Ableton Live 11 For Beginners | How to Make Your First Track | Dale McManus | Skillshare
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Ableton Live 11 For Beginners | How to Make Your First Track

teacher avatar Dale McManus, Photography, Cinematography, Music

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

    • 1.

      Ableton Live 11 For Beginners | What You Will Learn

      2:08

    • 2.

      Session View vs Arrangement View

      1:49

    • 3.

      Ableton Live 11 | Walkthrough of the Interface

      7:47

    • 4.

      How to Count Bars

      2:29

    • 5.

      MIDI Vs Audio

      0:30

    • 6.

      What is MIDI? (How to Create a Midi Clip)

      7:39

    • 7.

      What is Audio? (How to Create an Audio Clip)

      4:00

    • 8.

      Let's Make a Track

      0:58

    • 9.

      Create a Drum Rack

      12:02

    • 10.

      Create a Bass Line

      14:25

    • 11.

      How to Use Automation

      2:32

    • 12.

      Create Chords For Emotion

      12:06

    • 13.

      Create a Lead Melody

      8:40

    • 14.

      Add FX and Ambience

      6:43

    • 15.

      Create an Intro, Verse, & Buildup

      9:52

    • 16.

      Create Build Up Drums

      11:05

    • 17.

      What is Sidechaining and How to Do It

      7:01

    • 18.

      How to Bounce Your Track to MP3 & WAV Files

      1:55

    • 19.

      Final Words

      0:39

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About This Class

This complete course on Ableton Live 11 will teach you everything you need to navigate the software like a pro and create your first track completely from scratch! You'll learn all the basics of Ableton Live and electronic music production in this course, as well as plenty of tips and tricks that you can use while producing to make your songs stand out. In the course, you'll learn how to create a drum beat, lay down a bass line, create chords and melodies, add FX, and more!

This course is designed for:

-Beginners that have little to no experience in Ableton or music theory.

-Anyone that wants to learn how to create professional EDM, House, and Hip Hop tracks from scratch.

-Anyone that wants to become a professional music artist or producer.

-Anyone that wants to make music as part of their career.

Here's some of what you will learn:

-How to navigate between Session View and Arrangement View

-How to navigate Ableton's interface like a pro.

-What is Midi vs Audio?

-How to create a drum beat using Ableton's built in drum rack.

-How to create a bass line.

-How to create chords for more emotion in your tracks.

-How to add FX and ambience to your tracks.

-How to Sidechain

-How to bounce your tracks to MP3 and WAV files for sharing your music.

-Tips, tricks, and much more!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Dale McManus

Photography, Cinematography, Music

Teacher

Hey! I'm Dale. I'm a Professional Photographer/Videographer, Award Winning Youtuber, and Co-Creator of WANDR travel film company. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Film and 9 years experience in the field of photography/film. I've traveled to different parts of the world as a professional photographer/videographer and utilized my iPhone as my best tool. Now I share my knowledge with those looking to become better photographers and filmmakers.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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Transcripts

