Ableton Live 9 Essential Training
Illustration by John Hersey

Automating clips in Session view


Ableton Live 9 Essential Training

with Rick Schmunk

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Video: Automating clips in Session view

Both graphic and real time automation are available in session view. Let's take a look at how you ad automation to a clip, and while we're at it, we'll experiment with a couple types of automation that are unique to Live. So I'm going to choose this MIDI clip here that's on this impulse track. And to view automation in the clip overview down here, you actually need to show the envelope box, and you can do that by clicking on this Show Hide button for envelopes. And once you've clicked that, you'll actually see automation displayed for whatever parameter that's up.
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  1. 2m 36s
    1. Welcome
      1m 6s
    2. Using the exercise files
    3. What you need to know
  2. 7m 44s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      4m 13s
    2. Choosing the right gear and setting up a system
      3m 31s
  3. 11m 8s
    1. Setting up audio preferences
      4m 0s
    2. Setting up MIDI preferences
      2m 44s
    3. Optimizing performance
      4m 24s
  4. 38m 55s
    1. Nonlinear sequencing with Session view
      3m 42s
    2. Understanding the Session view window
      5m 8s
    3. Exploring the Live browser
      5m 49s
    4. Loading and playing clips
      4m 35s
    5. Moving and copying clips
      2m 55s
    6. Working with clip properties
      8m 17s
    7. Working with scenes
      8m 29s
  5. 24m 15s
    1. Using the browser
      4m 56s
    2. Searching for and auditioning clips and devices
      4m 19s
    3. Working with Live sets and projects
      4m 16s
    4. Managing files in Live
      3m 12s
    5. Exporting clips and devices
      7m 32s
  6. 33m 0s
    1. What is a software instrument?
      6m 29s
    2. Preparing to record MIDI
      5m 0s
    3. Recording and overdubbing MIDI
      4m 47s
    4. Using a computer keyboard to enter MIDI
      5m 26s
    5. Utilizing the pencil to enter MIDI notes
      5m 45s
    6. Taking advantage of third-party and multi-output MIDI devices
      5m 33s
  7. 33m 22s
    1. Navigating and zooming in the MIDI Editor
      5m 29s
    2. Configuring the MIDI Editor grid
      5m 2s
    3. Selecting and quantizing MIDI
      5m 3s
    4. Quantizing with grooves
      7m 23s
    5. Editing pitch and note duration
      6m 1s
    6. Editing MIDI velocities
      4m 24s
  8. 10m 10s
    1. Preparing to record audio
      5m 43s
    2. Recording audio
      4m 27s
  9. 34m 22s
    1. Understanding Arrangement view
      4m 10s
    2. Zooming in and out and playing in Arrangement view
      4m 46s
    3. Recording in Arrangement view
      4m 4s
    4. Recording from Session view to Arrangement view
      5m 22s
    5. Adding and using locators
      3m 32s
    6. Copying, duplicating, and editing clips in Arrangement view
      5m 53s
    7. Reworking clips
      6m 35s
  10. 25m 35s
    1. Understanding the mixer
      7m 36s
    2. Using sends and returns
      6m 52s
    3. Building headphone cues
      4m 58s
    4. Grouping tracks
      6m 9s
  11. 41m 7s
    1. Working with effect devices
      5m 59s
    2. Understanding EQ and filters
      7m 30s
    3. Using compressors and dynamic processors
      6m 26s
    4. Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
      7m 20s
    5. Using reverb effectively
      8m 5s
    6. Setting up side chain effects easily
      5m 47s
  12. 11m 15s
    1. Creating rhythmic patterns with the Arpeggiator effect
      6m 3s
    2. Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects
      5m 12s
  13. 11m 44s
    1. Mapping keys with Keymap mode
      4m 12s
    2. Mapping device controls to the MIDI keyboard
      3m 16s
    3. Using the instant mapping feature
      4m 16s
  14. 31m 51s
    1. Recording real-time automation
      6m 24s
    2. Drawing automation manually
      7m 48s
    3. Automating clips in Session view
      8m 36s
    4. Editing existing automation information
      4m 57s
    5. Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
      4m 6s
  15. 20m 59s
    1. Understanding the basics of warping
      8m 43s
    2. Creating clips that loop smoothly
      6m 37s
    3. Using warp features to quantize audio
      5m 39s
  16. 10m 12s
    1. Exporting audio from Live
      6m 29s
    2. Freezing tracks
      3m 43s
  17. 42m 22s
    1. Exploring Impulse
      5m 5s
    2. Using Impulse as a multi-output instrument
      9m 15s
    3. Getting the most out of Impulse instrument parameters
      6m 23s
    4. Exploring Simpler
      7m 50s
    5. Smoothing sample start and end points in Simpler
      6m 32s
    6. Tweaking the parameters of Simpler
      7m 17s
  18. 36m 55s
    1. Unlocking the power of FX racks
      10m 48s
    2. Utilizing instrument racks
      10m 13s
    3. Creating drum racks
      9m 50s
    4. Working with rack macros
      6m 4s
  19. 10m 22s
    1. Introducing Max for Live
      4m 52s
    2. Exploring the Mono Sequencer in Max for Live
      5m 30s
  20. 5m 54s
    1. Working with video files
      5m 54s
  21. 24s
    1. Next steps

