Ableton Essential Exercises Level 4: Simple Tips for Basslines | STRANJAH | Skillshare

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Ableton Essential Exercises Level 4: Simple Tips for Basslines

teacher avatar STRANJAH, Music Producer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (41m)
    • 1. Level 4 Introduction

    • 2. Lesson 1: The Right Octave

    • 3. Lesson 2: How to Write Long Notes

    • 4. Lesson 3A: How to Change Notes

    • 5. Lesson 3B: Transposing Your Bassline

    • 6. Lesson 4A: How to Write Short Notes - 1/4 Notes

    • 7. Lesson 4B: How to Write Short Notes - 1/8th Notes

    • 8. Lesson 4C: Dotted 1/4 Notes

    • 9. Lesson 4D: Dotted 1/8th Notes

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About This Class

In this beginners class you will learn simply techniques to start writing catchy basslines.  This class is based around Drum and Bass, however you can apply it to other genres.  Download the class project to follow along.

Meet Your Teacher

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Music Producer


Hello, I'm Stranjah and I am a music production instructor!  Through my 20 years of producing music for international labels such as Hospital Records and Metalheadz, I bring a wealth of knowledge and insight to students who wish to learn music production but are having a challenge getting started.  I have been teaching for almost as long as I've been making music.  I started by teaching friends and colleagues, and later evolved to teaching professionally in group and 1 to 1 classes.  My teaching style is direct with a simple step-by-step approach, ensuring that students can follow along and progress.

Feel free to drop me a message if you have any questions!

