Ableton Live Zero to Hero: Beginner's guide taught by a university tutor (2022 update) | Push Patterns | Skillshare

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Ableton Live Zero to Hero: Beginner's guide taught by a university tutor (2022 update)

teacher avatar Push Patterns, Music Production School

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

23 Lessons (1h 17m)
    • 1. Welcome to the course

    • 2. Channels, clips, editor, instruments

    • 3. Arrangement and Session views

    • 4. 2022 UPDATE: Ableton Live 11 interface overview

    • 5. Choosing a drumbeat and creating a midi clip

    • 6. Creating basic drum pattern

    • 7. Creating techno/house drumbeat

    • 8. Creating trap/hip-hop drumbeat

    • 9. Adding extras to your drumbeat

    • 10. 2022 UPDATE: Ableton Live 11 Velocity and Chance

    • 11. Understanding chord sequences

    • 12. Creating your own chord sequence

    • 13. Combining chords with drumbeats

    • 14. 2022 UPDATE: Ableton Live 11 Scale feature

    • 15. Finding bass sound and adding it to midi channel

    • 16. Adding in an octave

    • 17. Changing the sounds of the instruments

    • 18. Preparing your session for the arrangement

    • 19. Organising your loops

    • 20. Creating your arrangement

    • 21. Final touches

    • 22. Exporting your song in MP3 or WAV

    • 23. You made it! Share your work

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About This Class

Ever thought of writing electronic music in Ableton Live but didn’t know where to start? Or maybe found this software too complex? We created this Zero to Hero course specifically for complete beginners like you as a gentle introduction to Ableton Live. Even though we call it gentle, it gives all essentials to kickstart your music production journey. Skip the boring stuff such as music theory and start writing your music straight away!

2022 update: We've added an overview of Ableton Live 11 and its Scale, Velocity and Chance features. 

The course is created by Craig Lowe, a Music Technology lecturer at universities across London. Using his experience and students' feedback, he created an easy-to-follow, engaging, entry-level course for Ableton Live (featuring Ableton Live 11 and 10):

  • You'll write your first song in Ableton Live, even if you have never written any music before
  • Understand Ableton Live's session and arrange views, and the main features
  • Make a drumbeat (techno, trap, house), chords and a bass line
  • Create an arrangement of your song and save it as an MP3 or WAV to share with your friends.

If you do have some experience with Ableton Live, you'll learn a creative workflow to arrange the existing ideas.

What you’ll need:

  • A working laptop or PC
  • Music software Ableton Live 11 or 10. You can download a 3-months free trial on Ableton’s official website.
  • Headphones

Level: The course is designed for beginners, but also offers tips and tricks for higher levels of skill.

Meet Your Teacher

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Push Patterns

Music Production School


The school was founded during the first lockdown in 2020 by Craig Lowe who works as a Music Technology teacher at universities across London, produces music for various artists and writes his own techno-inspired dance electronic music, and his wife Ksenia who's a pro in design and marketing. 


Your tutor Craig Lowe

"I’ve been teaching Ableton Live in universities across London over the last 5 years. Last year, I decided to create my own school with high-quality fun courses that are available to everyone. Especially now, when so many people have switched to online education.

I also have over a decade of experience as a session musician. My biggest achievement? I’ve created an Ableton Live set for a Russian artist Zemfira and... See full profile