1. Ableton Live 11 For Beginners | What You Will Learn: What's up? Welcome to the Ableton Live 11 class for beginners. My name is Dale McManus and I'm a top teacher here on Skillshare. I've been teaching on Skillshare for over five years. I have over 200,000 students who have taken my classes. I have a passion for teaching and an equal passion for music production. In fact, the song you're hearing right now is one of my own original songs and made entirely enabled him. Despite what anyone says, you do not need a full set up like this in order to make great music nowadays. You can get away with nothing but a laptop, and that's all you need during this class. Yes, having extra equipment can help you further as you get deeper and deeper into music production. But, you don't need any of it to make a great song. In this class, I'm going to be teaching you how to get started in Ableton Live as a complete beginner. Even if you have zero experience in the program or music as a whole, I'll guide you through the whole process step-by-step. In this class, I'll be using lots of motion graphics, B-roll, and examples to make the learning process simple and easy to retain. By the end of this class, I'll show you how to create a drop like this. We'll be covering everything from a full walk-through of the interface to creating a beat, adding a baseline, creating a unique melody, adding ambiance and effects to your track, and bouncing your tracks to an MP3 or a wave file to show your friends and family and potential fans. Whenever you're ready, let's get started. 2. Session View vs Arrangement View: So let's go ahead and open up Ableton and get started. So I'm here on my desktop and let's just go ahead and open Ableton. I have it down here in my doc. So when you first open Ableton, it's going to look something like this. Now the first and foremost thing that I want to show you how to do is change the look and the feel of the interface. Because personally, I don't really love the default look. It's a little too bright. So we're going to hit Command Comma. That's going to open up our preferences. Or you can just go up to Live and then just go to Preferences. You're likely going to be on the Audio tab right here. So we're just going to click on the Look and Feel tab right here. We're going to come down to Customization and you'll see Theme. It's on Mid Light, which is the default. I personally really like the Dark because I like to work on music a lot at night. When you're staring at a bright screen all night, it can really hurt your eyes. So I'd like to do the Dark, but you can change it to any one of these that you want. So just go ahead and hit the x. When you first open Ableton, you'll see this screen, which this is Session View and don't be alarmed. This is all looking really daunting already, but trust me, I'm going to walk you through the whole thing. So whenever I immediately open Ableton, I always hit the tab key to switch over to Arrangement view. Or you can come up here to these two little symbols. You can switch between Session View and Arrangement View and do these little symbols. This is actually Ableton's logo. That's actually why they did that. These two different views have different purposes. But if you're here to create a song from scratch, then you're going to want to work in arrangement view. This is the view that I use all the time. Every time I open Ableton, I immediately hit the tab key to switch over to Arrangement view. 3. Ableton Live 11 | Walkthrough of the Interface: Before we dive in and start making our first track, it's vital to understand the different Windows and their functions inside of Ableton. As I said, every time I open Ableton, I immediately hit the tab key to get into arrangement view, which is this view right here. Before I get into this quick overview, I want to point out that even while you're taking this class or later down the road, if you ever want to know what anything is or does, you can just go to this little info box down here by clicking on this little arrow key, and you probably already have this box open. But basically, this box will tell you what anything is or does if you hover over it. As you can see, I'm hovered over the main lane and what it says down there is main lane and gives a little description of it. Let's get started. Over here, on the left, you have the browser. The browser is where you can search for anything you want to put in your projects such as sounds, instruments, audio effects, midi effects, samples, grooves, and so on. You can toggle this whole window in and out of view using this little arrow key up here, or you can just hit command option B, and that will toggle it in and out as well. Down here is where you can drop instruments and audio effects. Whenever you see down here is going to depend on which layer that you are selected on. Right now, there are no instruments or audio effects in any of these layers, so it's empty right now. This can also be triggered in and out of view with this little arrow key down here as well, or you can just hit command option L, and that will bring it out of view and back into view as well. But I'll be honest, I never close this one because it's just always open. I use it all the time. Then you've got your timeline, or as Ableton calls it, the main lane. This is where you can find all the layers in your track. By default, you've got four layers that automatically open whenever you open Ableton. You've got two midi tracks, then you've got two audio tracks or layers. I'll be covering the difference between midi and audio in the next lesson. Attached to each layer, you have your in and out section and your mixer section. The in and