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Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects

Oftentimes you need additional background parts to add depth to a song. Let's take a look at Live's chord and scale effects and see how they can be used to quickly create simple background parts, and also see how they can be combined with other devices to create interesting effects. So I am going to go to the Live Device browser and locate my MIDI Effects, and I am going to grab the chord effect, and I am going to drag this down onto this brass track. Now remember, that MIDI effects have to be added before the virtual instrument. So if I try and drag this and put this over here on the right of the instrument, or on the output, you'll see that we get that warning message down in the bottom that tells us, "Insert MIDI effects before instruments." Go back over there.

Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects

Oftentimes you need additional background parts to add depth to a song. Let's take a look at Live's chord and scale effects and see how they can be used to quickly create simple background parts, and also see how they can be combined with other devices to create interesting effects. So I am going to go to the Live Device browser and locate my MIDI Effects, and I am going to grab the chord effect, and I am going to drag this down onto this brass track. Now remember, that MIDI effects have to be added before the virtual instrument. So if I try and drag this and put this over here on the right of the instrument, or on the output, you'll see that we get that warning message down in the bottom that tells us, "Insert MIDI effects before instruments." Go back over there.

It turns gold, and I can let it go. So the chord effect is pretty simple. I have a number of Shift knobs here that I can actually transpose an incoming pitch. So, if I grab one of these, I'll put that up +2. And by the way, this is in half steps. So now if I hold down a note, I should hear the note and a note one whole step above it. (Music playing.) I will move that up another couple. I should get a major 3rd if I am on four steps. (Music playing.) And I can continue adding more pitches either above or below.

In this one, I will go up +7, which is going to be a perfect 5th above the original pitch. So now, I am going to get the original pitch, a major 3rd above it, and a perfect 5th above it. (Music playing.) I can also take one of these and move it below the original pitch. So, if I might want to double one of the notes that I have already got, I can grab this and move it down. So if I want to get a 5th below, that would be minus five steps. Now, I'll have the note, a major 3rd, a perfect 5th above, and a perfect 5th below.

(Music playing.) Now below that I have a velocity setting that allows me to kind of fine-tune how loud each note is contributing to the chord that I am creating. So that lower note is actually fairly dominant, so I can bring that back a little bit. And then I can dial up a little more level on the top note, so that the melody stands out just a little bit more. Let's see what that sounds like. (Music playing.) Okay, that's a little bit more balanced. So I can do that with up to six different notes, and there are a number of different presets available in the Chord, MIDI Effect category here.

So I have got chords that are like Debussy and so on and so forth. And there's a number more of these that you can actually download from the Internet. So by itself, the Chord plug-in is pretty interesting, and it allows me to play one note on the keyboard but generate an entire chord. I can also use that in combination with other MIDI effects. And in this case, I am going to go to the Scale MIDI effect plug-in, and I am going to drag the C Major preset and put that on the track after the Chord plug-in. Now as we first take a look at this, I am actually going to disable the Chord plug-in.

We will bring it back in a second. So right here, I have got a matrix that defines, when I play a note, what note will actually be output. So if I play the note C, you see that that lights up, and I get the note C. But this row right here would correspond with C sharp, and if I play C sharp, it's actually going to transpose it back down and play the note C. Just to show you that. So I am playing a C# there. If I play D, I will get a D. If I play a D#, I am actually still going to get a D.

Now, if I go ahead and turn on the Chord plug-in, now when I play this, I am actually going to be generating a chord that is going to go into this C Major Scale preset. So if I play a C chord that should all work out fine. (Music playing.) And you can hear it generating the C Chord. But if I go to play the note D, I'm telling it in the Chord plug-in that I want to transpose it up +4 steps, or a major 3rd. And in this case, I would need to generate an F#. But in my Scale plug-in, it's been decided here that when I play the note F#, I'm actually going to get an F.

(Music playing.) So where I have got the Chord plug-in to actually generate a major triad, by adding this Scale plug-in after that, I can force the notes into a key, and in some cases, I will actually end up with a minor triad. So in this case, I'll get C major when I play a C, D minor when I play a D, E minor when I play an E, and F major when I play an F, so on and so forth, all of the chords that are part of the C major scale. Now I can transpose the base of that so that I get different scales.

So even though I'm in a C Major scale, I can transpose that so that I am actually in a different key. And now I would do the same thing. I would actually be in a D major scale. So there's D major. If I go down to C, I am actually going to get a C# diminished chord. Now in addition to that, there is several scale presets that we can use besides C major. So I have got C minor. I have even got C pentatonic. Let me pull that one out. And now whatever I play is going to be forced into just that particular scale.

You can see that there is less notes available. (Music playing.) So you can actually change what will happen here by clicking and changing the notes. So when I play F, I'll get an F, or I get an F#, so on and so forth. All right, so I am going to bring back out the C major preset, and I am going to set this to one of my favorites, which is more based upon 5ths. And then I'm going to add in our Arpeggiator effect after the C major scale plug-in.