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1. Welcome to the course: Hello and welcome to Ableton from zero to Hero. Firstly, I'd like to thank you for purchasing this course. I'm sure you're going to learn a lot of good information and have some fun along the way. I'm Craig Lowe and I'll be your tutor for this course. We're going to look at getting an overview of Ableton, constructing a drumbeat, constructing some chords and constructing a bassline. We will then look at arranging all of that into a song format so we can export as an MP3. That's it. Let's jump in and get on with it. See you on the other side. Before we get started, I'd like to introduce you to these things called Pause Points. These will pop up various points during the video lessons, and it'll be a chance for you to press pause and catch up with any of the lesson material. 2. Channels, clips, editor, instruments: In this first video, we're going to take a brief overview of the user interface in Ableton. I'm not going to show you everything that it does, just go over all the features that are the most important to us and what we will need the course. Through your further studies in Ableton, you will get to know what every single little button does as and when you need it. If you're ever interested in what all the features do, simply go down to this little icon in the bottom left hand corner. Click it and it will give you info view, you as you hover your mouse over things in Ableton, it will tell you in info view, what it does. Let's take a look at the main window Ableton is known for, and that is called Session View, and this is it. We are predominantly going to be working within this view in this course. You have four channels in the middle round here. Two of which are MIDI and two of which are audio. MIDI is used to control and play sounds and instruments that already live inside Ableton. Audio is for when we need to record say an instrument or a voice into a computer. We can also use an audio channel to play pre-recorded audio loops. But this course, we will be dealing with only MIDI, therefore only controlling sounds and instruments already stored within Ableton. But don't worry, you won't need to record anything into Ableton just yet. You can worry about that at a later date. This area here Is essentially used to play loops of music. Which are called clips, and in this course, we will be looking at creating our own. Here are some, I made earlier. We can control each of these clips independently by pressing the play button here. As you can see, although I play them independently, they all stay in sync with each other. As well as being able to control them independently, what we can do is we can use a thing over here called a S cene, which lives on our master channel. In a Scene, you have a play button. And this will play all the clips that live in this highlighted line here. As you can see, I have four clips. And I just demonstrated playing them individually by clicking on their individual play buttons. Now, if I want to play all at the same time. I can simply press this play button here. This could be used for a section of a song, and it's a great way to play, jam and brainstorm ideas. We can also control how fast these clips are played by adjusting the tempo up here. At the moment it is set to 90 beats per minute, I can click and type of fast speed or slower speed. I can fine-tune the tempo by clicking and scrolling up. Scrolling down. It's calling up will increase the tempo, scrolling down will decrease the tempo. If I Double-Click in a clip space here You will notice this window down here appears. This is the area that shows what is contained within the clip. This is an audio clip, and this is the audio file that lives inside. If we double click on a clip This window will open, which looks very different to audio. This is called the MIDI note editor. Whereas I like to refer to it as the clip editor. I click up here, I can scroll to expand the area. Scroll down here. To see these red squares, which are called midi notes, these notes control the sound which lives on top of the channel. And if I click to the top of the channel here. You notice this area changes, this is the instrument that lives on top of the MIDI channel, which the MIDI clip is controlling. So those MIDI notes we just saw are controlling these sounds here. That brings us nicely onto our browser window, this is where all our instruments and audio effects are stored. We can find it by clicking on this little icon here. The browser window is where all the downloaded content of Ableton, such as instruments, samples and effects are stored. They have been categorized here into different sections. Sounds drums, instruments, audio effects, MIDI effects, max for live, plug-ins, clips, samples. We will be looking at using drums and instruments for this course. I click on the drums, the menu is then expanded so I can see all the available drum kits. These are called drum racks and a drum rack contains all the drum samples that we can control with MIDI. Instruments: I click on that, it also expands the window. It is where all the MIDI instruments live that we can control as well with MIDI. I will load these into a channel - we simply click, drag on to an existing MIDI channel Or to create a new MIDI channel, we simply click and drag into an available space, which is here. 3. Arrangement and Session views: The last thing to get your head around in Ableton is that there are two views. One is called Session View. And this is what we're looking at right now. The other one is called Arrange View. We can toggle between these two views by selecting these icons up here. We click on the top one to see Arrange View. On the bottom one, we see Session View. Let's click on Arrange View to have a look at this view in more detail. Arrange View is used to create a fixed arrangement of the loops we created in Session View. You can record and structure ideas from beginning to end on a timeline. We will be using Session View to create the idea and arrange for you to structure it. Here's the arrangement I created earlier. Now, when we initially go into Arrange View, Ableton mutes it, so it does not conflict with the Session View. How we unmute it is we click this little icon up here. Now, Arrange View is engaged and we can use our transport controls up here to navigate around the arrange window. We have Stop, and if we double click on this, it takes us right back to the start of our arrangement. And then we have Play, which will play through. We can also use Space bar to press play and stop. You can click anywhere in Arrange View and press Space bar to play and stop from that point. Up here, we also have a Record button, this enables us to record audio into this view, also enables us to be able to record our loops from Session View into Arrange View. Another handy feature is this area here. This shows us where we are in Arrange View. If I click inside, you'll notice the number will change. The numbers up here represent bars, beats and 16th notes, it's a way to measure how long our song lasts for. Also, if you scroll down here, we have time. This is another great feature to measure how long our arrangement lasts for. OK, so this is our first Pause Point, and we're going to have one task, which is to get our Ableton session ready for our very first lesson. We're going to look at deleting any unwanted channels, changing the colours and saving the session. To first off, let's go back to our Session View And what I'm going to do is I'm actually going to reset this Session View, so I have a brand new one from the start. I can do this by going up to File > New Live Set. I'm going to click 'Don't save' as I'm just using this as an example. Now I have a brand new Ableton session. I'm going to go over to here. And close the browser window. Just to get a bit more screen space. As mentioned before, we're only going to be working with midi channels in this course. I'm going to scroll over to the audio channels, click at the top and simply press delete or backspace. Also if you scroll over here, you have something called Sends. Don't worry about these for now, they are where some effects live that you can control in Ableton. We do not need these for this course, we're going to delete these also. Next thing we're going to look at is changing the colours of the channel. Scroll over to the channel, click at the top and then we right-click on our mouse. Then we are presented with a bunch of colours that we can choose from. Choose any one you would like. I'm going to choose this blue colour here. Then I'm going to go to this channel and I'm going to choose a nice yellow colour here. The last thing left to do is Save. Now, what we're going to do is going to look at using the shortcut, which is Control+S on windows or Command+S on a Mac. We then go to the top, we rename what we want to call it, choose the destination and press Safe. 4. 2022 UPDATE: Ableton Live 11 interface overview: In this video, we are going to look at all the updates that have been made in Ableton's latest version - Ableton Live 11 In this update, we saw quite a lot of changes so I thought it would be good to go over and help you in the course if you're downloading Ableton for the first time. So we start with the Transport bar along here Everything stayed the same apart from this meter here This meter gives us our CPU usage It gives us an indication of how much pressure we're putting on to our computer's processer and how well our computer is dealing with our Ableton session in real-time In conjunction with this, we also have a new button here which is a little C If you click on that - It tells us which track is using the most CPU So if you find this is spiking and your computer is struggling, crashing or your audio is glitching out, you can turn this on, press Play and see which track is causing the most problem. Another new update happens in our Browser window over here So remember if we select this window here it gives us our Browser window If we look down on the categories and we go to Audio Effects > If you're coming from Ableton Live 10 you'll notice they now categorised all the effects into folders Before it was just a list of all available Audio Effects in Alphabetical order This one I find very useful as it helps you to find the effects you're looking for a lot quicker then just going through the alphabetical list Also, if you look down here, we have two new categories So we have something called Grooves. Grooves it's not something new to Ableton and this was always here but this was hidden This is a way to apply a pre-set Groove to an already made drumbeat. To use a Groove, simply create a Midi clip This could be drums or harmony I'm just going to do it on an empty clip to show you how to apply it. Once you've selected the one you like, click and drag it onto Midi clip, it has now been applied and it arrived in your Groove pool. This is the place where you can store multiple Grooves. Almost like a Favourites list. Next on the list is Templates. This is a new category in Ableton 11. Click on it. This is the way to save Projects as empty Templates Or Templates with stuff in with all your presets. Next thing that has changed quite a bit in Ableton Live 11 is how we view the clips So if I double-click on this empty clip space here, I'll hide this window. Now you can see this looks quite different from Ableton Live 10 Here's the screenshot of what the old interface looked like in Ableton Live 10 So you can see we had these circular tabs down the bottom that gave us the different windows. Now in Ableton 11, those tabes are gone here and the tabs are here instead. And if you see we have the Start and Stop Loop, Position, Length, Time, Signature, Groove All in one convenient global tab now. Where this used to live in the Notes section. This is very handy and useful. 5. Choosing a drumbeat and creating a midi clip: First, we will need to choose our drum sounds. These sounds can be found in the browser window. It's not really open, the browser window can be opened up by clicking on this icon here. We then go down to categories. We click on drums. This will then give us all the available drum racks, a drum rack is a folder that contains all the different drum sounds we can play, and we're going to use a clip in Ableton to virtually hit all those drum sounds to create a drum beat. As you can see, I have many drum racks as I'm using the full version of Ableton and I've created a few over the years. If you're using Intro, Light or Standard, you have different options. That doesn't matter. What we need to do is find the Core Kits. These have a selection of sounds from vintage drum machines. The sounds have been featured on countless numbers of popular songs, and I'm sure you'll recognize a few. The most recognizable is the 808. This has the sounds of the Roland TR 808 drum machine. To preview the sounds, simply click on the drum rack. And you will be able to hear it. Press Space bar to stop. If you cannot hear the sounds, make sure the headphone logo here is enabled. If it's not, you won't be able to hear the drum rack. To load a drum rack onto a MIDI channel, select the drum rack we wish to load. In this case, we're going to choose the 808 Core Kit. Simply click and drag to the top of an empty MIDI channel. We can tell that it has been loaded because the name at the top of the channel has changed. Also, it has loaded the drum rack the instrument itself into this area down here. These are all the drum sounds we are going to control with a MIDI clip. To create a MIDI clip we go to the 808 Core Kit channel and double click in empty clip space. And as by default, Ableton will create a one bar empty clip. This leads us on to a Pause Point 1. Find the 808 Core Kit, drag it onto an empty MIDI channel And double click to create an empty MIDI clip. 6. Creating basic drum pattern: I'm first going to close our browser window here by selecting this icon. I do this just to free up a bit of space on the screen. We will use this area to create our drum pattern. Click at the top of the window. Hold down and scroll up so you can see all the drum sounds and the clips. Clip that we have created is by default, one bar long. To understand that this is one bar, first, we need to understand that in most common popular music we count in groups of four. This measure lasts for what we call one bar, and it consists of four beats. The beats have been outlined in this clip editing view by the first beat area