Up and Running with Ableton Live 9
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating a transition effect and recording automation in Session view


From:

Up and Running with Ableton Live 9

with Yeuda Ben-Atar

Video: Creating a transition effect and recording automation in Session view

In Live it is possible to create and record automation clips also in the Session view. Let's switch to the Session view. and I'm going to create the Transition effect for our song. So let's create a new MIDI track. Go to Create > Insert MIDI Track, and let's use the browser to browse for a specific sound. I'm going to right-click, and let's navigate, maybe Synth Rhythmic. (music playing) That's a good sound. Drag it to our MIDI track. I'm going to create a MIDI clip, double-click anywhere in the empty clip slots and I'm going to input the chord from our song, which is D Major 7.

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Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with Ableton Live 9
2h 11m Beginner Mar 05, 2013

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Discover how to get started creating and recording music with Ableton Live 9 in just two hours. Author and musician Yeuda Ben-Atar starts this course by showing how to set up all audio, MIDI, and external plugins and prep an initial project for recording. Then he jumps into high gear: making beats with the Ableton drum kits, recording with the built-in virtual instruments, and capturing live performance like vocals and guitar. After your tracks are recorded, learn how to arrange song clips, layer in effects, create and record automation, and quickly mix the tracks with groups, busses, EQ, compression, and other techniques. The final chapter in the course shows you how to save, export, and master your finished song.

Topics include:
  • Setting up plugins and projects
  • Creating a drumbeat
  • Converting audio to MIDI
  • Recording vocals
  • Warping and editing clips
  • Adding effects
  • Using time commands
  • Working with the mixer
  • Using side chain compression
  • Adding reverb and delay
  • Mixing dynamically with automation
  • Mastering a song
Subject:
Audio + Music
Software:
Ableton Live
Author:
Yeuda Ben-Atar

Creating a transition effect and recording automation in Session view

In Live it is possible to create and record automation clips also in the Session view. Let's switch to the Session view. and I'm going to create the Transition effect for our song. So let's create a new MIDI track. Go to Create > Insert MIDI Track, and let's use the browser to browse for a specific sound. I'm going to right-click, and let's navigate, maybe Synth Rhythmic. (music playing) That's a good sound. Drag it to our MIDI track. I'm going to create a MIDI clip, double-click anywhere in the empty clip slots and I'm going to input the chord from our song, which is D Major 7.

I'm copying the notes by holding Alt or Option. Let's select all the notes and make them longer. Let's add some effects to make this sound more interesting. So I'm going to add MIDI Effects. Note that the MIDI Effects go before the effect and not after, because they are affecting the MIDI and not the audio. In other words MIDI effects will input and output MIDI, instruments will input MIDI and output audio, and audio effects will input and output audio.

So let's add some more MIDI effects to make the sound really interesting. I can also duplicate devices, changing on some parameters and maybe add also some audio effects to affect the sound. Let's listen. I'm going to solo. (music playing) I just want to change one note.

So I want to automate the Rate field. I want it to start fast and go and become slow. (music playing) Right now, I also don't need this clip to loop, because I only want the effect to happen once. So I'm going to double-click and go to the Clip view and turn off Loop. Go back to Device view, and now I'm going to click this Session Record button, which is going to enable overdubbing of MIDI notes and recording of automation envelopes.

So I can do it manually using the mouse or I can also MIDI map to my MIDI controller. Let's click the parameter, move one of the knobs on my MIDI controller, and it's mapped. Now I can control it. Let's click on the Session Record button. (music playing) Now, if we play the clip we can see the Rate is automated. (music playing) If you right-click on the Rate and Show Automation, it will take us to the Clip view, but we won't see the Note Editor; we will see the clip envelope.

If we want to see the notes, we need to click on the Note box or go back to the clip envelope by clicking on the envelopes. Here we can edit the envelope just like we edited in the Arrangement view. We can also go into Draw mode using the pencil by hitting B or clicking on the pencil, and we can draw it. Note that the draw will automate according to the grid size. So we change the grid to make small automations or we can even turn the grid off to truly draw in the automation. I'm going to use Command+Z to undo.

Now I want to record this clip to the Arrangement view with the automation. We'll simply hit the Global Record button and play the clip. So first I'm going to launch the clip and hit the spacebar to stop. (music playing) Then I'm going to record to the arrangement. (music playing) Let's go to the Arrangement view, scroll down. Let's make this smaller.

We can see the clip is recorded. We have an extra section here we don't need. Let's delete the extra clip. We also see the automation is being recorded as well with the clip, but it's been grayed out. And it's still playing or I think is playing from the Session view, and that's why we need to go back to Arrangement for it to play from the arrangement. Let's move it around and now we have our Transition effect. (music playing) Session automation using clip envelopes is an amazing feature that allows us to create advanced music ideas on the fly.

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