So now what's going to happen is I am going to play a note, it will come through the Chord plug-in which will generate additional three notes, then it will go into the Scale plug-in which will force any notes played in to the C major scale, and then it will hit the Arpeggiator, which will break up the chord into a rhythmic pattern. So I am going to set this. I will try Converge & Diverge. I am going to set the gate to 16th note, so it's going to pulsate, or create a rhythm, at 16th notes. I am also going to turn the velocity on, so that I get velocity changing over time.

In this case, I will make it get quieter. Now, I'll set a little bit longer decay. And now on the brass track, if I go over to the MIDI Editor, you can see that I have already recorded notes here. So I have got a C then a F, then a G, back down to an F, and that's going to generate a little bit of a chord progression at the same time that we get this drum pattern that I have got on the second track here. So let's go back, and let's check out what this sounds like. (Music playing.) Stop those clips, and I'll play them both at the same time now.

(Music playing.) So by themselves, the chord and scale effects seems simple; but when combined, the possibilities are endless.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Ableton Live 8 Essential Training
Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

69 video lessons · 16966 viewers

Rick Schmunk
Author

 
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  1. 1m 30s
    1. Welcome
      49s
    2. Using the exercise files
      41s
  2. 8m 43s
    1. What is a digital audio workstation?
      4m 13s
    2. Choosing the right gear and setting up a system
      4m 30s
  3. 12m 59s
    1. Setting up audio preferences
      3m 54s
    2. Setting up MIDI preferences
      3m 31s
    3. Optimizing performance
      5m 34s
  4. 35m 42s
    1. Understanding Session view
      8m 7s
    2. Working with Live browsers
      5m 3s
    3. Working with Live clips
      7m 57s
    4. Understanding clip properties
      7m 52s
    5. Working with Live scenes
      6m 43s
  5. 28m 16s
    1. Building Live Sets and projects
      4m 25s
    2. Learning Live file management
      4m 2s
    3. Exporting content from Live
      7m 32s
    4. Importing and exporting Live Packs
      3m 17s
    5. Searching for and auditioning clips
      4m 58s
    6. Setting up frequently accessed folders
      4m 2s
  6. 23m 3s
    1. Preparing to record MIDI
      5m 51s
    2. Recording and overdubbing MIDI
      4m 32s
    3. Working with alternate MIDI entry methods
      6m 49s
    4. Using multi-output virtual instruments
      5m 51s
  7. 24m 26s
    1. The MIDI Editor
      4m 49s
    2. Quantizing MIDI data
      6m 6s
    3. Advanced MIDI editing
      6m 49s
    4. Setting up groove in editing
      6m 42s
  8. 9m 18s
    1. Preparing to record
      5m 0s
    2. Recording audio
      4m 18s
  9. 22m 37s
    1. Understanding Arrangement view
      3m 41s
    2. Recording in Arrangement view
      3m 51s
    3. Recording from Session view to Arrangement view
      5m 21s
    4. Reworking clips
      9m 44s
  10. 27m 57s
    1. Understanding Live's mixer
      12m 38s
    2. Using sends and returns
      3m 47s
    3. Building headphone cues
      3m 49s
    4. Grouping tracks
      7m 43s
  11. 43m 14s
    1. Working with effect devices
      4m 56s
    2. Understanding EQ and filters
      7m 14s
    3. Using compressors and dynamic processors
      7m 28s
    4. Building interesting effects with delay effect processing
      8m 18s
    5. Using reverb effectively
      8m 22s
    6. Setting up side chain effects easily
      6m 56s
  12. 15m 37s
    1. Creating rhythmic patterns with the Arpeggiator effect
      8m 38s
    2. Building background parts with the Chord and Scale effects
      6m 59s
  13. 25m 24s
    1. Building automation patterns
      8m 44s
    2. Editing existing automation information
      5m 3s
    3. Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
      4m 10s
    4. Understanding the power of clip envelopes
      7m 27s
  14. 20m 17s
    1. Understanding the basics of looping
      6m 54s
    2. Creating tracks that loop smoothly
      7m 50s
    3. Using warp features to quantize audio
      5m 33s
  15. 17m 47s
    1. Using the computer keyboard to control Live
      6m 39s
    2. Mapping device controls to the MIDI keyboard
      4m 36s
    3. Using Live's instant mapping feature
      6m 32s
  16. 10m 44s
    1. Exporting audio
      5m 37s
    2. Freezing tracks
      5m 7s
  17. 20m 45s
    1. Building with the Impulse virtual instrument
      11m 35s
    2. Working with the Simpler virtual instrument
      9m 10s
  18. 36m 22s
    1. Overview of Live racks
      10m 13s
    2. Combining instruments and effects into a single device
      8m 22s
    3. Adding effects with Drum Rack
      11m 28s
    4. Assigning rack parameters to macros
      6m 19s
  19. 13m 53s
    1. Setting up ReWire with Pro Tools
      7m 3s
    2. Setting up ReWire with Logic
      6m 50s
  20. 33m 43s
    1. Preparing audio clips with the Warp tool
      14m 31s
    2. Triggering clips using follow actions
      8m 9s
    3. Using Live as a sound source
      11m 3s
  21. 7m 21s
    1. Working with video files
      7m 21s
  22. 37s
    1. Further Recommendations
      37s

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