Join Rick Schmunk for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating rhythmic patterns with the Arpeggiator effect, part of Ableton Live 9 Essential Training.
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Live has several MIDI effects that allow you to alter a midi signal before it enters a software instrument. Let's discuss how you can add a midi effect to a MIDI track and learn to use Live's Midi Arpeggiator Effect device. So there are several MIDI effects in the midi effects folder and we're going to take a look at arpeggiator. I'm just going to grab the default arpeggiator and drag that down onto this device chain. And I'm going to first start by trying to put it at the end of the chain. Just to remind you, only audio effects go at the end of the chain MIDI effects have to go at the beginning of the chain. So I can drop it over here.
So as I play a note on my keyboard, it will enter the device chain on the left hand side. It will go through this MIDI effect which will somehow alter that MIDI data. And then pass that on to the software instrument that will turn that MIDI data into sound. So, in the case of this arpeggiator device. If I hold down a chord, it's going to take those notes and it's going to break those apart into a broken chord or what we've referred to as an arpeggial. So for example, if I l leave this on the style up.
Any notes that I hold down, it will arpeggiate them from the bottom up. Let's give that a listen. And I'm going to go into input monitoring, so that I can audition what we're doing here. (music playing) . So I was holding down a C chord. And you could hear that arpeggiating from the bottom up. So, there's several styles here. For example, we can have it arpeggiate down, or a combination of up and down, or these converge and diverge. It'll actually play the middle notes that you're holding down, and then go to the outer notes. So, there's all kinds of different styles here.
I kind of like the converge and diverge. That would sound like this. (music playing) Tune up, I'm still holding down just three notes. It's arpeggiating this at array, it's in sync with the tempo and right now it's set to an eighth note. I can also diable sync and I can do this based upon the length of miliseconds. Let's leave this in sync for right now and I'm going to advance this to a 16th note. Just to show you that we can do that twice as fast (music playing). Now, right now it's arpeggiating that in a straight groove. But I could also have that do more of a swing feel. And since we are on 16th notes there, I'll change this to swing 16th, and it's going to move every other 16th note over.
I'll see what that sounds like. (audio playing) Okay? Right now that's fairly staccato as it does that. I'm going to go back into Straight and I can adjust the gap between the notes using this Gate function. Lower values are going to make it more staccato, higher values are going to make it more legato. So if I pull that down all the way, it should be very very short. (audio playing) Now if I push that up, over here into the 100% range, we'll actually get, the notes starting to blur together. (music playing) Very smooth there.
Pull that back down to about 60 70%. So now lets take a look at the Transpose area. When I'm in Shift mode, I can actually have the arpeggiator transpose anything I'm playing. And I can have it do it both by distance, which is set to half steps, with this parameter at the bottom. Then I can also set how many times its going to transpose it. So if I put this up to one and then hold that one note. We should hear it play, the note that I'm holding down, and then transpose it up an octave, one time. (audio playing) So we hear that vacillating between the, you know, I'm holding an octave up.
If I put the steps on two, it will actually play the note that I'm playing, and then transpose it twice. (audio playing) I could also do this in a key, by changing the mode from Shift to either Major or Minor. Now the changes that happen here is, is that now the distance parameter is not transposing by half step, it's doing it by diatonic step. So, if I hold down a C in the key of C, and I transpose this one. Let me put that on one. It should play a D, and I'll put the step back on one so it should just do that one time.
So we should hear it go between C and D very rapidly. (audio playing) Now, if I hold down an E and I do that, it's only going to transpose that a half step up to F (audio playing) because it's doing it diatonically. So I like to set this in shift mode, and often like to do this by fifth so that when I hold down a chord I get an effect like this. (audio playing) And that's something that you can play behind a lot of chords in particular key.
Now let's go over here to the velocity area and check that out. So if I turn that on I can actually have the pattern that I am creating decay over time. So I might set this to decay, let's say, by two seconds. And then I'm going to set a target velocity so that as I hold the notes down it'll actually get softer. Let's hear what that sounds like. (audio playing) So you can hear that fading out. And I can also have that be re-triggered after a particular length of time. So, I'll click on the re-trigger mode.
I'm going to go into the beat version of re-trigger, and I'm going to set this to re-trigger after two bars. You can see that I'm setting lengths, here. Below one would give you, you know, like a half note, now one bar and then up to, let's try two bars. So, we should hear this decay over 2 bars and then have it retrigger. And you'll actually see this light pulse when it retriggers, here we go (audio playing). So, that can be really useful.
You're trying to create a musical effect, where this thing re-triggers, but each time it does, the notes decay and you get that change in time. So, Live's arpreggiator effect can be used to create parts that dominate or add interesting detail to a project. Give arpreggiator a spin, and try it in combination with other MIDI and audio effects.
- Choosing the right gear to use with Ableton
- Setting audio and MIDI preferences
- Optimizing performance
- Loading, playing, and moving clips
- Exporting clips and devices
- Recording and overdubbing MIDI
- Quantizing with grooves
- Editing pitch and note duration
- Understanding EQ and filters
- Recording real-time automation
- Looping audio
- Creating beats with Impulse
- Creating drum racks
- Introducing Max for Live