How To Create Backing Tracks In Logic Pro using iReal Pro

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Rhythm Changes Improvisation Video

For last week's YouTube video, I decided to have a bit of fun improvising over a very common jazz chord progression which is often referred to as 'rhythm changes'. An excellent tool used by many musicians, especially jazz musicians is iReal Pro and this is what I used to created the backing track used in the video. iReal Pro is an awesome tool that has been available for many years and is available on pretty much any device.

iReal Pro To Logic Pro

I uploaded a video to YouTube this week which walks you through the process I use to export any song from iReal Pro and import into Logic Pro to create editable backing tracks.

Prepare the song in iReal Pro

First, you will need a song open in iReal Pro. For this example, I will be using the song 'Anthropology' as it uses the chords to rhythm changes which is what I need.

I will set the repeats to how ever many I would like in the finished track, although it doesn't matter too much as midi is easy to edit in Logic Pro. I often turn the piano volume off as in last week's video as I like to experiment with harmony, although the piano will still be exported.

iReal Pro anthropology
Click the share button in the top right corner and choose 'share audio'.
Anthropology share
Select 'midi' as the format and save the file.
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Create a new project in Logic Pro. I have created one audio track, which will be used to record my guitar solo over the eventual backing track that I will be creating.
Logic Pro default project
Click and drag the midi file that was previously exported from iReal Pro onto the tracks area in Logic Pro, below the audio track.
Anthropology drag into project
You can import the tempo from the midi file that was created. It is easier to do it now, but it can be easily changed later. The tempo needs to be set before any audio is recorded.
Anthropology tempo adjust
Midi tracks will be created within the Logic Pro project, although further editing is required. Try playing the track and you will hear why!
Anthropology dragged in
The instruments assigned to each track will need to be changed. First, click on the track containing the 'click' midi region to select it. Click on the button to the far left and at the top of the project to open the instrument library. I have selected the Blue Ridge drum kit to demonstrate.
Anthropology change click sound
Double click on the midi region named 'click' to open the piano roll. Drag the red midi notes to whatever sound you would like to use for a click.
Anthropology midi sounds wrong
I have chosen to use 'Hi-Hat Closed' as my click sound.
Anthropology count in midi correct
The drum track is currently using a piano sound, so this needs to be fixed. I have renamed the track to 'Drums'.
Anthropology rename
This time, I have replaced the Steinway Grand Piano with a third party drum plugin. I have chosen Superior Drummer. "Superior D" can be seen in the image and this is where I swapped the plugin.
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I have selected a drum kit more suited to jazz.
Anthropology superior drummer jazz kit
I have deleted any tracks that I will not be using and renamed the tracks. All that is needed is to record a guitar solo and the project can be mixed as you would with any other project created in Logic Pro.
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Now it's your Turn...

iReal Pro is an amazing piece of software for musicians and being able to use the backing tracks within the software gives us such a great practise tool. The sounds used within iReal Pro are great for practice, although bringing the created midi files into Logic Pro adds another dimension to what is possible.

I hope you found the information presented here to be helpful.

Grab your free guitar lesson packs

Would you like me to send you free guitar lesson packs?

Simply enter your name and email address into the form below and you will receive some great little study packs including ideas for guitar solos, bass lines and chords. Backing tracks are also included to help you learn the parts.

Various lesson material will be sent to you in a wide range of styles over the coming weeks, so have fun discovering new ideas. It is completely free!

Free guitar lesson packs

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