Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Quantizing MIDI data


From:

Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

with Rick Schmunk

Video: Quantizing MIDI data

After recording MIDI, it's likely that you're going to want to adjust or fix some aspect of the performance. In this video, we'll take a look at how to use quantization to fix rhythmic errors, or improve a groove. So, all MIDI editing starts with making a selection, and we can select MIDI notes in the MIDI Editor with the mouse. I am going to zoom in here by clicking on the beat timer while we're dragging down to zoom in a little bit, so we can see some more detail. So if I click on one of the note blobs, I select it. If I Shift+Click, I can extend that selection to contiguous or noncontiguous notes.
Expand all | Collapse all
  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

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
Please wait...
Ableton Live 8 Essential Training
7h 20m Beginner Dec 10, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Ableton Live 8 Essential Training with Rick Schmunk offers a comprehensive overview of Ableton's live audio and MIDI sequencing software and the techniques required to compose, record, and edit music, in real time, on stage, or in the studio. The course includes tutorials on compiling live sets from audio and MIDI clips, loops, or samples, applying MIDI effects, warping audio, and recording and producing songs in any number of contemporary styles. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Putting together a DAW system
  • Setting up Ableton preferences
  • Importing and exporting content
  • Recording MIDI
  • Editing and quantizing MIDI data
  • Recording audio
  • Recording in Arrangement view
  • Using sends and returns in the Live Mixer
  • Grouping tracks
  • Signal processing
  • Creating and editing automation envelopes
  • Using fades to mask audio pops and clicks
  • Looping and warping audio clips
  • Mapping device controls to a MIDI keyboard
  • Working with virtual instruments
  • Integrating Live with Pro Tools and Logic
Subjects:
Audio + Music DAWs
Software:
Ableton Live
Author:
Rick Schmunk

Quantizing MIDI data

After recording MIDI, it's likely that you're going to want to adjust or fix some aspect of the performance. In this video, we'll take a look at how to use quantization to fix rhythmic errors, or improve a groove. So, all MIDI editing starts with making a selection, and we can select MIDI notes in the MIDI Editor with the mouse. I am going to zoom in here by clicking on the beat timer while we're dragging down to zoom in a little bit, so we can see some more detail. So if I click on one of the note blobs, I select it. If I Shift+Click, I can extend that selection to contiguous or noncontiguous notes.

I can also click in the background of the Note Editor and drag and close a group of notes. Another way I can select notes is to go over into the piano roll and click one of the lines or spaces that the notes are located on. Doing that selects every note on that line or space in the clip. And lastly, I can click in the background of the Note Editor and then go Command+A to select all the notes in the clip. Now, before I do this, let's play and hear what's going on with this clip. (Music playing.) Okay. So there are a couple of things happening there.

First of all, we can hear that there are some rhythmic errors. But when I start playback, I don't actually see my cursor. Now, I'm zoomed in, and that's causing a problem, but I can get Live to follow the movement of the cursor by going up and clicking the Follow button up in the control bar. Now, when I start playback-- (Music playing.) the window scrolls with playback. If I hit Start again, I'll hear the playback from the beginning of the clip. (Music playing.) At times, you actually want to start playing from where the playback stopped, and you can do that by holding your Shift key down and clicking your Spacebar.

(Music playing.) Another way to temporarily start playback from a different point is to go in the lower half of the beat time ruler and click with your mouse. (Music playing.) Now, a note on that is that that is actually affected by the global quantization, and that's set at one bar right now. So it's going to move to the closest bar upon playback. So if I click here, it just started at bar three, and that's what it did. So as I was playing this, I did notice that there's one thing that I want to fix here. So I am going to drag back out, so I can see everything.

And notice that my clip is not set to be four bars long. So I'm going to drag the loop end point here and drag that over, so it ends at bar five, beat one. Let me zoom back in. Now, one way I can quantize a note is by simply selecting it and clicking and dragging it, and it will snap to the marker. Now, if necessary, I can change the quantize grid, or the marker grid, by right-clicking on the Note Editor background and choosing a different rhythmic value from the menu here. Now I can also select multiple notes and drag them at the same time.

If I want to override the grid at any point, I can hold down my Command key and click and drag that note. Let me select it first, Command--that would be Ctrl on a PC--and now I can click and drag that closer to the location I want it to be at, but not have it snap to grid. So another way I can quantize notes is select one note, or more--and I'll drag and close a few here that are onscreen-- and then use one of the Quantize commands. Now, those are available under the Edit menu. Quantize would be Command+U, and Quantize Settings would be Shift+Command+U. And on a PC, that would be Ctrl+U and Shift+ Ctrl+U. So let's first start by bringing up the Quantize Settings dialog box.

This allows us to set a rhythmic value that we're going to quantize to. And remember that the general rule is so that you want to quantize to the smallest rhythmic value contained in your selection. Now, in this case, that is going to be 16th notes with this clip. While we're here, let's take a look at it. I also have the ability to set this to a triplet. So if you're quantizing a selection, you want to make sure that it contains either straight sixteenths, like in this case, or if there is triplets, you're going to want to choose a triplet format. Otherwise, when you quantize, you can end up with some funny results.

So I'll choose 16th notes. Then before I move on, I am going to point out this Amount field here. I can actually quantize by percentage, and this allows you to retain some of the human aspects of the original performance. So if a note is way off base, if I quantize it 90%, it's going to move farther than a note that was already close to where it needed to be, and I can quantize that as well. So let's give this a shot. I will click OK, and we'll notice that that looks like it's snapped to grid. But if I zoom in even further, we'll notice that my snare hit is still further away from the grid than either of this hi- hat hit up here or this one over there.

I am going to invoke the Quantize Settings dialog box again, which if you remember was Command+Shift+U or Ctrl+ Shift+U. So what amount is it good to set to? Well, the general rule of thumb is that it really depends upon your own personal playing. For me, I find that settings between about 85 and 90% result in the groove that I like but still retain some of that human performance. So I'll quantize that. I am going to zoom out just a little bit, so I can see more. And let's go ahead and let's quantize the whole thing and check out what that sounds like.

So, Command+A to select all the notes, and then Command+Shift+U, set your parameters, say OK. Now, it's quantized. So we will give that a listen. (Music playing.) Okay. So, that's making a lot more sense now. Some considerations to think about when you're about to quantize: So first, try to re-record a part until you get it right. It's going to make it feel more human, and like everything else, practice makes perfect. But if you need to quantize something, do it judiciously.

Don't quantize at 100%, unless that's what's you're going for, or that's what the music calls for, and only quantize what needs to be quantized. So knowing when and how to apply quantization to a MIDI clip can really make the difference between a MIDI project that feels awkward or one that feels good. Now that we've discussed how to quantize in Ableton Live, you are ready to make music that grooves.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Ableton Live 8 Essential Training.


Expand all | Collapse all
Please wait...
Q: Can I use Ableton Live Lite to work through this course?
A: For the most part, yes. However, there are a few limitations. For example, there are some drum sounds that won’t work with the Lite version. Lite also has a limited track count, which may cause problems with some of the larger Live Sets in the course. If you do not have the full version of Ableton Live, you can download a demo of Ableton Live Suite (http://www.ableton.com/download-suite-trial), which will run for 30 days. This will allow you to do everything in the course, and get a look at what the full version can do at the same time.
Share a link to this course
Please wait... Please wait...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Ableton Live 8 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Welcome to the redesigned course page.

We’ve moved some things around, and now you can



Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked