Is the ‘2 loop rule’ really “a cheatcode for better arrangements”?

If you’re anything like us, your computer will be full of DAW ‘projects’ that consist of little more than two- or four-bar loops; musical ideas that, for one reason or another, haven’t been taken any further.

In many cases, the reason for this is that we didn’t have the will or perseverance required to take that idea and turn it into a complete arrangement, but YouTuber Alex Rome thinks he’s got a “cheatcode” that will enable you to break the cycle.

It’s called the ‘two loop rule’, and simply says that your arrangement has to change after every two loop cycles.

In Rome’s example, he begins with a piano motif and copies it multiple times across the timeline, changing the colour of the loops after every second cycle. This enables him to quickly see exactly where he needs to make changes - either by adding an instrument or tweaking the expression of an existing one to raise the energy, or removing an instrument or changing the expression to dial things back. Rome also uses additional sonic flourishes to create transitions that will let listeners know when a change is coming.

There are other suggestions, too - taking the MIDI data of one instrument and copying it to another; changing the rhythm for a section - but all you really need to remember is make a change after every second loop cycle.

You might think that sticking to such a rigid formula is the antithesis of creativity, but if you’re struggling to get anything finished, the two loop rule could definitely be worth a try.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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