being darker, the second beat area being lighter, the third beat area being darker the fourth beat area being lighter. In each of these areas, there are four spaces. We will be using these as well to create our beats. Let's look at creating our first drumbeat. We're going to start by creating a common kick drum Snare drum pattern. First, we would need to find our kick drum sound. You can see the sounds live here on the left-hand side. To preview the sounds, simply click in the piano row area. Again, if you can't hear anything, make sure the headphone icon is enabled. If it's not on, you won't hear anything. We're going to start by putting the kick drum sound in the first space of each beat. Do this by double-clicking in the space. Don't worry, if you make a mistake, just double click and that will delete the MIDI note. Now let's put a Snare drum in the first space of the second and fourth beat. Let's listen to what we've got so far. Let's go up here and press play on the clip to hear this pattern. To stop, simply press the space bar. Lastly, we're going to look at putting a Closed Hi-hat sound on the first and the third space of each beat. Let's hear how this sounds. Now, to play this time, because we've already pressed play on our clip (as you can see the play button is green). this means the clip is enabled, so now all we have to do is press spacebar to play and stop. And there we have it, our first drum pattern. This leads us onto a Pause Point 2. Create this drumbeat. 7. Creating techno/house drumbeat: Now, this may not be the most exciting drum pattern, but all the techniques we have just learned will be applied to all the other drum patterns we will look at. The next drum pattern is commonly used in house and techno music. It features the same Kick and Snare pattern but has an offbeat, open Hi-hat sound. Also, we are going to play this drum pattern at a higher tempo as this fits the style of music. We change the tempo by going up to our tempo area here, clicking and then typing in the desired tempo, we want to speed of 125. So we click 125 and press return. You can also fine-tune the tempo by simply clicking and scrolling up or scrolling down to find your desired speed. Let's create a new MIDI clip underneath the clip we've already created. So we double click at an empty clip space and this gives us a new empty MIDI clip. So remember, the clips will contain the drumbeats and they will control the sound that is on the channel. So you can have multiple drum patterns on the same channel. As you see here, when I click this clip, you can see our first drum pattern we created. And when I click on a new MIDI clip, you will see there's no drum pattern yet, as we yet to create it. So first, we're going to look at putting a kick drum sound in the first space of each beat. Now let's put a Snare drum in the first space of the second and fourth beat. We are then going to find a new open Hi-hat sound by going to piano row on the left-hand side and previewing it by simply clicking. We are then going to put this in the third space of each beat. Let's hear how that sounds. Remember? Our first clip is engaged as the play button is green. To engage our new clip, we simply click on the play button first, and once it's engaged, we can then use spacebar to play and stop. This leads us onto a Pause Point 3. It's your turn to create this drumbeat! 8. Creating trap/hip-hop drumbeat: The last drumbeat we're going to look at is in a style of Trap and Hip Hop. This features a thing called the Hi-hat trill and a more complex Kick Drum pattern. Let's start by creating a new MIDI clip underneath our two previous examples. Remember, we double click in the space to create a new MIDI clip. Let's start by putting a kick drum sound in the first space of each beat and a snare drum sound in the first space of beats two and four. This will act as our foundation. To get a more complex Kick Drum pattern, we're going to move the second Kick Drum sound - one space to the left. Then we're going to move the third Kick Drum sound - one space to the right. Then the fourth Kick Drum sound - also one space to the right. Then we are going to create a Closed Hi-hat pattern. We're going to turn on a new thing called the Pencil Tool. We do this by pressing 'b'. As you can see, our pointer tool has changed to a pencil. The pencil tool allows us to input many MIDI notes very quickly, one after the other. Let's select the Closed Hi-hat sound in the first space and drag right to the last space. And then let's turn off the pencil tool by pressing 'b'. Let's hear how it sounds so far. Remember, a second clip is enabled, as you can see here, Play button is green. We want to play our new drum beat, so we need to enable this one by pressing the play button. Also notice that this drumbeat a tad too fast, so let's slow it down a little bit. Remember, we go up to the metronome, type the tempo we want and press Return. We're slowing down because Hip Hop and Trap music is generally played at a slower tempo. Let's see how this sounds. Remember, the clip is now enabled so I can just press Space bar to play and stop. A common sound with this music is a trill on a Hi-hat. A trill is when the Hi-hats speed up for a short period of time. We're going to look at putting a trill on third base of beat two. We're going to look at a little trick that helps you achieve this effect without too many fiddly details. We simply hover above the third space, click and drag to highlight five MIDI notes. We then go to the top to use this little toggle button up here to drag. We simply click and scroll to the left until this line is on beat 3, then we let go. As you can see, we have squashed four MIDI notes into the space of two. We used the fifth MIDI note to show us where the first beat and beat three is. Now we're going to turn on pencil tool again by pressing 'b' and we're going to fill in the gaps. And then press 'b' turn the pencil tool off again. Let's hear how this sounds. Remember, we have a neighbourhood clip three so we can just press spacebar to play and stop. That leads us to a Pause Point 4. Create this drumbeat for yourself and play around with the Hi-hat trill. 9. Adding extras to your drumbeat: In this final section, we're going to look at adding in some extras. First, let's layer the Snare sound with a Clap sound. You can find the Clap sound on the piano row on the left hand side. And we're going to double click in the first space of the second and fourth beat. Just directly above the Snare sound. Let's see how that sounds. We also going to look at how we can control a thing called Velocity. This controls how hard or soft we hit the drum. We do this by firstly holding down Command on a Mac or Control on Windows. Then we click and hold, we scroll up to increase the velocity, or scroll down to decrease the velocity. Increasing the velocity makes the drum sound like it's being hit harder. Decrease the velocity, makes the drum sound like it's being hit softer. Let's try this in third space of beats one, three and four. So we've already done the first beat, go to beat three. Hold down Command and scroll down. Beat four, Command, scroll down. Let's see how it sounds. The point of this is to humanize the drumbeats, so it sounds like a real drummer. When a drummer would play the drum kit, he would hit the drums at different intensities because he's human, he's not a robot. This will also help us apply feel to our programmed drum beats. Lastly, let's now try putting in the famous 808 Cowbell sound, see if you recognize it from any songs. This could be heard at the start of Whitney Houston's 'I want to dance with somebody'. Try putting it on beat four, in space three. Let's see how that sounds. OK, so that wraps it up for this video. Don't forget to save everything that you've done in this video. To save on Mac Press Command+S. On Windows press Control+S. This is our final Pause Point. Layer the Snare with a Clap sound, add some velocity changes to your drum beat and then try adding that 808 Cowbell sound to your drumbeat. 