Session View vs. Arrangement?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by Mulberry9 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:27 am

I am a beginner, and am having a very hard time trying to learn this program, given extremely limited information in the user manual about how to actually do anything. I mean the details; I don't know what ANYTHING in this program does. I try to learn by reading what others are doing, and watching tutorials, but it's all over my head at the first acronym, unknown lingo or a guy speeding through something without showing what he's clicking on. I've had the program (9 Intro) for a few months now and have absolutely no idea what I'm doing.
Case in point:
I really don't understand the relationship between session view and arrangement view. Are they not linked? Why do I have to copy from Session view and paste into Arrangement? I just want to compose songs - not DJ, no dance music. Just.... songs. How do I do that? Should I start in Arrangement view? How do you make tracks?? Also I can't find any string instruments - everything is apparently for DJ's, not as advertised "you can do anything" - no, I can't, and while there are about 30 cowbell sounds, there is not a single frickin violin. FRUSTRATED. Ideas from kind, patient people?

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by Tarekith » Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:47 am

I recommend you spend a little bit watching these:

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by Nokatus » Thu Mar 08, 2018 2:50 pm

You have a long road ahead of you. And I mean LONG. :) If you're literally starting from zero, not knowing what the terms mean and how to do things, keep in mind that you aren't only learning Live; you are learning the methodology of producing songs. It's okay that it will take time, and you shouldn't feel angry/frustrated if it feels slow at first.

So, instead of just Live, you're looking at... How do different music/audio tools operate, generally speaking? How does one go about constructing and mixing a song with tools like that? How do the different features combine into a whole, in a practical situation? When to use something and when not to use it?

My 2c, watch the material Tarekith linked, it's very good. (Don't forget the "See all" links, hehe). And no need to feel stressed out; just watch it first in a relaxed manner, not like you have to know every detail in Live that you see in that stuff. Try to get a general idea first, what is happening and why, and what does it sound like. Don't worry about the instruments in those videos not being what you might want to use in your own music; the principles of operating tools like this are quite universal. If you want to go for the long haul, specifically producing material with high quality acoustic sounding virtual instruments, also check out the 3rd party sampler called Kontakt -- but again, before you do that, just chill and pick up the basics and a general idea for this. It really is a combination of so many things, people who are well versed in it can easily forget how much there is to take in when starting out.
Last edited by Nokatus on Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by Nokatus » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:13 pm

Also (sorry if this is too obvious :) ) google for stuff like "basics of music production", glossary of music production terms, and so on. And progress from there by focusing more and more into the kind of material you want to make, and the specific techniques used in that.

This is jumping too far ahead, but you did mention the violin, so here's Daniel James checking out the (3rd party, Kontakt based) Embertone Friedlander Solo Violin in Ableton Live: ... This example just for the purpose of absorbing the general jist of things, not for trying to pick up all techniques and details from that. [Edit: it seems his system is glitching slightly when playing it the first time through xD, don't mind that, the gaps aren't supposed to be there, haha]

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by dna598 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 6:24 pm


Just learn to record tracks in the arrangement view. This is the traditional way of recording, similar to most other daws.

The session view is for playing clips. You can record these clips into the arrangment view in real time. But I wouldn't worry about all that. Sounds like you just want to lay out a song, unless i'm mistaken.

Try typing "violin" into the search bar, and click the "sounds" folder. Drag in any of the violin.adg files into the arrangement. You will then have made a MIDI track ready to record into the arrangment.

Good luck!
ctrl + left/right = select transient

ctrl + shift + left/right = select between transients

ctrl + space = play selection

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by TheWholeDamnZoo » Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:20 pm

First of all, for what you want to do the answer is yes, you should start in arrangement view and not worry too much about session view.

Second, Live has one of the best and most comprehensive manuals out there. I really don't understand your complaints on this front.

Third, go to the help menu and click "help view". Then go through the different tours and lessons. It's a great way to get oriented to Live.

Once you've done that, I highly recommend checking out the Cymatics YouTube channel and going through their Live tutorials. And I would also recommend joining their production platform, You get a free 30 day trial and then it's $15/month and worth every penny and much more. They have tons of great Live courses and tutorials, as well as genre-specific production courses and a great comprehensive course on Serum if you end up getting into it.

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by kb420 » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:35 pm

Everything you need is actually in the manual, but if you would like to watch some instructional videos, I can recommend Groove 3. They have a great set of tutorials for just about every DAW out there.

The best advice I can give you is to be patient. There is MUCH to learn.
H20nly wrote:fuck Bitwig.

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by jlgrimes » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:36 pm

Session View is more for trying out different song ideas, sections. It definitely helps if you want to create a B or C section of your song and you can switch between the two using scenes.

Arrange View is more for a linear workflow. It is best for fine tuning arrangement doing transitions and punching in.

Ideally all songs should end up in Arrangement, but usually it can be more fun creating in Session as it makes it easier for trying out uncommitted ideas.

Yes session View and arrange are very well connected and related and it pays to know how early.

Session scene/clip changes can be recorded in Arrangement which can create an organic way of Arranging your song.

Read up on this some and there are probably some YouTube videos that go in-depth on this.

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by jeturcotte » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:29 pm

So... I'm new; I'm presently trying to turn what I found was a less dissonant cacaphony in session view into a building of sequences in arrangement view... BUT, I'm not doing something right as when I play (even in a loop block on the arrangement/score) it's playing ALL the instruments and not just those in the loop... as if it were still in session mode.

What little button haven't I pressed?

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by jestermgee » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:58 pm

Back To Arrangement (BTA) button

It's also in Session view, hidden on the master channel where no one notices it.

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Re: Session View vs. Arrangement?

Post by jeturcotte » Thu Sep 06, 2018 11:29 am

Niiiiiice; thank you.

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