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Understanding Session view

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Understanding Session view

A large part of successfully using an application like Live is being familiar and comfortable with the software interface. So before we dig deeper into Live, let's take a look at the main components of the Session View window. Let's start with two areas of the window that help you figure out things as you're working with Live. I will start here in the lower left-hand corner with Info view. Info view displays information on anything that you point your mouse at. So, if I go up here and point at this Solo button, it will show me that that's the Solo/Cue button. Over on the far right-hand side of the program, we have Help view.

Understanding Session view

A large part of successfully using an application like Live is being familiar and comfortable with the software interface. So before we dig deeper into Live, let's take a look at the main components of the Session View window. Let's start with two areas of the window that help you figure out things as you're working with Live. I will start here in the lower left-hand corner with Info view. Info view displays information on anything that you point your mouse at. So, if I go up here and point at this Solo button, it will show me that that's the Solo/Cue button. Over on the far right-hand side of the program, we have Help view.

Help view includes step-by-step lessons to do certain things in Live. I can always go to the Home area by clicking the Home button, and then I can come down here and I can click on the hyperlink for Show All Lessons. This will take me to an area where I can click until I find something that's pertinent to what I am trying to learn. You can close Help view by clicking on the little x here. You can reopen it by coming over to View and clicking on Help view. Above Info view, we have the browser, and we'll talk about that in the next video.

Above the browser, we have controls that allow us to set tempo and change tempo and things like that. So the tempo over here, if I click on that, I can either click and drag a new tempo, or I can type a value in, and that will affect playback. So I click on one of our clips here. We'll hear that playback. (Drums playing.) Now I'll click there and change the tempo back to 110 and play that again.

(Drums playing.) And we can hear that playing faster. Now we can do that while we are playing back, (Drums playing.) and Live dynamically changes the tempo. Other times you are not quite sure what you want the tempo to be. You can actually click on the Tap button, while Live is playing back, and it will calculate the tempo from your click. (Drums playing.) So you could see that I was doing that slower and faster by just simply clicking on the Tap button.

Let me reset that back to 110. To the right of the Tempo field, I've got the Meter field. Now I am in 44, but if I was in 34 or some of the time signature, I can indicate that there. To the right of the Meter field, I've got the Metronome button. So if I need to click to provide some rhythmic reference while I'm trying to record a part, I can enable the click. (Drums playing to a click.) So you could hear the click playing along with that clip. If I need a count-in prior to recording, I can right-click on the metronome button and choose a count-in length from the contextual menu: 1 bars, 2 bars, and 4 bars. And you'll hear that number of clicks prior to actually the start of recording.

To the right of the Tempo and Metronome fields, I have the transport controls: I have the Play button, Stop button, and the Record button. (Drums playing to a click.) Further over on the control bar, I have controls that work with punching in and punching out, and looping. So, if I need to protect an area that's already been recorded, when I want to record an area that needs to be fixed, I can enable the Punch-In and Punch-Out buttons. To the right of that, I have buttons to do with key and midi mapping.

This first button here is called the Computer MIDI Keyboard key. If I record-enable a MIDI track--I am going to click the Stop Clips button, because I don't want that audio clip to play-- I can now trigger this MIDI clip by simply pressing on the A key, and the other keys to the right of that on that row of your computer keyboard. (Drum sounds.) To the right of the mapping buttons, I have the CPU load indicator, which tells me if Live is working too hard. And to the right of that, I have the hard disk overload indicator, and then I have the MIDI in and out indicators.

So for instance, if I hit that A key on my keyboard again, you'll see that light up to indicate that it's receiving MIDI signal. In the middle of Session view, we have the track area. And at the top of these vertical tracks, I have clip slots where I can drop clips. I can launch a clip by simply clicking on the Clip Launch button; (Drums playing.) I can stop that by clicking the Stop button or the Spacebar on your keyboard. Below that I have controls that affect the playback of the clips on that track.

For instance, I have the Volume slider here, so I can change volume as the clip is playing back. I am going to turn off the click. (Drums playing.) I can also mute the track by click the Track Activator button, or solo it by clicking the Solo button, and record- enable by clicking the Record Enable button, and also affect the pan position by clicking and dragging on the Pan knob here, for example.

(Drums playing.) On the far right of the track area, we have the Show/Hide buttons. So, if there's something on the track itself that's not showing that you need to use, you can show/hide those areas of the track by clicking these buttons. So I is for I/O, S for send, R is for the return tracks, and this for the mixer, for example. And you can also use keyboard shortcuts to do that.

For example, the I/O field can be opened and closed by going Command+Option+I on a Mac or Ctrl+Alt+I on a PC. The Sends area: Command+Option+S on a Mac or Ctrl+Alt+S on the PC, and so on. If I click on a clip, I'll see the details of that clip showing down here in the Details area. Now, since I've got a MIDI clip selected, I can see MIDI note blobs here in the MIDI Note Editor. If I click on the Device view here, I'll see the device chain that is part of that particular MIDI clip, and I've only got one thing happening at this time.

It's a little bit different if I click on an audio clip. In this case there's no device, but if I click on the clip overview there, I'll see the audio waveform in the Sample Editor. I can open and close this area by going Command+Option+L on a Mac or Ctrl+Alt+L on a PC. On the far right of the track area, I have the Master track, and what look like clip slots here are actually scenes. That means that I can actually launch all the clips on a row by clicking the Scene Launch button.

I am going to click the Stop Clips button here so that nothing is selected. Now, when I click on this Launch button it's going to launch all the clips on that row. (Music playing.) You saw when I clicked on the second Launch button it launched the clips on that particular row. Now to the right of the master track area, I have two buttons that allow me to switch between Live's main two Windows.

Currently we are in Session view, and if I click the button above that, we'll go into Arrangement view. Now, I can switch between these windows by using these two buttons, or I can simply press the Tab key. Being familiar with the program's interface is key to successfully using the application. Now that we have taken a closer look at the Live Session View window, we are ready to dig in and learn how to use the program to make music.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

69 video lessons · 16961 viewers

Rick Schmunk
Author

 
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

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