outs section is used for plugging in physical instruments like a microphone, a keyboard, a guitar, etc. Then you have the mixer section. This is where you can turn off a layer completely by clicking on the little yellow number, and these numbers are indicating which layer it is from top to bottom. You can control each individual layer's volume by clicking on this little blue zero and dragging it up or down. Currently, there aren't any volumes on these two midi tracks because we don't have any instruments loaded into them. So there's really no volume to play right now. If you ever need to undo anything, you can just hit command Z, if you're on Mac, or control Z on a PC. You can also solo layers and listen to just that one layer. If you just click on the little S for whatever layer that you want to hear. If you want to hear multiple layers at the same time, you can just hold command and select the next layer. Then this allows you to hear two layers at one time. Or I believe it's control on PC, you can just click and hold as many of these as you want. I use this feature all the time, especially when I want to hear the drums and the bass together. Also, I put a whole cheat sheet of these hot cues in the Resources tab so that you can find them easily. Next, you have the record button, which there's nothing routed into this right now, so you're not going to hear anything. But whenever you have this button toggled, and you have an instrument plugged in, or let's say a microphone plugged in. What you can do is just go over to your project, and then you can just hit the little record button, and it's going to give you a countdown, and then whatever you were to play or to say into the microphone, it would record it here. You can just hit Space button to stop it. Then it would show some audio here or some MIDI, depending on which one you're using, which again, I will cover in the next lesson. We're just going to go ahead and delete this. In order to select anything, if you just select down here, it's just going to put the playhead here. You're not actually selecting this clip. We're going to go ahead and click on the little bar up here, and it'll turn into a hand. That is how you're able to select any of these clips, and we'll just hit delete. Next in the mixer section, you have Ableton stock reverb and delay sends right here. That's this little negative infinity right here and here. The first one is reverb and the second one is delay. Now, you don't have to use these if you want to just individually add reverb to a layer, you can go over to the browser tab and then just search reverb, and then you can just come in here and grab the reverb right here. Then you can just add that onto whatever layer that you want. That's basically the exact same thing. All I did was just double-click on the reverb right here. But Ableton gives you these over here on the side because they're connected to buses, which you can find right down here. First, let's just go ahead and delete this, get that out of the way, and you can see the buses down here. We've got a reverb and delay. Whenever I click on the little arrow for reverb and I were to click on that layer. You can see we've got that exact same reverb plug-in right here, and then whenever we click on delay, I'll just open that up. You can see we've gotten delay right here. These are connected to these little negative infinities. I'm going to go ahead and just throw some drums in here, and I'll show you what I mean. I've got some drums in here. Just to save some space, I'm just going to go ahead and collapse this little delay here and the reverb, and I'm just going to show you. Whenever I play this, [MUSIC] I'm actually going to turn off that metronome. [MUSIC] Now, if I add the reverb here, I'm just going to crank it way up. [MUSIC] You can hear it sounds like it's in a really big room, that's what reverb is doing. It's basically just sending this track over here to this little reverb channel, which is adding this reverb here. Then same with delay. I'm going to go ahead and pull this revert back down, and I'm just going to add some delay, which again, I'm just going to crank it to the moon, and we're just going to select this clip here or just click your mouse at the beginning of the play head. [MUSIC] Again, if I bring it down, [MUSIC] same, it's just playing normal beat. [MUSIC] If I crank it up. [MUSIC] You can hear all the delay that it's added. Now, you typically never need reverb or delay on kicks, but for the sake of showing you, I figured that would be the easiest. I'm just going to go ahead and delete this. Now that we've covered our in and out section and our mixer section, we're going to go up here, and we've got our project toolbar up here. But this is a lot easier to explain what all this stuff does whenever we actually create a track together, which we're going to be getting into in just a little bit. But again, if you need to zoom in on anything, you can just click up here in your little beat time ruler, and then you can just zoom in and out by moving your finger up and down, and that will zoom in and out on the track. Then, if you're using a trackpad, you can just slide your fingers left and right if you're on a Mac, or you can just use your mouse wheel if you're on a PC. Then you can just scroll through your track that way as well. It's going to feel a little awkward at first, but eventually, you'll get used to it, and it's like second nature. 