Reaper: customisation

…aka macros, scripting, automation.

I upload my Reaper projects to GitHub, including any wav files. Reaper imposes a certain maximum file size, quite reasonably. So if I am doing a 20 minute recording session, and I want to make sure the resulting wav file is saved to the cloud, I need to split it.

So far, I have only learnt how to assign keystrokes to simple actions. Ultimately, this is what I want to do with a single key stroke:

  • As a Reaper user
  • I want to split an audio file into a number of smaller audio files
  • So that I can save my song to the cloud

Splitting an audio file into a number of smaller audio files breaks down to:

  1. Select a track/wav file in the Reaper UI
  2. Split the wav file at each 2 minute offset (which assumes that a 2 minute wav file will always be small enough to upload)
  3. For each time section before the next split (and the last section is included, even though strictly it has no split at the end), save (or “glue” in Reaper terms, for this context at least) the file to a unique file name
  4. Save the project so that it understands these smaller files replace the previous single file

Right now, all I have is the ability to split the file with a single keystroke. I lack the knowledge to, in any automated way, to a) land on the (assumed single) track, b) identify 2 minute sections (can I parameterize the size?), c) iterate over each of those sections and save the smaller file.

But that’s enough for now.

To demonstrate, first thing is to get a sample single wav file loaded into a Reaper project, something like this:

We then define our custom action, whose goal is to execute the 3 actions under the [Split under mouse] custom action name. More details of this part are in the Reaper manual. Although not detailed here, lower-case [c] is being used as the HotKey for this action.

With the custom action now implemented in our Reaper environment, if we move the mouse cursor to wherever we want the track to split, and then press [c], a split will happen, as shown in the next two shots.

Moving the mouse (note you do not need to click the mouse after moving), and repeating the [c] keystroke a further 4 times will give you this shape:

That ends the customisation so far. Right now, we have to do the rest manually, that is, in each of the sections, right-click, and select [Glue items] 6 times, one for each section, in order to create a set of 6 wav files to replace the single larger one. I will cover customisation of that another time.


Reaper: creating and editing loops

The pictures should cover it all, apart from removing the selection, which is done by pressing the Esc button while you are in Reaper.  Please comment if you think it needs more.


Komplete: Strummed Acoustic

As I couldn’t get the lovely Dell XPS-13 on Black Friday at the right price, I went for the reduction that Native Instruments were offering on the Komplete 11 upgrade (£79.50, now back up to £159). The items of most interest to me were Strummed Acoustic, and India.

I did a few bars (right-click to download the mp3 is easiest) on Strummed Acoustic – disgracefully simple, and doubtless cheating, but if a nice clean tone helps with your composition thoughts, I say why not. Chords are F, A, G, Bb.

Kontakt and Reaper: Drum and bass (not drum’n’bass)

Well, actually DNB has hijacked all the alternative spellings I think, so for the sake of clarity (current fave caveat-phrase), this is drums… (pause) and bass on separate tracks, pop, rock, whatever, but not DNB. Oooff, as John Shuttleworth might say. In fact, gratuitous plug for him.


All the files are here.


Music: drum notation

Picture says it all:

In a DAW, those 3 drum types are represented as C(bass), D(snare), and G#(hi-hat). So that will be confusing for anyone maybe expecting F(bass), C(snare), and G(hi-hat), as it were a treble clef. Here’s how something a bit more regular than than above looks like in a DAW (Reaper, in this case):

Then I went looking for a song to test out my new found knowledge. On YouTube, there is a very good drum tutor, who kindly also includes the drum notation for what he shows. He demonstrated Superstition:

I took the first 7 bars from the pdf in the demo and stuck that in a Reaper and midi file. It’s here. I can’t guarantee it will always stay in that location, but if you look for [SuperstitionStart] in GitHub, you should find it if it does move.

While doing this, I found a great free drum VST – Those are the drums you here in the wav I recorded for this.

This is a good explanation of drum notation, and they also include a PDF.

A google search.

Notes from a Reaper/Kontact Factory Library drums session (Pop kit):



Music: Kontakt – West Africa

This is quite interesting – no pretence that there is any musical skill on my part here… this is a set of mostly percussive instruments, with some token melodic ones being forced into the western musical scales.

From the drums, I have randomly picked the Gidamba library to save as a midi and an audio file. My only contribution was to press the highlighted pink keys below – that’s what you here.

Komplete 10: Session Strings

To get to Session Strings, you go via Kontakt. I found that to record a (midi) session, I had to go into Reaper (that is, my DAW). Even then it was not enough just to have a hack using the on-screen keyboard – I had to hook up the (piano) keyboard. Only then would it record. And this is some real simple rendered output on SoundCloud, around C and G.