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Related Skills

Music Creative Bassline

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1. Level 4 Introduction: Hi, my name is stranger. Welcome to my Ableton essential exercises, level 4. In this level I'll be showing you simple tips that you can start applying to writing baselines. If you're a beginner who wants to learn how to easily write baselines that make sure you attend this class. This class is meant for drum and bass. However, you can experiment and try this with other genres. Be sure to download the accompanying project file so you can follow along. All right, I'll see you at the first lesson. 2. Lesson 1: The Right Octave: Essentially exercising simple techniques for baselines. Welcome to Lesson 1, finding the notes to write a baseline. So the first step to writing a baseline is finding the right Octave for your instrument. Now this may differ depending on the instrument you're using, some using lives instrument analog and have a filtered square base here. And when you want to do is find an octave where I didn't note vibrates. There's almost this a rumbling sound to it. And that's called the sub base. So if your plan too high, then you're not gonna get the rumble. So currently this one is at C2. Now, although assess clear and round, we're not getting those sub bass frequencies that rumble a sound system or a subwoofer. So let's try bringing it down to C one. Okay, Let's hear that. And that's getting closer. However, let's explore and go further down and see what happens. Now that's too low. So what I found with bass sounds is there is a sweet spot in terms of that rumbling sub bass frequency, I find the lowest you can go is usually around the 0. Now again, just depends on your instrument. It may be D14 your instruments. So just experiment and find the right Octave for you. That tends to be the lowest most sound systems can go where you still feel it and there's still some kind of audible frequency. Usually the highest I will go is a 0. Now it's all about finding a starting point where you can go up and down the scale to write a baseline melody where the average of the notes is within this range between DC to AC. So a lot of the times I'll write my truck at the key of F because that gives me enough range to move up to, let say AZO or I can still move down and have a lot of options going up or down, keeping the sub bass frequency vibrating and rumbling. So what I would do for this exercise is play around with a long note here and find some notes that you like. Find what gives you that sub bass frequency. And I would experiment with different bass sounds, able to encounter a bunch of stock-based sense. If you go on the browser, select sounds and go under base, then you can put any one of these. You could pull it over and then experiment and see what happens here. So for this instrument, Let's see. So this one is also around C or Octave 0 is where we got the crate sub bass frequencies. So go ahead and experiment with the different bass sounds and get comfortable with finding the right Octave for your bass sound. 3. Lesson 2: How to Write Long Notes: Able to essentially exercising simple techniques for baselines. Welcome to Lesson 2, writing long notes for baselines. So to type up bass sounds that are recommended for writing longer notes could be the square base that we had earlier. Or 3D spaces such as this one. Also Walpole bases are great sense to write longer notes. More and more and more and more and more and more and more. Experiment and find different base says that you can write long notes with. So going back to our filter square based on heres I long base. Now that's here over a beat so that we can hear it in context. Alright, that's sounding funky with just a typical f note running on the first beat down. Another thing that you can experiment with is the length. So this one is going for one bar, but we can extend this and make this a two-bar pattern, and then make this two bars. So by making the base out to bars, you let the base of ride out a bit so you get a different vibe. So the length of the base is important. That's fair. Make it four bars. Four bars also works. The basic kinda trickles out at the end. And that might be an opportunity for you to add another note at the end, or a completely different base set. So those are different options that are available. Now let's bring up doc to just two bars now on top of the length. And next thing you can play with is the position. So you can syncopated and make it off beat so you can place a 1 eighth note over like this. A very common position is over here, so this will be a quarter note delayed. This has a very funky vibe because a hits the same time as the snare. So there's this almost downbeat before it hits, and it's very nice way to make something dancing. We can further explore. This position is also great because it almost adds a bit of element of surprise because you're expecting the base to hit, but there comes a bit later. Let's go further. This is also a fun position because you allow ample space here to introduce another note or a different base sound. So this is important in drama base, we use different type of base sounds to create a sequence or try one more. As it gets seen, there's endless possibilities here. You can just experiment and find what you vibe with. I encourage you guys to explore different positions. But the long note, now there's one more trick we can do with the long nose and just kept bringing us back over here, which is pitch bending. So depending on your instrument, you may have to set the pitch bend, a mound. So with analog, There's a pitch bend range here. It's at two semitones, which means when you use your pitch wheel, whether you go up or down, it's going to move by two semitones. Now this depends on your synth. You'll have to look around to find your pitch bend range. Sometimes it's called the pitch bend amount. But what that relates to is if you go into your envelope section and then choose many controls and N choose pitch bend up here. You can then add points to control the pitch bend. So start with a point here at the beginning of the note and then add another note. For example, we can go up like that. We can go back into the instrument and control how much does a pitch up? So maybe let's try seven notes up. We can also try pitch bending down. Let's go back and change it back to Sunday tones and a pitch bend range. And you can play with when the PECC band starts, the wood can start it later. So a common position is start binding it halfway. Or try pitch bending up halfway. Try other positions. Start here. Going back into the nitty, we can make this a four-bar pattern. Just click on the duplicate function and the parameter a section here and then go back into the midi section. We could alternate gone down. And so lots of options here to start writing baselines. Let's again try playing with different lengths of the base line. The idea here is to write long notes, but in variant links, one bar, two bar, four bars, and try different positions. And then try playing with pitch bending. Denote. 