Variations, transitions.. keeping things interesting?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Toob
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Joined: Fri Dec 21, 2007 2:15 pm

Variations, transitions.. keeping things interesting?

Post by Toob » Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:12 pm

Hi there..

let's get to the point very quickly. I'm having difficulties with keeping tracks interesting. In other words.. creating variations, transitions etc. The problem with Live is, when I'm creating something in the session view, that I spent a lot of time creating a nice loop which I'm completely satisfied with, but the troubles start when I'm moving to the arrangement view. It sounds really static and everything is looping. Of course you could easily say: create a lot of patterns, but I was wondering how you guys deal with this issue. Personally I'm producing (minimal) techno, but I guess this issue is present with other genres too.

Thank you!

Tone Deft
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Post by Tone Deft » Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:22 pm

something that might help...

hit record on arrange view then go back to session view and tweak out with your freak on, click on scenes and clips, have fun. then after a bit playback the arrange view recording and pick out the breaks.
"Obsession is a great substitute for talent." - Steve Martin on learning the banjo

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4.33
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Post by 4.33 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:36 pm

here's a quote from somebody's interview i don't remember, but I'd swear by this phrase:

"The excitement in music comes from variation in rhythm, timbre, pitch and loudness. If you hold one of those constant, it can seem monotonous."

maybe you could try composing in the arrangement view, just to break out of the "loop" routine and only then cut some loops and mess them up in session...

Homebelly
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Post by Homebelly » Sun Mar 02, 2008 6:39 pm

back in the day i could play the hell out of blues changes.
One of my attractions to electronica/computer music is that these standard progressions and changes don't need to apply as you aren't always having to communicate and share space with three or four other "Musicians". To this end live has become indispensable as an arrangement tool for me.

The obvious way of working out an arrangement in live is to use the scene launch buttons in the master column,, this way you can arrange the clips you want to have running together in a section in the same scene and then trigger them all at once with one button push.
I've used this method to build a very rough idea of where i want to go and have then copied these sections and added variations to them by dragging them to the point in the master channel where i want them to be triggered and adding other clips, automation in the clip or taking clips out. This way i build up a vertical arrangement of the song that i can then trigger one scene at a time.
The problem with this method is that it kinda-sorta bypasses lives performance aspect.
to this end i have more recently been experimenting with coloring clips into groups and then assigning these groups to keys on my controller or computer keyboard and then trigger them in a more improvisational way. This method has a lot more freedom,, add a controller with lots of knobs and sliders mapped to various functions in side live such as the pitch of a clip, the loop length, the sends and returns and the macro controls of any racks i have built and the arrangement/performance possibilities become wide open.
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SimonPHC
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Post by SimonPHC » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:11 pm

One of the things that makes old synth music, made with outboard gear, especially analogue gears, so interesting to listen to is their imperfections.

what you need to do is create evolving subtle changes in timbre, composition, etc.
this can be done in a studio environment, going over every detail...

OR

it can be done by putting a subtle phaser over a sound, or using the random function in the Velocity midi effect (make sure you assign something to velocity). and combinations of these in chains...

you need to give up 'some' control over what's happening, but the result can be very very rewarding.

EDIT: and listening to Rhythm & Sound helps too :D

thecoloursound
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Post by thecoloursound » Sun Mar 02, 2008 9:54 pm

BIG fan of the random function here ...

that, and alternating the arpeggios (using random can do some of that for you). also, just stopping (i.e. inserting breaks) when you wouldn't expect it happen. just don't limit yourself: make an effort to try something that sounds completely stupid.
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The Phat Conductor
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Post by The Phat Conductor » Sun Mar 02, 2008 10:31 pm

i find the simplest way to make transitions is to alter the length of the midi clips of your parts. maybe your 2 bar bassline suddenly becomes half a bar before expanding again a section later, maybe your drum break is only half a bar for the first two sections before expanding itself later, that kind of thing.

then you can do the 'superloop' writing method but still keep things interesting when you're sequencing.

also: listen to modeselektor. they really know how to make the most of their parts arrangement wise. simple simple, but rarely boring. dope shit indeed.
ill gates aka the phat conductor
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djadonis206
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Re: Variations, transitions.. keeping things interesting?

Post by djadonis206 » Sun Mar 02, 2008 11:41 pm

Toob wrote:Hi there..

let's get to the point very quickly. I'm having difficulties with keeping tracks interesting. In other words.. creating variations, transitions etc. The problem with Live is, when I'm creating something in the session view, that I spent a lot of time creating a nice loop which I'm completely satisfied with, but the troubles start when I'm moving to the arrangement view. It sounds really static and everything is looping. Of course you could easily say: create a lot of patterns, but I was wondering how you guys deal with this issue. Personally I'm producing (minimal) techno, but I guess this issue is present with other genres too.

Thank you!
You do know you answered your own question right?

consider a main riff or something that is the main theme of your song - tease that in and out and at about 2/3 into your song bust out the main solo mega riff
Ableton | Elektron

Music

pepezabala
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Post by pepezabala » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:34 am

lately I found that more silence makes more interesting. Instead of adding elements delete some elements here and there.

The Phat Conductor
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:30 pm

Post by The Phat Conductor » Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:51 pm

pepezabala wrote:lately I found that more silence makes more interesting. Instead of adding elements delete some elements here and there.
+1
ill gates aka the phat conductor
producer, performer + ableton/music teacher

http://www.illgates.com

SimonPHC
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Joined: Sat Dec 18, 2004 4:59 pm
Location: Ghent, Belgium

Post by SimonPHC » Mon Mar 03, 2008 3:56 pm

The Phat Conductor wrote:
pepezabala wrote:lately _ found ____ more silence makes ____ ___________. _____________ some elements here and there.
+1
or removing information, so something new is being commmunicated

ghast
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Location: Gainesville, Florida

Post by ghast » Mon Mar 03, 2008 7:42 pm

Tone Deft wrote: tweak out with your freak on
Hahahahaha! ok, I wrote that down on a post it note, and put it in the dead spot between my monitors. Perhaps this should be my new mantra.

ethios4
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Post by ethios4 » Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:55 pm

I tend to approach variations mathematically. For example, if I have a 32 bar loop, I'll first make a drum fill at bar 16 and 32. Then I'll make a smaller variation at bar 8 and 24. Then I'll make a smaller variation at bars 4, 12, 20, and 28. This mimics the natural phrasing of a lot of music, and is a good starting point for me. Of course, there are other patterns, but this is the most basic one.

Moody
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Post by Moody » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:30 pm

Suttle changes with space to allow them to develop with the ocasional kill some ears feebback loops. :lol:
Ableton’s engineers are hard
at work developing code that will allow our software to predict the future, but we don’t
anticipate having this available until at least the next major release.

mr.adl
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Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:02 pm

Post by mr.adl » Mon Mar 03, 2008 10:38 pm

Watch this Video and learn about the "Follow Action" thing in Live. This feature is great for doing variations you´d never thought of yourselfe:

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2008/02/0 ... /#comments

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