Join Daniel Mintseris for an in-depth discussion in this video Ableton Live set layout, part of Performing with Ableton Live: On Stage with St. Vincent (Preview).
A lot of today's music is first and foremost a studio creation. It can feature sequenced synthesizers, electronic or heavily processed live drums, complex audio effects and textures. There could be a huge variety of guitar sounds and layers and layers of overdubs. When the time comes to perform the music live with a compact group of musicians, reproducing all of that wonderful stuff with nuance and musicality could be a real task. The good thing is, today's software is up to the challenge. My platform of choice for many years now has been Ableton Live.
It offers unrivaled stability and efficiency, as well as a lot of versatility. One of its innovations is session view that we see here. Using session view is a good way to have a visual representation of the entire show at a glance. In this basic setup each row, called a scene, represents one song. And each of the clips in a scene contains MIDI or audio elements for that song. The columns are MIDI on audio tracks, routed accordingly. Your track setup should be dictated by the contents of the music, and your on stage needs. I'll start with a click.
That's what will help keep the band in sync with the computer. Notice I have two click tracks here which is a bit of a luxury. Click luxury, if there's such a thing. Next I have a recorded count off for extra clarity at the top of the song. One, two, three, four. And I have a track for starting pitch reference in case the vocalist needs to come in right at the beginning. >> So, that takes care of always keeping the band and the computer on the same page. The next four tracks contain all the softer instruments that are being played live in the show. Either by Neon Keys or by the drummer via drum triggers and pads.
You'll need separate tracks for each of your midi controllers. So in my case this is my main keyboard controller the PCR 500 by Eddera.l And this is a foot pedal control called 12 Step by Keith McMillan Instruments and for the drums I have midi coming in from a pair of trigger to midi converters that turn the drum set into a midi controller from across the stage. With all the drum sounds being generated here in Ableton. When you click on these title bars, you'll see that all the instruments are organized by song in an instrument rack. Same here for the 12th step.
And same in the drum track. These three tracks are for automated program changes that control any external media devices you have on stage. Here, I have clips that sent program changes to a remote voyager, and two MIDI controllable guitar rigs. Finally, if you need to include pre-recorded tracks to supply whatever's beyond the realm of possibility for the live musicians, you can add those elements here. So, you'll organize your material according to what I have. But here, I have a couple of electronic percussion. >> Some effects.
Additional synth and keyboard parts and vocals >> I made up some silly song names in the master track here. >> I'm sure yours are much better. >> In the next few chapters we'll build the set step-by-step. I highly recommend organizing and naming your tracks logically. >> Use caps if you like. Use color, anything to help find any element instantly. With a large set like this, it will definitely pay off in the heat of battle and help keep things manageable.
We'll reveal the full course at the end of August. Enjoy this sneak peek until then!