4. Lesson 3A: How to Change Notes: Essentially exercising simple techniques for baselines. All right, welcome to Lesson 3. How do you change notes to write a baseline? So to learn how to change the notes and you first have to know what is a scale. A scale is a group of notes that sound well together, although there are hundreds of different scales, in terms of pop music or poplar music really comes down to two main scales. There's the major and minor and major send more happy and minor sound, more melodramatic or even sad. Sometimes we call it attitude, it sends moodier. So your major scales is like the DO, RE, MI, FA, SO LA, TI DO with, if you play from C, just go up the white keys. So that would be your major scale. Now, a trick to play a minor scale as certain keys would be documented to make it sound more melodramatic. But a quick way to find the minor scale is to play the white keys. Instead of starting a sea, start at a and play the white keys going up. And that's called a minor. So C major is this. Every major scale has a relative minor, which means both scales contained a same keys. So C major's relative minor is a minor because they all use the white keys. And that's the easiest scale to learn because you only have to use the white keys to find a melody. So if you have live 11, There's a trick here where you can hide all the unnecessary notes in the scale. So if you hit on the scale button here and then hit scale over here at hides, all the unnecessary nodes. So right now we're looking at C major, so it's hidden all the black notes. If we go to a and then choose minor. So now it hides out to pluck notes similarly, and I typically write drum and bass in minor scales. Again, it has a more of a melodramatic or even moodier vibe. And thus the kind of vibe I go for, however, you're more than welcome to try the major scales is really depends on your personal preference. But just for this session, I'm going to use the a minor. So I'm going to start with the key of a, where you're going to make this a four bar pattern. And we're still using the long bass notes here. So each note is one bar long. So one simple melody is to go up. Triad, a triad as a group of notes that sound well together as a core CTE, meaning you play it together at the same time. So a typical chord, or the first triad for a minor would be a, C, and E. The easiest way to identify this as, we skip every other note in the scale. So if we play this note, skip this one and go to this one. Skip this one and cook that S1. So there's a numerical identification system for this. So if you're root note as a, which is a minus because we're in a minor. This is known as number one to one node. And just count up 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and then we're back to a again. So it's 1234567, right? So the first triad is 135. We call a seventh chord adding this node, because that's the seventh key and the scale. Right? Let's write a baseline. And what we're gonna do is we're going to use the one bar note and then change denote going up the triad so we can go up to the third and the fifth. Remember, the first triad is made of the first third fifth note, so to scale. And then maybe we can conduct down to see here, let's play our baseline. Very simple melody and you can play with this. You can maybe make this note over here and shortness note. There are so many possibilities you're just going to explore and experiment until you find a baseline your leg. We can augment this note, maybe bring it down to the second. Let's try bringing this up. Let's try bringing it up further. That reminds me of an old jungle song. So now you can start writing baselines with melodic note changes. And this gives you a lot more power to increase the vibe because now you can change notes in your baseline. 5. Lesson 3B: Transposing Your Bassline: Now one trick, if you're just starting out, then learn to write using the a minor scale because it's so easy to find different baselines simply by moving it up to scale or down to scale along the white keys. Now if you want to try other scales, you could just, if you have live 11, change to key here, maybe go down to F. And now you can use all of these notes. So F minor contains all these black notes as well. So keep that in mind if you're, gotta use other scales that it may include the black notes. Now, if you don't have live 11, simple way, if you're learning as just stick to a minor until you're comfortable writing baselines in this scale and lets you find a baseline. You can turn off the fold function here so you see all the notes. And then you can take your baseline. So this baseline sounds good, but maybe it doesn't have those rumbling frequencies because we're up at a, we're going up to b and G1 and even C1. So those higher notes has less the rumbling of frequencies. So we can take the entire sequence and then shift it down until you find a sweet spot where all of the notes can kind of set with enough kind of sub bass power so we can bring it down. And at this trait g, Let's try bring it further down. Let's try f. Let's try going to E. Let's go down to the lowest we can go, which is the 0. Now how do you find a note you're gonna kinda set at? So at this really comes down to personal preference. So first finding the notes could sit well in a range with enough sub bass frequency, and then finding it, finding the one that has the right vibe for you. So different bass sounds will sound different depending on the note. So it's really a balance here of finding what sounds good and has the right amount of sub bass power. Typically, I write my bass notes around F because this gives me a range to go up and down between d and a. So I have enough room that my bass sense will still have enough rumble if I were to go up or down to scale. All right, so that's enough information in terms of writing long notes, I encourage you guys to. Explore writing. Baselines. Changing denotes learning how to use a scale function. Or if you don't have it, then just stick to a minor or C major, which are the white keys, and find baseline melodies or that work for you. Now I also encourage you to explore different note positions and links. Another popular pattern is just making this note longer, removing the fourth note. Or we can even make this half as long, right? Right. And we'd have to duplicate this. There are so many possibilities. You're just gonna have to explore, learned a basic techniques here, and then start reading your own baselines. Now just one note about this baseline that we wrote just now. Sometimes when you're writing down and us 0 range, It's hard to hear the audible harmonics that create the naledi. So it's helpful to then bring it up a couple octaves. So then you can hear the actual melody. And just by hearing doesn't melody, I can hear that the notes here can be brought down one semitone like this. Now actually, now that I've brought this note down, now we're actually in a major because this sharp key belongs to a major and we wouldn't have been able to find us if the scale function was turned on because that note would happen to hidden in the scale. So it's important to review your baseline, bring it up a couple octaves, listen to it, doesn't make sense. And as our example, et cetera, like bringing this down, actually works better and we're actually in a major and a minor. So keep that in mind. And that's sending much sweeter. Now, let's hear a couple of partners now. A couple of notes down. All right, we're on our way through writing some awesome Django baselines. 