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Virtual Mixing


Using analog magnetic tape, a TAPE LOOP is created by attaching the end of a piece of tape to it’s beginning, making a never-ending loop that will continue to play and repeat.  Analog tape moves from one reel to another at 30 inches per second.  That means a 4 second tape loop would require 120 inches of tape.  Some tape loops involved complicated paths to accommodate very long lengths of tape and maintain the tension required for tape machines to operate.

The digital version of a tape loop is made by repeating an edited clip of music over and over.  Much modern music is composed using loops or loops of music notes that can themselves be edited and changed. These days you can loop within a program rather than create a special sound clip.

Tape loops have been used for many purposes.  Loops without rhythm can allow a sound to seem to go on forever, such as a loop of ocean waves to help someone sleep.  Loops with rhythm can be used to create an easy rhythmic bed, or add to an existing song or arrangement.  The beginning of Pink Floyd’s “Money” was done using a tape loop of repeating rhythmic money sounds.

It is important to consider timing when creating tape loops or repeated (looped) music clips.  The loop or clip must be EXACTLY the right length so that when it is repeated the rhythm continues uninterrupted without any rhythmic jumps or gaps.