Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Using the computer keyboard to control Live

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Using the computer keyboard to control Live

MIDI controllers offer straightforward control of mixer and device parameters in Ableton Live. If you can't afford a MIDI controller yet, don't worry, because in Live the computer keyboard can also be configured to work as an effective MIDI controller. So there're two things that we can do in Ableton Live to configure the keyboard to work as a MIDI controller. First of all, we have the Computer MIDI Keyboard mode. If I enable that, the letters A through K on a keyboard, and some of the other letters, actually will trigger notes from your virtual instrument. So if I select the bass track here-- and we can see that I've got a virtual instrument there, and I'm going to flip over--actually let me bring up a clip so that we can see the keyboard here.

Using the computer keyboard to control Live

MIDI controllers offer straightforward control of mixer and device parameters in Ableton Live. If you can't afford a MIDI controller yet, don't worry, because in Live the computer keyboard can also be configured to work as an effective MIDI controller. So there're two things that we can do in Ableton Live to configure the keyboard to work as a MIDI controller. First of all, we have the Computer MIDI Keyboard mode. If I enable that, the letters A through K on a keyboard, and some of the other letters, actually will trigger notes from your virtual instrument. So if I select the bass track here-- and we can see that I've got a virtual instrument there, and I'm going to flip over--actually let me bring up a clip so that we can see the keyboard here.

So if I press the letter A with the Computer MIDI Keyboard button enabled on the control bar here, we should see the letter C3 light up, and we do. So if I press A, I'm going to get C. If I press S, I'm going to get D. D will get me E. F will get me F in that case. G will get me G. H will get me A. J will get me B, and K will take me to the next octave, which in this case will be C4.

Now for black keys, if you look at your computer keyboard you'll realize, so if A is C and S is D and D is E, then the keys on your computer MIDI keyboard above that in between the keys will act as your black keys. For instance, so W will act as C# and E will act as D#. Now I can change octaves here and what I'm triggering by pressing my Z and X Keys. Z you'll notice will take me down an octave, so now I'm triggering C2. And if I go another Z, I'll drop down another octave.

So I'm at C1 through D2. And if I use the letter X, I can go back up in octave each time I press the key. So now I am back to C2 and D3. Another time C3, and now I'm up to C4. Also, I can control the velocity that I'm triggering, using my C and V keys. So I'm back to C3 as middle C, and if I press the C, it's that loud. If I press the letter C on the computer keyboard, it will drop my velocity 20 at a time.

So now I should be softer at 60 velocity. I will press V. It will take me back up 20 each time. And I'll have a maximum velocity of 127, and a minimum of 0. Now another way that I can use the computer keyboard to trigger is to use Key Map mode. I'm going to disable Computer MIDI Keyboard mode here for a second. And when I click on Key Map mode, you'll notice that everything that I can map on the screen turns orange.

So a couple of obvious choices are going to be clips or scenes. So if I select, for instance, this clip right here, and then press a key on the computer keyboard, I'll assign that. So in this case, I've signed the letter Q. We see that in the upper right-hand corner of the clip. And then you'll notice that also over in the browser area, I have a special browser called the Key Mappings browser, and it lists anything that I've assigned. So I'm seeing that I've got that clip assigned: slot 1 on the 6th track Pad-eMotional. And if I hit the Escape key to get out of Key Map mode, I can now trigger that by pressing my letter Q, (Music playing.) And I'll go back into Key Map mode.

This time I'll go Command+K to do that-- that would be Ctrl+K on a PC. I'm not going to assign other letters to do things. So I'm going to come over here and grab this first clip. I'll assign that to A and then the intro to S and verse to D. Now I should warn you that if the Computer MIDI Keyboard button is enabled, I'm going to set up a situation where those assignments are going to override my key mapping assignments. If the button is not enabled, I'll be okay. All right.

So I'm going to hit Escape. I'll hit the Stop All Clips button, and now I'll hit the letter A to trigger that first scene and so on and so forth. Now I'm going to warn you here that triggering the scenes is still impacted by your global quantization setting. So I've got that set at the default of 1 Bar, which means that when I press my letter A, it will wait until the next bar to actually trigger that scene. So here is the letter A, and I'll trigger the intro A. (Music playing.) And as you watch that, you saw me triggering the other two scenes.

So very simple and very effective, and a great way to get away from using the mouse to try and trigger these events. Now in some cases you can also use the Key Map mode to assign keys to controls that are variable in nature. So let me go to this Pad-eMotional track, and on that I've got a synth here. And I'm going to choose in this case the octave parameter. Let me turn on Key Map mode-- remember, that's Command+K or Ctrl+K on a PC--and I'll select that parameter, and I'm going to assign that to the letter Z. We see it there. And I'll hit Escape.

Now as I press the letter Z, you'll notice that that's advancing one level at a time. So I do get control over this variable nature here in this particular case. Let me go back into Key Map mode again. This time I'm going to select the Volume. I'll assign that to the letter X. Escape to get back out of Key Map mode, and now when I press the letter X notice that I'm just going to two states: on and off. No volume at all. If I press it again, I'll be all the way on.

So the nature of assigning these keys is really best when it's launching clips and scenes, or using this to trigger parameters that are either on or off in nature. Some cases we can use it to do variable controls, but not really dependable in that matter. Now if I need to delete a key map assignment I can bring back up the Key Map mode and simply select this in the Key Map browser, and hit your Delete key, and you can easily delete those and reassign them if necessary.

So now that you see how easy it is to use key mapping, try using it to launch scenes when recording from Session to Arrangement view, or to record automation in real time.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

69 video lessons · 17051 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

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

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.


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.

Join now "Already a member? Log in

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
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.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

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
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.