6. Lesson 4A: How to Write Short Notes - 1/4 Notes: Able to essentially exercising simple techniques for baselines. All right, welcome to the lesson for writing short or notes. So we're going to start with quarter notes. So just use the Quantize section and choose quarter notes and simply ranked and notes over. And now we have a quarter note baseline. Now, I shortened the decay on this bass sound to fit the shorter notes so I don't round 600 milliseconds from more of a staccato bass sound. So the distance, the quarter note pattern now has more of a bouncy pattern. So writing baseline. So if this is similar as the long notes, it's finding notes that work into scale. So for example, we get, shift this up, maybe go up further the scale. So we have to 1D, one 35 again. Now I'm using F-major this time, so that sounds a bit happier. I'm going to just turn off the scale function for a moment. Another poplar Note pattern is playing adjacent or chromatic notes, which is poplar and drum and bass. So for example, we can just go up one note here, so it doesn't really belong to a scale or just moving up chromatically. And it gives us that kinda more edgy attitude and drum and bass. Or we can go up like this every half bar. Roe can go the opposite way. So neat trick we can do is just reverse it and using the reverse function up here. So again, this is chromatic and I'm just going down a scaling. Who remembers this melody? Of course, it's DJ crus warhead. So learning how to write notes chromatically as a very important tool, and drum and bass as well. And you can use this with a long note pattern as well. And depends how far up and down the scale you want. You can limit it to just two adjacent notes, or three or four, so it's up to you and divide you want, sometimes we can even just switched to the last note, right? So let's go back to the F key. Right? As a poplar melody they use just going chromatically, doesn't belong to a particular scale, but has that core gentleman, basic vibe, ls. Try exploring the baseline a bit further again, let's go a little more melodic. So let's fault the scale. Let's try going up. Right? So you can see it's really easy to then find a cool baseline just by exploring different notes. And the possibilities are endless here. So you're really just going to have to practice the basic skills of writing these quarter notes and exploring notes until you find a cool melody. Now, we can play with extending notes. For example, we can make this longer, make this one law. So lots of possibilities here. So practice to quarter notes. 7. Lesson 4B: How to Write Short Notes - 1/8th Notes: All right, so now we're going to practice the eighth notes, which is half as short. So just make sure you're in the eighth note grid and just write their notes across. So desktop the pattern has a lot more energy. And once again, the rules are the same. You can explore different notes. We can try chromatically again. Are up like that. The note strategy is just the same. It's just only that the links are different. You have shorter notes from our energy. Let's turn on this scale. So lots of options, sometimes even just playing one note as fine depending on the track, you may want to keep it less melodic. So remember, that's always an option. If that's a little too monotonous for you, then play with writing baselines. And of course you can combine, for example, make too long notes like that. Or like this. Remember there's no rules here. It's more just learning about basic foundations and then combining, creating your own new rhythms. 8. Lesson 4C: Dotted 1/4 Notes: Alright, so let's talk about the DOD at notes. So the first one is the dotted quarter note. So here's a quarter note here. And a dotted note simply means extending this note by 1.5. So now we have a dotted quarter note. A common pattern is then to duplicate desk to fill the bar. And then shorten the last note so it fits the exact bar. And then we have this pattern. Sometimes there we call this the fake triplet. It's found in dance hall music and was imported into drama base and jungle music is very popular pattern. Let's turn on the scale function and use a minor triad, a moving the last note to the fifth key of the scale. That's a popular melody and jumbotron and days. Let's try femur. Also really call melody. Again, possibilities are endless here. That's MQTT us a two-bar pattern. We can combine quarter notes or eighth notes here. So much you can do with this. Let's bring it back here. You can double up this last note. Try playing with these notes here. Further try fusing other patterns. Maybe add some eighth notes here. Maybe make these or a Thoughts. Lots of options here for you. 9. Lesson 4D: Dotted 1/8th Notes: All right, The last dotted pattern we'll talk about is the dotted eighth note. So here's a regular eighth note here. Again, that's extend this by 1.5. And then we can just fill in the bar by duplicating the notes. Now, since this last one has only one space left, instead of adding a last note here, we could just extend this note here. Now under US GAAP play this few notes up so you can hear it more clearly because it tends to, because we're using a more balanced he kinda base to kick me. May confuse you as to when the base is heading. So it says the dotted eighth note. Now you can play this as a two-bar pattern. So instead of keeping this note long, we keep this a dotted eighth note and continue exploring or extending the pattern all the way across. And shorn doubtless note, fill the last bar. So that's a fun pattern into play less, the more common one is just to keep it one bar like that. And you can just duplicate it like that. We can play adjacent notes chromatically again, move this up. So this pattern I've used with my friend David Lewis in one of our trucks, I believe it's called the lethal repertoire recordings. As pattern us also used a lot in what's known as flipped work gel go. Let's try playing with some naledi. Turned on the scale mode again, and let's use a minor. So that's kind of funky. I can introduce some eighth notes here. So maybe double up this note. We could shorten this note here and make this amazing though. So it's a funky stuff here. Try changing some notes here. As it gets, she has really easy to find a plugin called baseline just by practicing and exploring these basic techniques. Let's again, it's all about finding different notes, exploring different note links. We've learned the long notes, the quarter notes, the eighth notes, as well as the dotted notes. And then playing around with the actual scale. So moving up and down the scale, find a scale that works for you. And of course, finding a range that works best for your bass sound of that you get enough of those sub bass frequencies. So if you practice all these different techniques, your shirt to be on your way to writing some awesome baselines. So this concludes able to assess your exercises love of four, and I hope you guys get a lot of practice and master these basic techniques of writing baselines.