4. How to Count Bars: So let's go ahead and hit the Tab key to go over to Arrangement View. Or you can just click on this button up here. But I like to use Tab and just get into Arrangement View. As I said before, Arrangement View works a lot like a timeline much like in video editing where you can build tracks and play them from start to finish along the timeline. You can even see the time code here at the bottom, so your track length, basically. Then up here, you can see your bars or your beat time ruler. We can go ahead and zoom in on it. We'll just use our fingers on the trackpad to slide over to the left and you can see the first, second, third, and fourth bars right here. So beats can be counted in fours like 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. Each count of four makes up one bar. So you can turn on the metronome up here at the top-left by clicking on these two little dots. Then we're just going to click on this first little line here on the timeline. Really doesn't matter where in the track you click. Just click there and then you can hit the Play button. Then you can hear the metronome counting along with the bars. Every time we restart at one is a new bar. We can go 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4. Then that was four bars. You can see 1, 2, 3, and 4. The purpose of counting bars is to know where you can start a new section of your song. For example, you can have a two-bar intro, a four-bar verse, a four-bar chorus, and maybe an eight-bar buildup, and then a four-bar drop. Now it doesn't have to exactly be that way, but you typically just want to count in even numbers. If you stop your verse after only three bars and then jump right into the chorus, the listener is going to feel really off-beat and thus won't enjoy your song. Arrangement View is where you're likely going to spend all of your time in Ableton if you're looking to be a producer or an artist. I always describe learning Ableton like learning how to drive a stick shift car, or learning how to stand up on rollerblades or anything else that feels a bit overwhelming the first time you do it. You'll likely feel a bit slow to do simple things at first. But once your brain and your hands get used to doing the same order of operations every time you hop in and make a new song, you'll become faster and more confident in the software until it feels like second nature. 5. MIDI Vs Audio: The last thing we need to talk about before we dive into making our first track is midi versus audio. In every daw, not just Ableton, you can create midi clips and audio clips and each of them have different properties and serve different functions. If you're an electronic music artist, you're going to utilize midi a lot and if you're a recording artist like a professional musician or a singer, you're going to utilize audio a lot. Let's quickly break them both down so you can start using them to create your own music. 6. What is MIDI? (How to Create a Midi Clip): First, you might be wondering what the heck is MIDI? Well, to start, MIDI is short for Musical Instrument Digital Interface. MIDI was created to allow for musical instruments and computers to communicate. You don't even need to have a musical instrument plugged in, in order to use MIDI. Your computer itself can be the instrument. MIDI doesn't create or send any audio signal. It's purely digital information. I'll explain as we create a MIDI clip together. To create a MIDI clip, first, we need a MIDI track. Now, we've actually already got two up here are ready, and we've got two audio tracks, but let's just assume that you don't have any or you've used these and you need a new one. In order to create a new MIDI track, you just go down here into this empty space right here, you're just going to right-click and then hit "Insert MIDI Track", or you can do Shift Command T, or on a PC, it's Shift Control T and then that will create a new MIDI track right here. Let's just go ahead and clean things up here. I'm going to get rid of all these other tracks by holding Shift and then selecting them all. I'm just going to hit "Delete". We've just left with that one MIDI track that we just created. Once you've created that MIDI track, all you need to do is just come over to the timeline, and you can just click and select the amount of bars that you want to create a new MIDI clip for. We're just going to select four bars. You can see we've got 1, 2, 3, and 4. I always typically create a four bar or an eight bar MIDI clip. Then we just go over to this area and we're just going to right-click. Then you can just click on "Insert Empty MIDI Clip", or you can use Shift Command M on a Mac or Shift Control M on a PC. Then this will open up the piano roll, which is for this MIDI clip. You can toggle this on and off by holding the Shift Tab. If you just hold that, you can just move it in and out of view. Then you can just go inside of that clip by just double-clicking on it and that will also open up the same thing. So again, Shift Tab gets rid of it or brings it back up, or you can just double-click. You can move this up and down here as well if you want to. We could put some MIDI notes in here or play them in with an instrument by hitting that record button. If we hit "Play" nothing is going to happen. Let me show you. I'm just going to double-click and put a MIDI note in here. I'm going to just drag this out. Whenever it hovers over to this little bracket symbol, you can just click and drag. We'll just drag that one full bar. Then you can duplicate it by hitting Command D on a Mac or Control D. That's just going to duplicate them across. We'll just do that a couple of more times. Then you can move these up and down the piano roll as you want to. We're just going to put them in completely random places like this. If you hit "Play", nothing's going to happen because there's no actual instrument loaded onto this MIDI track. It's just