10. 2022 UPDATE: Ableton Live 11 Velocity and Chance: Something else that has been updated in Ableton Live 11 is how we deal with Velocity. If I double-click on a Clip here to open up, scroll up, You can also adjust the height of the velocity window here by clicking and dragging up and down. If you don't see the velocity window here it's this yellow tab here that will open it. If you're coming from Ableton Live 10, you can see the Ableton Live 11 Velocity nodes look slightly different. Before, in Ableton 10, they were vertical, now in Ableton 11 they are horizontal. And there's a reason for this It's because we have a couple more options here. We have Randomize and Velocity Range. So I'm just going to look at Velocity Range first. I'm going to click on this kick drum here. Then what I could do is I can now either give it a plus or minus velocity range. If I click and drag down, you can see now it greys out an area below. Now what that's gonna do is as it goes through the sequence, it's going to play that note at the Velocity within this coloured area. It gives a bit of a randomized, humanized feel to it. That's obviously we're just doing it on 1. I'm going to put that back to 0 by just typing 0 here. Then if I click in here and press Command A, I can now apply this to all of them. Let's listen to it before. Look up here and press Play. Now let's add some Velocity Range to it. I'm going to click and drag it down by -40. Okay, so that's the Velocity Range. You can hear it humanizes the drumbeat. This is especially good when you have quite repetitive patterns such as hi-hats. You could just do this on a hi-hat You don't have to do this on all the drums. So we're gonna go ahead and just select the hi-hats here. Click and drag them down. Now we've just got the hi-hats. That's a bit more groove to it. I'm going to reset that. Now, we're going to the Randomize. This should look like this. When you first see it. It has a 127, that's the strength of the randomization. So if I click it, watch what happens. Boom. All the Velocities have been randomized. So let's see how that sounds now. That's obviously the extreme setting. If I go back and undo that. Now if we set it to 48, we click here. If you look at the Velocity, you see the randomization isn't as extreme. Undo that and then we'll do a lower one. If we write it down to 10. Experiment with this Velocity Range and this Randomize button here to humanize your drum beats when creating your song. Next, let's look at another new option in Ableton Live 11, which is Chance. How we access the Chance tab is by clicking this little button underneath the Velocity tab. It will also illuminate yellow and give us this new lane here. What you see here, it goes from 0% to 100%. That is the chance that this drum hit will get played within the repetition of this sequence. For example, they're all at a 100 at the moment, so they're always going to be played. If I select this bass drum here, and I click the Chance, and I bring it down to 50%, when that plays, it's only a 50% chance that that kick drums is going to get played. So let's have a listen. Did you hear it got played that last time? This is really handy for adding in a further humanized feel to your drum beat. It can actually verge on being generative and you can interact with the computer much like you would interact with a musician. You've set some parameters and the computer started jamming with you. Let's see how this works best. I quite like this by adding in some extra notes with a low velocity. Say if we did something like this, and we put that chance down to 26%, (Sorry, I did the wrong one there) Click on the bass drum, click down and then we're also going to highlight these two, bring down the velocity and we're going to do the velocity range low as well. And then maybe one more here. Again Chance. Then Velocity. Down here. Let's see how that sounds. It works really well. Let's try a couple of Snare drums. So I've got one here. I've got one extra one here. So let's go and do a similar sort of thing with the kick drum turn the Chance down, click here. Let's drag it down. Or what you can actually do if you want to do them at the same time, If you click and drag, It would be quite nice to have these at the same. So let's go down 7. Same thing with the Velocity. Let's go really low with this one. Let's randomize these ones. There we go. Let's hear that. Very cool and interesting! It's always evolving. The Chance really gives this humanized element to the pattern. 11. Understanding chord sequences: Welcome back. Make sure you open up the Ableton file we saved in the previous video called Push Patterns song one. This contains all the drumbeats we made in the previous video. Let's start by choosing an Acoustic Piano sound. We do this by going over to our browser window, If it's not already open, select this icon to view it. Then go down to categories. Select instruments, and then we go up to our search function. Click in here and type Piano. Press Return. As you can see, I have many folders as I'm using the full version of Ableton. If you're using Intro, Light or Standard, you will have different options, but that doesn't matter. All we need to do is find the instrument rack folder. Click on the hour next to it. Find the Piano & Keys. Click on the arrow next to that and find the Grand Piano sound. You can preview it by simply clicking on it. We are then going to drag this onto the empty MIDI channel next to our drum channel. You'll see that it has been loaded onto the channel because the name of the channel has changed to Grand Piano. We're now going to close the search function. And close the browser window to give us a bit more screen space. We then want to create an empty MIDI clip on the Grand Piano channel. We will do this next to the drumbeat we wish to use for this song. I have chosen to use the third drumbeat we created, which was the Trap/Hip Hop star one. Let's expand the MIDI editing window by clicking on the top, scrolling up. We do this to see as many notes in the MIDI window as possible while still being able to see the clips at the top. You will notice there are no names on the notes, on the piano roll on the left-hand side. Don't worry, they are still all there. Let's go to the top and select the headphone icon to enable us to preview the notes on the piano. Simply select a note to preview. As you remember from the first video, you were creating beats that lasted for one bar, but in this video we want to create chord sequences that last for four bars. So we will need to increase the length of this clip. We do this by going to the length option here. We're going to select this first box here. A number we put in this box here will determine the length in bars of the clip. At the moment it is set to one because this clip lasts for one bar. If we type 4, press return, the clip now lasts for 4 bars. We can tell this by the numbers at the top: 1, 2, 3, 4. They tell us the amounts of bars that we can see in this clip. Let's right-click in the editing window. Go down to the Fixed Grid option and select one bar. We do this because we want the MIDI notes we entered in to last for one whole bar, so let's create the first note of our chord. We're going to do this in the first space on line C2. Let's double click in that space. We are then going to find the second note, which is G1. As I scroll down, can you see on the left-hand side the note that is next to the pointer tool. This tells us what note lives on what line in this window. As I go to the second space, as I scroll up and down, you can see what note is on what line. I go to G1 one for the second space, then I'm going to A1 for the third space. Now, I'm going to go to F1 for the last space. Let's see how that sounds. Remember to hear it with your drum beat, you can press play on the thing that's called the Scene. The Scene will press play on all the clips that are in this highlighted line. So let's hear them together. OK, so let's create the next two notes of each chord. To turn these piano notes into chords, we count up three white spaces on the piano to find the next note you stack up, we count ONE - miss the black note out - TWO - miss the black note out -THREE. So we have E2. So we simply drag into the first space, double click on E2. Now, to find the next note in the chord, we do exactly the same thing. ONE - TWO - miss the black note out - THREE. We have G2. Let's do the same for the second chord. ONE - TWO - THREE (click) ONE - TWO - THREE (click) ONE - TWO - THREE (click) ONE - TWO - THREE (click) ONE - TWO - THREE (click) Let's see how that sounds. Pause Point 1. Create this chord sequence for yourself. 12. Creating your own chord sequence: So what you created there was one of the most popular chord sequences in popular music. It's called the 1-5-6-4. This has been used in songs such as 'Don't Stop Believin' by Journey. 'No Woman, No Cry' by Bob Marley and the Wailers. 'Under The Bridge' by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 'When I Come Around' by Green Day and many more. This is because chord sequences are not copyrighted, it is the melody and lyrics on top. So artists will use tried and tested chord sequences to help them when creating new songs. Let's look at creating our own chord sequence. What we will need to do is create a new empty MIDI clip under the old chord sequence you just created. Let's go up to this window. If it's not viewable, scroll down a little bit, double-click, then we need to make the length the same to four bars by selecting here and pressing 4. Then we need to right-click, make sure the duration is one bar. So let's look a little trick for creating chord sequences. Pick any white note in each one of the spaces. Let's choose D. Then there's choose A. Then maybe G. And then F. Then what we do is the same as before. For each note, we count up three white notes and then we count up another three white notes to build our chord. So from D3, let's count up three white notes. ONE - miss out the black - TWO - THREE (click) Same thing again. ONE - miss out the black line -TWO - same thing again miss out the black line - THREE (click) Same with A. ONE - miss out the black line -TWO - THREE (click) ONE - ... - TWO - ... - THREE (click) ONE - ... - TWO - ... - THREE (click). ONE - ... - TWO - ... - THREE (click). ONE - ... - TWO - ... - THREE (click). ONE - ... - TWO - ... - THREE (click). Let's hear how that sounds by clicking on this new clip. So experiment with this. Some sequences might sound better than others, but the most important thing is to have fun with it! Don't forget to save what you already have. Pause Point. Create your own chord sequence. 13. Combining chords with drumbeats: You can also experiment with playing different drumbeats with different chord sequences. Let's minimize this window so we can see more of our clips available. Let's select our first drum beat and our second chord sequence to play. Then our second drumbeat. And then a third drumbeat. Final Pause Point. Experiment with different combinations of chord sequences and drumbeats. 14. 2022 UPDATE: Ableton Live 11 Scale feature: Another great update in Ableton 11 is the Scale function. This will help us with our chords. If we go in here, open up and have a look at our chords here. (I'm just going to hide the Velocity and Chance) Now we have a Scale function over here in Ableton Live 11, which enables us to eliminate any notes that don't live within a scale. Let me demonstrate it to you. I'm going to delete all these notes here. We're going to make a new chord sequence in a different key. Turn the Scale feature on. Choose a different key from C major. E-flat. Now if you look over here, Some notes are greyed and some notes are yellow. The grey notes are the notes that are not within the key. The yellow notes are the ones that are within the key. This can look a bit confusing, So we can use this other feature up here which is called Scale. If I click on that, it eliminates any other grey notes so all the notes on here are within the key of E flat or D sharp major. We can apply the same technique. So if I go here and click 1, 2, 3, so we count up from here 3 spaces and we don't have to miss any notes. So 1, 2, 3. 1, 2, 3. Let's try it down here. Let's go down a chord. Let's just descend. Let's hear how that sounds. The last chord is a bit fruity, so are going to change that. We can turn this Headphone icon here To hear the chord. That sounds better. Great. We came up with our chord sequence here and the key of E flat or D sharp major. Experiment with this when you're coming up with your chord sequences, try using the Scale feature to write some chord sequences in a different key. 15. Finding bass sound and adding it to midi channel: Firstly, we would need to pick a sound from the browser window. Click on the icon to open it if it's not already opened. Go down to categories, select instruments, and go to the search function and type Bass. As you can see, I have many folders as I'm using the full version of Ableton, if you're using Intro, Light or Standard, you have different options. That doesn't matter or you need to do is find the instrument rack folder. Click on the arrow. Go down to Bass. Click on the arrow. And we're going to choose Boffner Bass. As per the two previous videos, we would need a blank MIDI channel, but if you noticed, we have run out. We have drums on Channel One and we have chords on Channel Two. To create a new MIDI channel for our bass, we simply click and scroll into the area where it says 'Drop Files and Devices Here', then we let go. And it creates a new MIDI channel for us with the Boffner Bass sound loaded onto it. This time, we are not going to create an empty channel. As a quick trick for the bass, we are going to copy across the MIDI clip from the chord channel onto the bass channel. We do this by selecting the chord clip we want to copy across, we press Command+C o Mac Or Control+C on Windows. Then in the clip space on the bass channel next to the chord and the drumbeat you want to use, you press Command+B on Mac or Control+V on Windows. Let's double click to open up the clip to see the contents. Scroll up to view. Then what we are going to do is delete the top two notes of each chord. We can do this by highlighting the two notes and pressing delete. (sounds) This gives us a thing called the Root Note of the chord. We're then going to press Command+A on Mac or Control+A on Windows. That will select all the notes and we are going to drag them down one octave. We're going to drag a first MIDI note down to C1. But because we selected everything, they were all dragged down with that note. This puts them in a lower pitch, which is more suitable for bass. Let's hear how this sounds with our chords and drumbeat. Let's click on the Scene to play them all together. This leads us onto a Pause Point 1. Find the bass sound, drag it into an empty space to create the new MIDI channel with the sound loaded on it, then copy across the chords, MIDI clip, delete the top part of the chord and then lower it down one octave. 16. Adding in an octave: Welcome back. One thing to mention, if you're listening to the clips through laptop speakers. you might notice that the bass doesn't seem as loud. It's because laptop speakers are not designed to project bass frequencies. So to hear the bass in full, please check with headphones or Bluetooth speakers. Now, let's try putting in the octave. If you're already happy with how the bass sounds with long notes, you can stick with that. I recommend experimenting, see how it sounds. If you don't like it, you can always come back to this bass line and stick with that. In the MIDI editing window we are going to right-click and put the Fixed Grid to one quarter and turn on 'b'. To find the octave, simply find the note that you want to create an octave of, for example, our first note is C1. So an octave will be the same note but one number higher. C2. And if you want to go lower, it will be the same note minus one number. So let's put a higher octave of C1, which will be on C2. Let's put this in the third space of bar one. Let's find the octave of G0, which will be G1, and let's also put that in the third space. Octave of A0 which is A1, let's also put that in the third space. Then octave of F0 which is F1, put that on the third space. Let's see how that all sounds. Pause Point 2. Do this for yourself. Add in the octave, experiment with putting the octave in different spaces and see how it sounds. 17. Changing the sounds of the instruments: One final thing to experiment with is changing the sounds of the instruments. Once you've put MIDI in a clip on your channel, it will control the sound that you have put on the top. You can change these sounds very simply by going to the browser window. Selecting this icon if it's not already there. Going to instruments. Selecting bass. Going down to instrument rack, going down to bass. Previewing another sound. When you found the one you like, drag it to the top of the channel. It will then replace it and you have a new bass sound. This is our final post point. Experiment with different bass sounds. 18. Preparing your session for the arrangement: In this final video, we're going to look at taking the loops we created in the previous videos and arranging them into a song format such as intro, verse, chorus. Then, we'll be looking at recording it into Ableton's other view, which is called Arrange View. Once it's in there, we can export it as an MP3 or wav and you can share it with your friends and family or upload to social media. Let's start by organising our Session View to make it easier to organize our arrangement. First, we need to get rid of any unused beats or chords but don't worry, we're not going to completely delete them. Let's save this as a new file so we can always come back if we wish, and experiment with these chords and other beats. Let's go up to File. Click Save Live Set. Choose a new name. So I've already saved it as Push Patterns Song 2. This was our original file, Push Patterns Song 1. Then you press Save. Now let's delete the unwanted chords and beats. We do this by pressing Delete or Backspace. Now, I will copy these three clips up to the very first scene and the second scene. As we will use these for the different sections of our song. We do this by clicking on the first scene, holding down Shift and clicking on the last scene. We will copy this by pressing Command+C on Mac or Control+C on Windows. We then select the very first clip space on the first scene and press Comand+V on Mac or Control+V on Windows We then repeat this on the second scene. Next, we are going to rename the scenes over on the master channel. This will help us map out the different sections of the song. Simply click in the first scene and press Command+R on Mac or Control+R on Windows. It's now ready for us to rename. I'm going to name this Intro. Then press Return to finish. I repeat the same on the second scene. Let's call this Verse. And the same on the third scene. Let's call this Chorus. Now we can see our song is clearly mapped out in an intro, verse, chorus format. We organize it into scenes so it's easier to trigger the next section of a song. Remember, all the clips in a scene will play at the same time. So it's very convenient for us going through different sections to only press one play button, which is here, and this will trigger all the clips in the scene line. Last bit of organisation is to rename the channels. As you see here, they have the name of the instrument. Isn't it a bit confusing? So let's name it what the instrument is. For example, channel one is 808 Core Kit, which is drums. So let's rename it Drums. We click, Command+R on Mac or Control+R on Windows. And type Drums. Second channel is Grand Piano, so let's just call this Piano. Last channel is bass so let's call it Bass. Also, let's change the colour of the bass channel to match the clips. Simply right-click at the top. We go and we select the colour. We then right-click on the top again. And select Assigned Track Colour. Pause Point. Organize your session ready for us to create our arrangement. 