Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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turnstylenyc
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:46 pm

Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by turnstylenyc » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:49 pm

Hi all, I'm trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs -- I mostly hope to record some keyboard, perhaps add some guitar or voice, and try to wind up with a song structure -- just for fun.

I picked Ableton because the building block approach appealed to me -- but I seem to be having trouble figuring out how exactly to get started, and I'm partly wondering if I should perhaps be using simpler software. I'm trying to reach that "ah-ha" moment in which I finally get how Live comes together.

For example, let's say you want a 12 or 16 bar loop, have it play twice, then play some other loop, then back to the first -- would you record all that in one pass? Then cut it up? Would you start off in Arrangement or Session?

I think if I could work up to one simple example with a few loops and a few tracks, that would be tremendously helpful.

Thanks kindly for any suggestions!

Logic8807
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Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2011 1:25 pm

Re: Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by Logic8807 » Sun Jun 16, 2013 4:57 pm

Everyone who replies will say read the manual...it explains it all better than any of us can. Start in session view.
https://soundcloud.com/thegraysmith/asp ... itch-remix

Check me out...let me know what ya'll think.

turnstylenyc
Posts: 99
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:46 pm

Re: Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by turnstylenyc » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:11 pm

Logic8807 wrote:Everyone who replies will say read the manual...it explains it all better than any of us can. Start in session view.
I actually enjoy reading manuals -- but at 600 pages, I'm trying to figure out where to jump in.

So to record, say, a simple blues pattern. that should start off in Session?

When you record a clip in Session, is Live automatically warping it?

Bagatell
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Location: Sierra Nevada, Spain

Re: Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by Bagatell » Sun Jun 16, 2013 5:22 pm

turnstylenyc wrote:For example, let's say you want a 12 or 16 bar loop, have it play twice, then play some other loop, then back to the first -- would you record all that in one pass? Then cut it up? Would you start off in Arrangement or Session?
I'd start it in session view. Create a four bar clip. Copy it (for the repeat). Copy again (rev, invert etc) and copy once again for bars 13-16. Set follow actions to taste.

turnstylenyc
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:46 pm

Re: Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by turnstylenyc » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:06 pm

Bagatell wrote:I'd start it in session view. Create a four bar clip. Copy it (for the repeat). Copy again (rev, invert etc) and copy once again for bars 13-16. Set follow actions to taste.
Thanks, when you say "copy it" do you mean within that one Session clip? Meaning, you play those 4 bars into a Session Clip, and then within that clip you copy it to become 8? Or are you winding up with a second 'rectangle' within the Session View?

Also, one thing I'm not quite clear on -- when I record my clip in session, I see all these markers that I believe to be warp markers -- is Ableton automatically changing the timing of what I play into it?

Bagatell
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Re: Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by Bagatell » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:17 pm

turnstylenyc wrote:Thanks, when you say "copy it" do you mean within that one Session clip? Meaning, you play those 4 bars into a Session Clip, and then within that clip you copy it to become 8? Or are you winding up with a second 'rectangle' within the Session View?
create the first clip, select it, hold down alt and drag it to the slot below. You'll end up with a stack of four clips.
turnstylenyc wrote:Also, one thing I'm not quite clear on -- when I record my clip in session, I see all these markers that I believe to be warp markers -- is Ableton automatically changing the timing of what I play into it?
Only if you quantise the clip.

turnstylenyc
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:46 pm

Re: Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by turnstylenyc » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:32 pm

Bagatell wrote:create the first clip, select it, hold down alt and drag it to the slot below. You'll end up with a stack of four clips.
Sorry, I'm not following -- alt-drag doesn't seem to do anything (fwiw, I'm using a PC) -- and ctrl-drag creates just one copy, so I'm not quite sure how you wound up with four?

Is the idea that you would then have that 4-bar segment on one row in Session, and another copy on another row -- and do you use a "trigger" to have it go from one row to the other? Or are you manually clicking "play" for each 'scene' to move it along?

Thanks -- these might seem like daft questions to you all, but it's actually very helpful hear how I should be thinking about it, thanks!

Bagatell
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Re: Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by Bagatell » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:55 pm

turnstylenyc wrote:Is the idea that you would then have that 4-bar segment on one row in Session, and another copy on another row -- and do you use a "trigger" to have it go from one row to the other? Or are you manually clicking "play" for each 'scene' to move it along?


I usually do this with MIDI clips, obviously recording audio will be different, but yes, I'd have four clips on four contigous scenes and trigger them with follow actions.
turnstylenyc wrote:Thanks -- these might seem like daft questions to you all, but it's actually very helpful hear how I should be thinking about it, thanks!
This is just what I do. It's by no means the only way.

turnstylenyc
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Re: Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by turnstylenyc » Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:07 pm

One quick question: I recorded several passes at a simple 4-bar from my audio keyboard, and then dragged the clip's in/out markers to my preferred take -- but it doesn't loop quite right.

Is the idea that I then ctrl-drag the warp markers that showed up in the clip, to tweak the timing (especially at the in point)?

Also: if I wind up liking the loop that starts at the *second* beat of a measure (ending at the second beat of the next measure) -- if I then select that in/out range, is there some way to "wrap it around" so that when it plays, it starts on the first beat? (I hope that made sense!)

Thanks!

sowhoso
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Re: Trying to use Ableton to help compose simple songs...

Post by sowhoso » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:33 pm

there are excellent tutorials within Live itself:

View > Help View

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