digital information. Nothing is going to come out. But if I assign an instrument to this track, then it will end up playing these notes in the sound of that instrument. We can change the instrument as many times as we want and it's still going to play these notes and whatever instrument. Let's just come up here to the browser and we'll just type in, let's say, grand piano, for instance. We'll just go down here to "All results". This is how I like to search most things. We'll just grab one of these random ones. Let's just grab this grand piano pad. If I double-click that, it's going to load that into this MIDI track. If you're not sure, just select it and then come over and double-click it. Now if I hit play, [MUSIC] it's now playing the notes in that segment. Again, we can hit Shift Tab, and that pulls up the notes. If we edit this, [MUSIC] it changes in real-time. We're just going to do Command Z and we can change this to anything. We could just come up here and type in bass. Let's just grab [MUSIC] random base, like that one sounds really obnoxious, but you get the idea [MUSIC] Again, Shift Tab. Let's say that bass is too high. Well, we can just click and drag a box or we can just do Command A to select all. Then if you hold Shift and hit the down arrow, you can move that down one octave and if you hit up, it'll go back up an octave. The base currently sounds like this [MUSIC] But if we go down an octave [MUSIC] or down an octave again, with Shift arrow, [MUSIC] sounding a little bit more like a bass. You don't have to just move them into Octave. If you just hit the arrow key up or down, you can move them into a different key. This is currently in the key of C. If we want to move it, we can move it up into a C-sharp and so on. This will just go through the different keys in piano roll. [MUSIC] Maybe you want to create some chords like this [MUSIC] If you don't like them, you can just change them around however you want. I can change that instrument to anything I want and still keep this information in here. That instrument is reading where and when these notes are being triggered as the play-head moves across the time line. [MUSIC] Down here you also have the velocity of each note. If I were to just expand this up a little bit, and let's say I want to just have this entire first chord hit a lot lower. Well, I can just highlight all of those by drawing a box over them. Then I'll just drag this down, let's say to about half, like 50. Then I want the next one to hit pretty hard. The next one, I'm going to draw a box around these is going to hit a little bit softer. Then the last one we'll hit really soft. We'll bring that way down here. Then you can hear. [MUSIC] That is basically simulating how hard somebody's pushing the keys on that piano or whatever instrument it might be. If it's a guitar, It's how hard they're plucking those strings. Let's go ahead and close this with Shift Tab to close that piano roll. Again, if you ever need to create a new MIDI track, just right-click in here and do insert MIDI track or Command Shift T or Shift Control T on a PC. Then you just select the amount of bars that you want to create the track for and do Shift Command M or Shift Control M on a PC. You're going to use this all the time. It's good to commit that to memory. 7. What is Audio? (How to Create an Audio Clip): Now that you know what MIDI is, we can talk about its fraternal twin, audio. And by fraternal, I mean similar but different. Here's what I mean. Audio is sound. This sound is either recorded in by you using a microphone, or an instrument, or it can be pre-recorded, like samples. Samples can be found over here in the "Browser" tab underneath samples, and you can just go ahead and click on that, and it can be anything from a single kick drum, to a brush shot, to atmosphere, to basically any sound that you can think of. But you can tell the difference between a audio sample and MIDI sample by the file type. You've got dot wave, that is going to be an audio sample, same with dot mp3, or dot AIF. Those are going to be audio samples. When you drag it onto the timeline, you can see that it's going to be different than midi. To do that, first, we need to create a new audio track. We're just going to go over here in this empty area, right-click and say, "Insert audio track," or we can just do Command T or Control T. And that's going to create a new audio track, which you can see audio right here, and we're just going to grab a audio file and throw it in here. I'm just going to go up here and let's just search for a snare, for instance. And we can just click through these, and you can also hit to the "Arrow" key, and go down the line I'm just going to grab one like this. If we just drag it in and we just zoom in. If we just click up here in our little beat time ruler, and zoom in, and move over to the left, you can see this is a waveform and it looks a lot different than a MIDI clip up here. This is an audio clip, and it's got the waveform of sound on it. If we solo this, you can hear what it sounds like. Whenever you have an audio clip on the timeline, you can open it by double-clicking on your little bar up here. And again, you can close this by using "Shift" tab, just the same way we did with the piano roll. And if you click in here, nothing's going to happen. You can double-click all in this area and nothing's going to happen. You have to have the little hand symbol, which is whenever you hover over the little bar where the name is. If you double-click, you can open up the audio editor or the clip editor. And inside the clip editor is where you can turn on things like warp, which allows you to change the BPM up here. You