19. Organising your loops: Welcome back. So now we are ready to start arranging the music. Before we start, I'd like to share some ideas with you to get you started on arranging your song. First, let's think about dynamics. We want a lift and a drop in energy moving into different sections. A common misconception is that we have to add more stuff each time. If we start looking at taking away elements first, then reintroducing what we have at different points, this will give the same sense of dynamic. For example, we want a lift in energy going from our intro into our verse, then a further lift into our chorus. So let's start by just having the chords in the intro. So we're going to need delete drum and bass clips. In the verse, let's introduce one other element other than the chords, I'm going to suggest the drums, so let's delete the bass. Also, let's remove something from the drums. It's double click in the clip space, see what we have inside. Expand the clip window. And let's mute the Hi-hat. We do this by selecting, dragging across all the notes. And then we press 0. What this does is it does not delete them, it simply mutes them. This is quite handy when you're experimenting with ideas just in case you make a mistake. To unmute, highlight them all again and press 0 again. OK, so let's minimize this clip window. And let's test this and see how it sounds. Just remember, the chords play for four bars to let the chords sequence complete. So only press play on the next section after four bars. Let's start by pressing play on the Intro for four bars. Then four bars on the verse, four bars on the chorus. I'm happy with that. Let's expand this idea by copying our verse and chorus scene to create a second verse and a second chorus. We do this by selecting the scene verse. Holding Shift and selecting Chorus. Command+C for Mac or Control+C for Windows. Looking on scene four below - Command+V or Control+V. Now we have duplicated it. Let's rename it to Verse2 and Chorus2. Click Command+R on Mac or Control+R On Windows. But next to it press 2. Do the same for the chorus. Now, let's think about how many times the chords should loop round in each section. Traditionally, new things happen every 4, 8 or 16 bars in a song. This keeps the listener engaged and excited. Chord sequence happens for four bars. So let's try the intro is four bars which is one loop of our chord sequence. Then the verse for 16, which means our chord should repeat four times. And the chorus, 8 bars which means our chorus should repeat two times. Then verse 2 - 16 bars again, which is four loops of chords again. Chorus 2 - we should do it double - 16 bars, that's again four loops of our chord sequence. I suggest you write this down either on a document on your computer or a piece of paper. It's probably easier to write it down on a piece of paper as you could have this next to your computer when you play out the arrangement. Pause Point 2. Organise your loops into an arrangement, get a piece of paper and write down the length of each section. 20. Creating your arrangement: Now, let's record this. How we do this is by using our transport controls up here. First off, we're going to double click on Stop. That will take us right back to the start. Then we are going to right-click on record and we're going to make sure Start Playback with Record is not enabled. If it has a click next to it like this, It means it's enabled. What will happen is as soon as you press record, it will start recording. We want to make sure this is turned off so we can arm the record and get ready without anything happening. Then as soon as we press play on scene one, which is the intro, it will start recording for us. If you make a mistake, press Space bar to stop the recording and repeat this process. Click Stop, arm record. Press Play on the first scene again. This will record over the mistake you made Ableton's other view. You can view our recording any time by clicking this icon here. This will flip into Arrange View. To go back to Session View, simply click the icon underneath. A shortcut will be to press Tab on your keyboard. And that will flip between the views. OK, so let's have a go. I'm going to press play on scene one and go through my arrangement here. Notice I use scene 4 to stop all the clips. It stops all the clips once they have finished their loop in their entirety. If you press Space bar, it will stop at any point so it can cut the loop short. When we're doing the arrangement, we want to stop the clips, we use a blank scene. Once this is complete press Tab or click here to view your song. To zoom in and out, click in the window and press plus or minus to zoom out. Then click this little icon here to unmute this view. It mutes this view, so there aren't two instances of the same loop playing at the same time. So either the loops are playing in Arrange View or in Session View. So by clicking this, it now mutes Session View and unmutes Arrange View. Simply double click on Stop, Press Play to hear your arrangement. Pause Point. Create this arrangement for yourself. 21. Final touches: Let's look at one simple idea for fine-tuning our arrangement, which is going to look at extending or shortening the loop sections of the different instrument. First, if you notice, my bass channel minimized, you see this little arrow here? It's pointing to the right, you click on it. This will show the contents of your channel. We will then going to look at shortening our looped drum area. We're going to shorten it for one bar by going up to the top of the clip. You may notice my mouse is now turned to a bracket tool. Simply drag this to the left. And it will mute it for one bar. We're going to do this for the same coming out of the chorus here. We do the same for going into the second chorus. This will add further dynamic transitioning between the different sections. Now, to hear it from this point, simply click in the arrange area. And then press Play up here. So it gives a cool little dynamic transitioning between the sections, it just nicely reintroduces them. Pause Point. Do this for yourself, find an area where you would like to mute the drums to help transition into the next section of the song. 22. Exporting your song in MP3 or WAV: The last thing we have to do is look at how we export this song as an MP3 or a WAV file. So we can email it to our friends or upload social media. Simply click on this loop bracket here. We're going to go to the side of it, until our mouse turns into a bracket, scroll to the left at the very start the song, go to the other side and scroll to the right, right to the end of the song. Click on the top to make sure the whole song is highlighted. This will tell the computer what area of a song we want to export. We then press Command+Shift+R for Mac or Control+Shift+R for Windows. Don't worry about what all these functions do, we just want to make sure PCM. is turned on. And that we have WAV selected and that is at 24. Then we need to go down to MP3, make sure that selected ON. Once you've done that, go down to Export and that will give us an area to export to. I suggest exporting it to your desktop because then it would just be easier to find when you get out of Ableton. Now, let's name a song. I'm just going to keep the name Push Patterns Song 2. Press Save. Now it's exporting the song. May take a few minutes. And it's done! It's always very important to double-check the song that you've exported. Minimize your Ableton window, go to the song you exported, click in the middle. Make sure you listen to all the way through and do the same with the WAV just to ensure you've bounced it out correctly before you send it to anybody. Final Pause Point. Export your song as an MP3 and WAV file. 23. You made it! Share your work: There you go. Congratulations, you made it! I hope you enjoyed this course. If you're happy with your results don't forget to share it on social media and tag us at @PUSHPATTERNS where we can repost you. And also check out our YouTube channel Push Patterns where we post regular free tutorials. So hopefully see you again soon. Bye for now!