The Guitar Strummer Preset Within the Logic Pro X Scripter Plugin: Making MIDI Guitar Sound Real
Published online: 1 May 2023
- Issue: Volume 63, No.1
- DOI: https://doi.org/10.18177/sym.2023.63.rev.11588
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Often in music education at all levels two things are at odds regarding the playing and recording of guitar: one’s proficiency on the instrument itself and the prevalence of guitar in western popular music. In this context, the term popular refers to music that has been widely appraised as the most significant and culturally influential in western culture within the last 60 years relative to other music created the same respective year.
Figure 1: Guitar Strummer preset in Scriptor Plugin of Logic Pro
The combination of controls found in the scripter plugin allows for a user to engage with music that would typically be played by a guitar in two important ways. First and foremost, this plugin allows for quantized MIDI information, all of which would be played at the exact same moment, to be sequentially delayed. Subjectively, this is half of the battle when a producer at any level is aiming to make MIDI sequenced material sound real. The second way is that controls allow for is a deep musical adaptation of the playing to the specifics of a particular piece – most significantly, tempo and dynamic range. For example, the difference in the strum division would be significant between a piece that is at 120 BPM and a piece that is at 85 BPM. The difference in milliseconds translates into a viscerally-felt locked-in groove – exactly what we should strive for at all levels and in all styles/genres.
Figure 2: Video clip of two contrasting strumming divisions
The capabilities of this plugin are significant in the worlds of pedagogy and andragogy. We are able to more closely align our pedagogical practices to the everyday lived musical culture of our students without the barrier of guitar proficiency. I have experienced numerous instances in which a student or peer strays away from using guitar patches because they can't make them sound real, or at the very least, good, and subsequently they don't use guitar in their creations more broadly because they don't how to play guitar and have no way of including non-sampled guitar motifs in their work. In no uncertain terms, this type of plugin, and this plugin specifically, has the power to change the way that we facilitate culturally responsive music learning spaces through technology.
Last modified on Sunday, 04/06/2023
Drew X Coles
Drew X Coles (EdD, Columbia University) is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, producer, serial entrepreneur, and educator. He is a member of the faculty at Teachers College, Columbia University where he directs a hybrid graduate degree program in Music and Music Education and teaches courses in pedagogy, entrepreneurship, and production. He is a co-founder of Pro Arts Management and Consulting and serves as the Musical Director of the Metropolitan Players.