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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.
One of the disadvantages of using loop and sample libraries is that everybody's music projects start to sound similar after a while. In this video, we'll learn how to use the Session to Arrange Record feature in Live to rework preexisting clips, to create custom clips that we can use in our Live projects. So I've set up a Live project here, and I've brought in a clip from our drum machine, Impulse, from the Clips library. To get started, what I first want to do is I want to copy this clip to several other clip slots, and then choose sections of that clip that I'm going to use to trigger individually.
So I'm going to take my Option key, I'll select that first clip, and I'm going to drag that down to several other clip slots. Now, as I work, I'm going to leave that first clip in that first clip slot alone, so that if I need it again, I can pull it out. I'm going to come down to this first clip slot, and I'm going to start isolating pieces of that. Now I'm going to want to get the kick and the snare separately, and then later on, I'll get other pieces of the clip that have some kind of rhythmic interest to them.
So I'm going to go down into the Note Editor area here, and I'm going to set the loop start and end points to isolate just pieces of this. So I can drag my loop end over here, and I know that I've got a kick down here on the first part of this loop. I'll check that out now. Now that it's short, I'll hear that play several times. (Drums playing.) So I've got the kick. On the second one, I'm going to drop down, and I'm going to get the snare. That's probably going to be over here on beat three. So I can drag my start point here over to beat three, or I can hold my cursor right there around beat three and hold down my Command key on a Mac or the Ctrl key on a PC, and it will allow me to set the loop start point right there.
Now I'm also going to want to set the loop end point. And without having to go over and pull the loop brace all the way over, I can hold the cursor where I want it, and then hold down Command+Shift on a Mac, or Ctrl+Shift on a PC, and I can isolate that very quickly. I'm going to listen to that. I want to get the snare, and maybe just a little bit extra, so I'll fire off the Launch button on the second clip. (Drums playing.) Make sure that's selected, and I am on the right clip. Take off that count-in for a second.
(Drums playing.) Okay. My problem is is that I don't have my loop play point set at the right place. So I'm going to click and drag that over to the beginning of the actual loop brace. Now I should hear that fire correctly. Let's give it a shot. (Drums playing.) So we've got a piece there. Now I'll go down to the next one, and I want to get a piece of where the hi-hats are playing. So I'm going to click here in the lower half of the beat time ruler, and just listen for a second. (Drums playing.) Okay, so I like this part here right around bar two, beat two.
So I'm going to hold down my Command key, or Ctrl on a PC, again, and set my loop point to start there. Then I'll do Command+Shift, or Ctrl+Shift on a PC, and I'm going to get a piece of that. Now, I'm going to drop down to the next one. And I heard this little fill here that starts at beat four, and I want to get that, so I'm going to set the loop start point there and the loop end point here. I'll get one more piece. Let me listen here just a little bit later, and see what I've got.
(Drums playing.) Okay, so I like this last little thing here. So loop point, start, and the loop end is already there. Now, I'm going to name these, so I can keep them straight. So I'm going to go Command+R, or Ctrl+R on a PC, and I'll call this one "Kick." Then to go down and rename the next clip, I'm just going to use my down arrow. That one was "Snare." The next one was "Hi-Hat." Then I'll call the next one "Fill 1," and the last one, "Fill 2." Now, so that I can easily trigger these, I'm going to turn on the Key Mapping button here, and I'll set these to some keys on my computer keyboard.
So I'll click the first one. I'll assign that one to 1, and the next one to 2, and 3, 4, and 5. Now, I can look over here, and I see the key mappings set here. So I'll turn off that. Now, I should be able to fire these off by pressing the associated numbers on my keyboard. (Drums playing.) So on and so forth. Now remember that the global quantization value affects this.
So right now, when I launch one of these clips, it's going to wait until the next bar to do that, and I don't want it to wait that long; I want it to trigger almost immediately. So I need to shorten that quantization. And experimenting around with this, I found that either an 8th note or a 16th note is about the right rhythmic length to fire off that next clip. (Drums playing.) So sometimes it takes some experimenting to get that right. You'll take some time, and you'll work that out on your own. So I'm going to start off, and I'll try with the 16th note. I'm also going to go up, and as I work, I want my changes that I'm going to be recording into the other window to lock to time.
So I'm actually going to turn on Record Quantization, and turn this on to Sixteenth-Note-Quantization. So I'm going to put the system in Record, I'm going to enable my metronome, and I'm going to set a 1-bar count off. Remember, any of the moves now that I make in Session view are going to be recorded into Arrange view. So I'm going to switch over briefly by pressing my Tab key, and just make sure that my cursor is at the beginning of the Arrangement view time ruler up here, the beat time ruler. So I'll go back, and I'm going to hit my Play button. And then remember, it's just the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
(Music playing.) Let me stop clips there first. I'll undo what I just did.
So as I was doing that, you were seeing the different clips that I had truncated down here visually displaying. Now, I'll switch over to the Arrangement view area, and we can see what I just played in there. If I unfold that track, we can see the associated MIDI data showing with the clips that I played. So I'm going to move that around. Now at this point, what we'd want to do is you just want to set playback and start listening to pieces of this.
This is experimenting, and we just want to find the good parts that we actually performed. (Drums playing.) I'm going to turn off the click, so I don't listen to that for a minute. (Drums playing.) So at some point, you'll find a section of this that you want to rework and use for a loop in a project later on. To do that, we can just select an area. Now, I want to start that right on beat four. So I'm going to come down here in the beat time ruler, and I'm going to separate that particular clip by going down and using the Split function, which is Command+E on a Mac or Ctrl+E on a PC, so that I've got a starting point that's right there at bar four.
Then I'm going to listen and see if I can get about two bars worth of this. (Drums playing.) Okay. So that's sounding pretty good. Now I can go in and actually do some editing on any one of these by just simply clicking on the clip. And I can take advantage of some of the things that are down here in our Notes area. For instance, if I want to speed up or slow down a portion of that, I can do that. So I just click the *2 button, and so that part is going to play twice as fast.
So let's give that a listen. (Drums playing.) That adds a bit of interesting, odd rhythmic behavior there. Now, if this was actually audio that I was doing this with, I would also get the option to reverse a clip, and that can be very, very interesting. So the next step would actually be to select these clips and join them into one new clip. You do that using the Consolidate function. So if I go up to the Edit menu, choose Consolidate, which would be Command+J on the Mac or Ctrl+J on a PC.
I now get one clip out of that. If I go back over into my Library, I've got a My Clips folder, and now I can simply drag and drop that into the My Clips folder. Again, it's going to ask me if I want to copy any of the reference samples from the library as part of that clip. You can do that if you're going to be moving this to another computer. If you're going to be doing this on your own computer, that may not be necessary. So I'll go ahead and click Don't Copy. Now, I can switch back over to Session view, and I can bring that out on its own track.
We can see that it brought out the virtual instrument with it down here, and I've got the new MIDI data that was created when I recorded that into Arrangement view. And now I can start building my new project around this custom clip. So the Session to Arrange Record feature brings a whole new level of creativity and fun to making music using a computer. It takes a bit of practice to learn to rework clips using this feature, so take some time to experiment and let your creative side have some fun.
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