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Watch the Online Video Course Ableton Live 9 Essential Training
7h 24m Beginner Apr 16, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Create music in real time, on stage, or while producing in the studio, with Ableton Live. In this course, music professor Rick Schmunk shows you how to compose, record, remix, improvise, produce, and edit your musical ideas. Along the way, get familiar with the Live interface, work with its views for recording and editing audio and MIDI, and explore its unique real-time recording and mixing capabilities. Plus, learn real-world production skills that can be applied to songwriting, studio production, and DJing. The final chapters offer an inside look at features added in Live 9, such as new Instrument Racks containing over 3,000 production-ready sounds, and Max for Live, a toolkit for building custom devices.

Topics include:
  • Choosing the right gear to use with Ableton
  • Setting audio and MIDI preferences
  • Optimizing performance
  • Loading, playing, and moving clips
  • Exporting clips and devices
  • Recording and overdubbing MIDI
  • Quantizing with grooves
  • Editing pitch and note duration
  • Understanding EQ and filters
  • Recording real-time automation
  • Looping audio
  • Creating beats with Impulse
  • Creating drum racks
  • Introducing Max for Live
Audio + Music
Ableton Live
Rick Schmunk

Automating clips in Session view

Both graphic and real time automation are available in session view. Let's take a look at how you ad automation to a clip, and while we're at it, we'll experiment with a couple types of automation that are unique to Live. So I'm going to choose this MIDI clip here that's on this impulse track. And to view automation in the clip overview down here, you actually need to show the envelope box, and you can do that by clicking on this Show Hide button for envelopes. And once you've clicked that, you'll actually see automation displayed for whatever parameter that's up.

That will display above the actual MIDI data. Now, what types of automation do we have in Session view? Well, if we click on the top chooser in the envelope box, we can see that we have access to MIDI controllers. So, if I choose that and then click the bottom chooser you will see that I have access to all the typical controllers like modulation, pitch bend, and portamento and volume and so on. I also have access any device parameter so on this track right now all I have is an impose software instrument. If I had an audio effect or a MIDI effect, I'd see those as well and when you click on the bottom chooser you can see that there is a lot of parameters. So, let me just warn you that it's a lot easier to actually flip over to the device and I can do that by holding down shift+tab.

And then clicking on a parameter and then going back to the other view, Shift+ tab again. And now we can see that I've got that parameter showing as available to automate. I also have access to mixer controls. And that's going to include things like track volume and then panning and then the Mute button or the Speaker on off button. And that brings up an interesting point. If you remember we also saw MIDI volume and now we have track volume. So, which one should you use? Well the resolution of the Fader in Ableton Live is much greater than the zero to 127 that we have with MIDI volume.

So I would suggest that if you want a set a general level, you can do that using MIDI volume basically setting a base line. And then if you want any volume changes, I will defenitly do that using the track volume setting. To record automation to a clip the clip should have focus. So let me click the Large button on this clip then I will hit my spacebar to stop it (music playing). Now we can see the Launch button is green meaning that the clip has focused. So let's record enable the track. Let's enable the Automation Arm button.

I'm going to make sure that I've got a count in. So I've just got enough time to grab the control that I want to change. So I've got a one bar count in. And now to go into record all I need to do is click the Session Record button. Let's do that, and then I'm going to grab the Fader on this track to record some automation (music playing). Now I let that go for two passes through that clip, because I just wanted to show you that as I continued to record, I was actually recording over the automation that I had recorded on the first pass. So I'm going to undo that.

Because we can also add automation graphically. So, disable the Record button there and now I'll come down into the MIDI note editor. And I can add brick points to this line by simply hovering my mouse on the line and then clicking. I'll usually start by adding one at the beginning and then one on the other side of where I want to work. And now I can click and drag in between there. And add any automation that I might want to add without affecting any settings beyond or outside of the range that I'm working on.

You can set ramps if you want by adding a break point and then clicking and dragging down and then if you want to curve that you can hold down your Option key. And then click the line in between two break points and pull down or push up for that matter to set a curve either direction. Now we can also do this using the Pencil tool. So, let me activate that up in the control bar. And now I'll click and drag to add automation. Now notice that that is constrained by the grid. If you don't want that, we can disable the grid by using the key command, Cmd+4.

Now I'm going to first Undo what I wrote there, and now Cmd+4. To disable the grid that would be control four on a PC. And now I can click and drag. And I'm not constraint by the grid. I can also do that with the grid active. And so I'll undo that again, Cmd + Z or Ctrl + Z on a PC. And Cmd +4 to re enable the grid. And now I'll option, click and drag with the Pencil tool. And you'll notice that the grid is temporarily disabled.

So, I've got volume changes there as well. Let's take a look and see how an audio clip might be different than a MIDI clip. So, I will click the Stop button on that one, and then let me click this audio clip on the next track. So if I click the top chooser here, we'll notice that I've got devices like I had on the last one, with impulse, now I've got an EQ on this track. I've also got mixer parameters, but the one thing that's different is now I have clip automation and when I click on that, and I click the bottom chooser I'll see that I have some different options.

So, volume modulation actually sets and offset to the clip gain setting. So, let me just click here and I'm going to drag that level down because I simply want you to see what's going to happen here when I play this clip. So let me click the Launch button. (music playing) So, you saw that little red dot appear there, and essentially what that's showing us is the percentage of volume in respect to the current clip gain setting.

So, if I raise the clip gain setting up a little bit and play that again, we'll see the red dot appear at exactly the same place, and will be the same percentage of the current clip gain setting. (music playing) Okay, let me undo that one, and let's take a look at transposition modulation. So this will actually allow me to pitch shift anything where I draw automatons. So, I'm going to do this on two and four because that's where my snare is at, actually I'm going to do this one with the Pencil tool.

So now I can click and drag. (audio playing) Let's see what that sounds like. (music playing) So you can clearly hear that change in the pitch on the claps that are on two and four. So, this would be great for transposing notes on the bass line to fit a different chord. For adjusting a vocal and also, as you can see here, we can do some interesting things by actually transposing elements of the drum set.

And let me undo that one. And I'm going to change to the sample offset modulation. This is actually my favorite here. And this allows me to actually scramble the clip by moving sections of the clip forwards and backwards anywhere I draw modulation. So I'm just going to click and drag here, pull across/g. Let's hear what that sounds like. (music playing) So I've made some dramatic changes there, but let me undo that and let's play the clip so you can hear what it sounds like without any of that modulation.

(music playing) So very straight forward. One of the things I really love about this is because we can unlink the actual automation from the clip, and we can have automation that's a different length than the clip. So, let me unlink this by clicking on the Link button. And now I'm just looking at the click sample offset off modulation, and I'm going to lengthen that clip by dragging the end locator out to bar five. So that I've got four bars of sample offset modulation to go against the two bar clip. And again, I'll use my Pencil tool to draw in some changes. That should actually fire off the same part of the clip there in bar four. So here we go.

Let's hear what it sounds like. (music playing) Very cool. So if this is the first time you've seen Clip Envelopes, you'll probably agree that it's a fantastic way to alter the way clips play back. Give it a try and see what you can come up with.

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