Is Session View counterproductive?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by mholloway » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:54 am

I've though a lot about this issue, too. To quickly answer the last part -- "what's session view for?" -- I'll just state the obvious cop-out answer that is nonetheless imo accurate: it's for whatever you want it to be for, whatever works for you.

For me, that is absolutely composition of new material. But, I agree with you that it is difficult, daunting and yes, often boring, to have to eventually "re-write" (though really, more accurately, re-arrange) your song in arrangement view, this being usually hours and hours into the songwriting process, when you've already heard your song pieces a zillion times and kinda just want to be DONE with the thing.

But honestly, this is a problem that only exists because of all the positives that session view introduces in the first place. Creating and perfecting the individual chunks of a song has never been faster and more fun than when using session view; the later-on effect of feeling daunted and bored by arrangement is just the inevitable price you pay for having such a cool, efficient tool available to you in the first place. Ultimately, it's not in the least counter-productive because if I try to start writing songs solely in arrangement (or in any other DAW, for that matter) it takes far, far longer (and is less fun) to get the kind of work done that I can get done in session view much more rapidly and in a much more fun manner. So, if you add together session view composition time with the time it takes arranging those session scenes, I think the total time isn't so different than how long it would take to compose a song of the same quality in a traditional arrangement sequencer, because even though that process is one sequencing process versus two, it's a much slower process overall.

At the end of the day, the fault lies not in Ableton for providing 2 methods instead of 1, but on the user, for not being more disciplined in creating a workflow that *knows when to start arranging and stop sequencing new loops in session view*. It's a tricky thing, I know that from experience as well as anyone, but it can be improved upon by the user. You sort of develop this sixth sense that kicks in and says "stop writing new scenes; this shit is ready to be thrown over into arrangement, tweaked, transitions adjusted, and bam, done."

If such a discipline isn't created on the user end, then yeah, loop-itis or whatever that article calls it will totally set in, and nothing gets done. But it's pretty silly to blame this on the sequencer, which is simply providing incredibly efficient and effective tools for getting work done; the user, obviously, has to take on full responsibility for their project and ultimately, their ability to create a finished product out of it.

Last edited by mholloway on Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by mihai » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:02 am

i don't find it to be counterproductive at all since one can just as easily get stuck in looping the same 8 bars over and over.
though in session i find it easier and quicker to lay down a rough draft of ideas which can later be chiseled to a finished product.
since everything makes a psychological impact on the user i suppose it's different for everyone, at least in the beginning, but then
it's just a matter of finding an efficient way around that or moving on to something else.

what mholloway said.

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by simmerdown » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:07 am

you dont drag/bring it into arrangement

you play it in

never boring, imo this is the essence of Live

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by muthafunka » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:15 am

Session View? That's for seeing the mixer right?

Sorry to be a bit OT've got a completed arrangement in Arrange and you need to see what's happening with faders, automation etc as it plays back but you can't unless you go to Session View. Am I missing something or am I just supposed to imagine what's happening in the arrangement when I want to work on the mix or vice versa?

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by nathannn » Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:54 am

you can drag or record it into arrange.
when im really set on a track i just drag everything into arrange, it takes less time than recording clips.
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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by oddstep » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:34 am

It takes more discipline to switch from unstructured jams in session to linear arrangements than it does in other daws. That's because linear daws are more like music notation crossed with a tape deck, whilst Live is an instrument. If i compare tracks i finish with Live to tracks I've finished with a guitar... The ratio of incomplete chord progressions and riffs to finished arrangements is probably even worse than it is with Live. Cubase etc have a focus on composition that Live doesn't have.

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by shuutobi » Wed Feb 01, 2012 8:44 am

If you note one thing about Tom Cosm's workflow, you'll see he produces in arrangement view, and then chops it up for session mode, for performance use. (Creating in arrangement pt1) (Creating in arrangement pt2) (Transitioning from arrangement to session)

It's the most logical route IMO. Of course there are no rules.

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by Pasha » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:09 am

Converserly. Session View is as productive and creative as you are when composing.
It's not an 'assembly line' for clips. For me it's the essential part of my song composition.
It's kind of Magic the way it makes me discover new ideas, often on the fly. A song for me stays
in Session for months before it goes into Arrangement for refining. During that period ideas
that were layed down go through various phases before becoming the last one.
An example is that when I create a drum pattern (when not using pre built ones) it takes
a little time to create several variations at once. Moreover when laying over the Bass guitar part
I usually play for as long as I am tired in one big clip. Later I divide it into variations and
then I found what works best. Ideas arose when putting together a very draft baseline of the song
so that I can unravel the sequence of scenes using launchpad and try to perform live what I have
recorded a minute before or weeks ago. That's good. I love it.

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by dna598 » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:19 am

Session view rules, and is utterly productive.

For creating transitions, that you never even thought of, be it fills or whole new sections. This is what it does that is so wonderful.

For a start, map the back to arrangement button to a key, so you can jump back when playing in and recording new scenes.
ctrl + left/right = select transient

ctrl + shift + left/right = select between transients

ctrl + space = play selection

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by Forge. » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:32 am

levimoniz wrote: It seems to me that although it lets you put things together really quickly, trying to compose something from scratch within Session View tends to cause me to neglect progressions and sections.
use scenes more?

I've never understood people who use Live but don't like the session view..... I thought that was the whole point, otherwise you could use Logic etc...

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by Serra » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:47 am

record many ideas freely there, including takes that may serve as transitions, build the options to experiment in arrangement

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by crumhorn » Wed Feb 01, 2012 11:47 am

For me the session view is invaluable. I like to create many alternative versions of a line by jamming over a loop then selecting the best bits.

I'll probably end up with a dozen different versions that I can try against the arrangement and mix and match as required to create the final result.
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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by carrieres » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:26 pm

very interesting, it's all about discipline at the end :oops:
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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by pepezabala » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:31 pm

After I got Live (this was with version 3) I got lost in session view for around two years and didn't finish any track. But I used it for various live-projects.

I got totally addicted to noodling around, exploring devices, getting hipnotized by strange stuff I did by unlocking clip-envelopes etc.

Before I had been working with Sonic Foundry Acid, and each project was aimed for a final render and having a finished audio track. I did make playback tracks that I would record onto a minidisc-player and use during performance. No tweaking or mixing possible in live-situations (but I performed singing and playing real instruments, some efx-boxes and drumcomputers).

Only after two years of Live-(ab)use I got nervous, because I hadn't finished anything, but had hundreds of projects with a couple of clips and scenes.

Still today we have a whole lot of stuff we do live from session view and have never finished in arrangement.

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Re: Is Session View counterproductive?

Post by xzusa8ky » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:03 pm

simmerdown wrote:you dont drag/bring it into arrangement

you play it in

never boring, imo this is the essence of Live
Thats right! Play live into the Live arrangement and you will see that it just flows in minutes! Funny that some of the old users with 5000+ post couldnt answer this better, seem like they are doing the wrong things to get a fast workflow. Program the clips to be triggered from a midikeyboard, set the follow actions, set the trigger options, and make different combinations. Then trigger the parts you just did into the arrangement view while recording and viola you will be remixing in no time into the arrangement view in a way you couldnt do with just the mouse!

Have fun and think logical! Live is for fast working! No need for old fashion work here!

Remeber! If its boring you do something wrong! 8)
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