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Working with Live clips

From: Ableton Live 8 Essential Training

Video: Working with Live clips

Audio and MIDI clips are an essential part of using Live. In the video, we'll learn how to load, play, and stop clips in Session view, as well as how to copy and paste clips. As we began discussing in the last video, clips are short audio or MIDI recordings. In Live, clips are musical building blocks that can be used to build a song or a section of a song. A clip might be a drum groove, a bassline, or even keyboard part. Live clips are generally 2, 4, or 8 bars long, and are edited so they can easily be repeated or looped. So let's take a look at how to load clips.

Working with Live clips

Audio and MIDI clips are an essential part of using Live. In the video, we'll learn how to load, play, and stop clips in Session view, as well as how to copy and paste clips. As we began discussing in the last video, clips are short audio or MIDI recordings. In Live, clips are musical building blocks that can be used to build a song or a section of a song. A clip might be a drum groove, a bassline, or even keyboard part. Live clips are generally 2, 4, or 8 bars long, and are edited so they can easily be repeated or looped. So let's take a look at how to load clips.

I want to go into one of the file browsers here, and let's look at the Samples, and I'm going to drop down to the Loopmasters folder and into the Bass Loops folder and Electro, and I have a bunch of audio clips here. Now I can select one of those clips, and I can load it to a track by hitting the Return key. Now notice that Live created the appropriate kind of track, audio in this case, and loaded the clip to the first clip slot on the track. Now I can play that clip by clicking on the Launch button here (Music playing.) and stop the clip by either pressing the Spacebar or one of the Stop clip buttons on the track, or the Stop all Clips button over on the Master track.

Notice that when I click that the clip now is deselected, and the Play button is not green anymore. (Music playing.) Now I started playing the clip again because I wanted to show you that if I stopped the clip by pressing the Spacebar, the clip is still selected and ready to play. And if I press the Spacebar again, it will start playing. (Music playing.) We'll come back to this issue when we have several clips in the session. So we have loaded an audio clip. Let's now take a look at loading a MIDI clip.

So I'm going to go into the Clips area. Let's take a look at the Drums. And I am going to go into the Electronic and then down here to Eckhose. It looks like there is a subfolder, and then I have got some MIDI clips. This time I'm going to load the clip, not by hitting Return key, but by double-clicking on the file itself. So it took a second, but it created a MIDI track, and it loaded the clip onto the first clip slot. We can tell that there is a little bit of a difference going on here, because now I see something down in the details view area and specifically I'm seeing the device.

If I go back over to the audio clip, I'll see that there is nothing there. Or if I click on the clip overlay, I'll see that I've got the audio file and the sample editor. If I go back to the MIDI clip, I'll see that I've got MIDI data down here. So we can see that there is a difference. So I'm going to click the Stop Clip button here on the bass track, and now I'll trigger the drum groove by clicking on the Launch button. (Drums playing.) So we hear the MIDI clip.

Now what I can do is I can fire off the MIDI clip again, and then I can add to the bass clip to that. (Music playing.) Okay. So I just click the Stop button there to stop those from playing, and I'm going to go ahead, and I am going to click the Stop Clips button here to deselect both of those. I'm going to do this again, because I want to show you how Live is going to add that second clip. (Music playing.) Now hopefully, you notice that time it took a little bit longer for Live to launch the bass part, and that's because of the global quantization setting that's up here on the control bar.

Now currently it's set at the default of 1 bar, but I can set that to other values as well. Now what this means is that when I have clips playing in the session and I launch yet another clip, it's going to wait until the next bar before it actually starts playing that new clip. So, so far when we've been adding clips to the session, tracks have been automatically created. So let's just take a brief second to see how we can actually manually create tracks. I can go over here to the Create menu, and notice here that I have two commands for Insert Audio Track and Insert MIDI Track.

And you should just note that if you actually create an audio track and you later drag a MIDI clip onto it, Live is smart enough to know that it can change that into a MIDI track. Also, I could have done that using the key command Command+T for an audio track-- and that would be Ctrl+T on a PC--or Command+Shift+T for a MIDI track--or Ctrl+Shift+T on a PC. Now, I can also load multiple clips at the same time. So let me grab these other three grooves here on the drums folder here for this Eckhose drum preset.

Now I can click and drag those selected clips onto the drum track and load those on adjacent clip slots. Now I'm going to fire off one of these clips by clicking on the Clip Launch button. (Music playing.) Notice that when I click the succeeding clips that they were launched, and when they started, by default, the previous clips stopped playing. So that's telling us Live will only allow one clip to play on a track at a time.

Let's do the same thing with some more audio files. So I'm going to drop back over here into the Electro folder, and I'm going to grab a couple more of the bass WAV files here. Notice that I can either select files contiguously by clicking and then Shift+Clicking to select a range, or I can Command+Click on a Mac to select nonadjacent files, and that would be Ctrl+Click on a PC. Now if I want, I can click and drag those onto that track. And again it's going to load them on adjacent clip slots.

Now I can fire off this drum clip. (Music playing.) Notice that while I was launching those clips that Live allows you to have a clip playing on one row on one track, and I can indiscriminately launch clips on other tracks, regardless of what row they're sitting on.

Now, another way I can load multiple clips into a session is I can select them-- and I'll do that with the same three files here-- and I can Command+Click and Drag those. This time I'm going to actually drag those and drop them in the drop files area. But notice that when I let go Live is going to put those on adjacent tracks instead of adjacent clip slots on the same track. That's because I Command+Drug them into the area. On a PC, that would be Ctrl+Drag. Now some other things that we can do with clips are we can move them around.

So I can Click+Select a clip, and I can drag that to another clip slot. I can also copy a clip by either selecting the clip and going Command+C on a PC and then Command+V on the next clip slot-- and that would've been Ctrl+C on a PC, or Ctrl+V. The other way to do that would be to select the clip and simply Option+Click and Drag that to the desired clip slot. Also, you might want to rename your clips. I can do that by right-clicking on the desired clip and choosing Rename from the contextual menu, or using the key command Command+R on a Mac, or Ctrl+R on a PC.

Now I can type in the new name there. So I might want to call that "Drum Chorus." And that way I know that clip belongs with the chorus of the song. So, take some time to get familiar with loading and launching clips in Ableton Live.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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

69 video lessons · 17248 viewers

Rick Schmunk
Author

 
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  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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