like, turn on the recorder, and capture the chord progression by playing live. It'll loop, and you can see how the whole thing flows!
Melody and Bass Lines
Use the piano keyboard to try out melody or bass lines, so that you can hear them against the chord progression. If you've used an audio looper, you've already done this sort of thing hundreds of times. Work your way towards the melody line you like, and then when you're ready, turn on recording to capture it. If you get it right -- rock on, keep going. If not, a quick swipe will erase it, and you can try again. Just mess up one note? Open the piano roll, and fix it!
A Splendid Arrangement
If you've used an audio looper, you know how easy it is to get a groove going. And how hard it is to move out of that groove, and do something else. Sure, you could play with effects to make things sound different, but that gets boring quickly. Instead, Infinite Looper has a "song mode," to let you make a complete arrangement for a song. Verse, chorus, bridge, all of that good stuff.
When you're creating your loops, think about the different sections you wish to have in the song, and make loops for each. On the arranger page, select the loops you want for the first section, and tap the "add section" button. Then toggle the loops for the next section, and tap the button again. When Infinite Looper is in song mode, pressing the main play button will cause the app to toggle on and off different loops as it moves through the arrangement. You can listen to how the whole song flows, and easily rearrange and restructure as needed. A great song is more than just a great set of chords and melody -- it needs a great arrangement to.
Play Well With Others
Because Infinite Looper uses MIDI, the file to hold each song is relatively small. You can share a song with a friend by tapping the "export project" button. Send them things through DropBox, by email, or directly to a nearby device with AirDrop.
A fresh pair of ears and a different set of eyes might be just the thing a song needs to grow. Share with your friends. Post it to the Internet. Move a song around, and collaborate.
The Finish Line
Sometimes a song idea is terrible. You start on it, and it goes nowhere. It's OK. It happens to everyone. With Infinite Looper, you can see where things are going quickly, and if it's not working, you have not wasted days fiddling with details in the hopes of salvaging a bad idea. Move on. It's OK. Every successful song writer has dozens of songs that have never seen the light of day (and for good reason).
But for things that are working, the occasional gem that glistens in the sun.... Infinite Looper was designed from the very beginning to make the hand-off to desktop DAWs easy. On the arrangement screen, tap the "export MIDI" button, and a standard MIDI file containing the entire arrangment will be created. You can move this into a DAW, and take advantage of all the tools you'll need to create the final mix. Infinite Looper is about capturing the idea, and creating the song. The desktop DAW can carry things across the finish line!