Join Yeuda Ben-Atar for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating a drumbeat, part of Up and Running with Ableton Live 9.
In this video we'll start creating our song starting from the drumbeat. This song is going to be electronic-based so we are going to use a MIDI instrument to make a drumbeat. In Live browser, let's go to Drums and drag the Drum Rack to the Drums MIDI track. We can see the empty drum rack device. Here we can load samples on each one of the pads. Each pad has a MIDI note number on it that corresponds to MIDI notes. So if I play my MIDI keyboard, we can see it plays the pad and if we had samples there, we can also play them.
Live comes with drum rack presents we can already load by dragging to the Drop area and if we load up a Drum Rack filled with samples, we can already start playing. (music playing) I'm going to delete this track by clicking on the track item and hitting Delete. Let's go back to our MIDI track, and I'll empty drum rack. I am going to load my own samples. It's going to be one-shot samples. One-shot samples are very short audio files that usually contain one element of the drums, if it's kick, snare, hat, symbols, percussion, or even toner sounds like effects or synthesizes.
To add the folder from our hard drive I am going to click Add Folder, navigate to it in my computer, and hit Open. Now we can see it, under Places. Let's click on it, navigate to the Drums, expand it, and now we can start dropping the samples onto our drum rack. It doesn't really matter where you drop them. You can drop them anywhere you want on each pad. But if you play Live Drums from your MIDI controller, it will be easy to place them anywhere you want according to your convenience.
I am going to load multiple samples at once by just holding Shift and selecting them. Let's do it with the Hats and with Perc. Now, each pad is its own sampler. So we have different parameters for each pad we can change, like Filter Cutoff, Gain, and Pitch. For example... (music playing) You can change the pitch. (music playing) Really cool. To return any parameter in Live to default we simply need to click on it and hit Delete.
Really cool. Now that we have all the samples loaded up, it's time to sequence them. To sequence them we are going to use a MIDI clip. To create a MIDI clip we are going to double-click anywhere on the track in an empty clip slot. Let's double-click and now we see the Clip view, which is going to be the MIDI note editor. Let's expand this by dragging. We can see all the samples to the left, and we can see the beat counter on the top.
We can right-click to change the grid size. Let's go back to 16. And we can double-click anywhere on the grid to start adding notes. So, let's starting adding the kick pattern. Now if I hit the spacebar, nothing happens, although the global transport bar is playing. And that's because--let's drag it down-- we need to actually launch the clip in order for it to play.
So I am going to launch the clip using the Launch button next to it, and then we will be able to hear the kick plays. So let's check it out. (music playing) Right now it's too fast for me, so I am going to change the Global BPM to 83. I am just going to input it using my computer keyboard, 83, and hit Enter. So now if we play it, we can already spacebar without launching it, because we already launched it once, and we can see the Play button next to it is green. So it's already launched and ready to play.
So let's hit the spacebar. (music playing) If we want to stop the clip, we simply hit the Stop button and now if we hit spacebar or the Global Transport Bar, it won't play. So once again, launching the clip and stopping. Let's add the Snare. I am going to change to grid size. I am going to right-click and choose quarter notes. Let's input the snare, double-clicking. I am going to put it on the 2 and the 4. Nice.
I am also going layer it with the snare percussion. So now it sounds like this. (music playing) Let's add some hats. Right-click, 16 notes, and let's add some hats. I am going to change to 32 and in the hats, nice. Now if we drag the notes, we can see they are moving freely on the grid until they snap to the next note value. So let's change the notes off grid to add a groove to our pattern.
Let's listen to it now. (music playing) Nice. I am just going to move this note. I think this will sound better. (music playing) Really cool. You can make as many adjustments as you want. Let's add percussion. Now, I really want to work on the percussion in this case, so I am going to go to my Device view and I am going to hit Solo on the Perc 2, hold Command or Ctrl, and hit Solo as well on the Perc 1.
Now we are only going to hear these two samples. So if we hit play-- (music playing) Although all the other samples are playing, we only hit Perc 1 and Perc 2, because we soloed them. Let's go back to MIDI note editor, expand it, play them. (music playing) Now I want to add more have a dynamic feel to the percussion, so I need to something. I am going to add velocity changes to the percussion, which are very, very important in computer music. Take your time adjusting velocities.
Velocities can be a adjusted using the Velocity Editor on the bottom, but as you can see, we have a lot of notes layered on top of each other like this kick and this Percussion. So instead of changing it from then Velocity Editor, we can also hold Command and drag the note to the change the velocity. We can also see the shade of red changing according to velocity. So once again let me Undo using Command+Z and in Live you have unlimited undos; don't worry if you make mistakes.
If you want to redo, it's Command+Shift+Z. Let's play it without Velocity and then I am going to apply the velocity and we hear the change. So let's hear it without (music playing) Now let's add some Velocity. Again, I am holding Command and simply dragging down or up. Velocity is very, very important to change the strength of the hit of the element. It can be anything. It can be even a tonal sound, not only percussive.
So let's listen to it now. (music playing) Did you hear the difference? Let's undo everything. We'll listen to it one more time without velocity. (music playing) And I am going to redo, Command+Shift+Z (music playing) You heard how we it added a lot more dynamic response and feel to our pattern, which is very, very important in computer music.
Now we have got our drumbeat, which is amazing. Let's go back to Device view and Unsolo and listen to our drumbeat. (music playing) The drum rack is a powerful device. It was designed to make drums, but don't stop there. You can add sounds like bass, leads, vocals, and experiment that way. I am a person who is using the drum rack extensively in all of my productions. It's a great tool to know.
- Setting up plugins and projects
- Creating a drumbeat
- Converting audio to MIDI
- Recording vocals
- Warping and editing clips
- Adding effects
- Using time commands
- Working with the mixer
- Using side chain compression
- Adding reverb and delay
- Mixing dynamically with automation
- Mastering a song