can see the default is 120. If you just click, you can drag that up or down to change BPMs, and that's going to warp this clip to whatever that BPM is, or you can pitch it up and down with the pitch knob right here. We've got the current sound, or if we pitch it up, let's say 12 semitones, it's a lot higher, or we can pitch it way down. Sounds a little bit beefier. This is best done with actual notes and not drums, but you get the idea, this is where the pitch is. If you find a certain sample in here that is in the key of C, and you want it to be in C-Sharp, you could just come over here to pitch and just throw it up plus one, and then it will be in C-Sharp. You can raise and lower the gain right here. If your clip is super quiet, and it comes in like this, and you want it to be a little bit louder, you can just beef it up like that. But it would take an entire class to fully go over audio editing alone, but these are the basics that you should know. 8. Let's Make a Track: Now that you know about MIDI versus audio and how to navigate through the basic parts of Ableton's interface, I think the best way to learn the rest is for us to start making your first track together step-by-step because we still have to go through instruments, audio effects, plugins, etc., and that stuff is best learned by actually using them to create from scratch. As I said in the very beginning, this is the track we're going to be creating together today. But you can also change up the chords, the melody, the drums, or whatever you want to make it more your own. If you're ready, let's get started. 9. Create a Drum Rack: There's a ton of different ways to start a song. Some people like to start with the chords, some people like to start with a melody. Some people start with a base line, some start with nothing but ambience sound, and some start with drums. In this case, today, we're going to be starting with the drums. A laser rhythm and a foundation down that we're going to use for the rest of the song. To get started, let's just go ahead and get a whole new project open. We're going to go up here to Live and we're going to say New Live Set. It's going to ask if we want to save changes to this. We're just going to say no, Don't Save. Again, we automatically get put into Session View. Let's just hit that "Tab" key and then get into Arrangement View. First, we have to start with a MIDI track, which we have right here already. We have two MIDI tracks and two audio tracks. Let's just go ahead and select that MIDI track and we've got to create a drum rack. Let's just go over here to the browser and type in a drum rack. Then we're just going to go over to all results. You should see drum rack up at the top. Just go ahead and double-click, or you can just click and drag that onto this layer. That's going to throw in a drum rack right down here. Now, before we go any further, I want to show you how to save, because we're going to be saving throughout this process. Right now we just have an untitled track. Let's just go ahead and go up to File and we're going to Save Live Set As. I like to save mine in my documents and then I've got a whole folder for that called Ableton. I like to create a whole new folder for each project. I'm going to click on "New Folder" and I'm just going to call this My First Track. Then just say Create. I'll just double-click that. Then I'm going to also say My First Track appears as Save As. Then I'm just going to save that. The reason I create a whole new folder is because any samples that we use when we downloaded something from the Internet that we want to use in our track, that's all going to get put inside of that one folder and anything else I might want to throw in there. I just like to have everything organized into one folder. Let's go ahead and finish with our drum rack. Once we have this drum rack, we can load different audio samples into these different boxes down here and trigger them through a MIDI clip. First, let's just create a MIDI clip. We're just going to zoom in and then we're just going to drag four bars like that. Then we're just going to do Command Shift M to create a new MIDI clip or Control Shift M if you're on a PC. Then just hit "Shift-Tab" to get rid of that so that we can see our drum rack again. Let's just go ahead and put in a kick drum to start. We're going to go up to the little browser and we're going to type in kick and then we're just going to go over to samples. Or you can do all results. Then you can just grab whatever kick [MUSIC] that you want to put in here. [MUSIC] I'm just hitting the down arrow. But I'm going to search for, let's say kick 909 [MUSIC] because I really like the 909 drum kick. [MUSIC] It's a nice big thump-beat kick. I'm going to click and drag that and I'm going to drag it down to the C1 section. You can drag it to any one of these, I just like to start with C1. Then you can just hit the "Play" button [MUSIC] and we can play our kick. Now if we go into our MIDI clip. If we double-click right here when it turns into a hand or we just do Shift-Tab, we can now lay out some kicks here. We're going to do a kick on every downbeat. We're going to start the downbeat and we're just going to lay down a kick on each one. The one, twos, threes, and fours. [MUSIC] Now they're a little bit soft and that's because our velocity down here is a bit low. Let's just go ahead and select all those by clicking and dragging a box. We're going to hit "Command" and then we're just going to hover over any one of these kicks. We're going to click and drag up, and you can see that number increases and decreases. You can see the velocity going up and down at the bottom. We're going to make it pretty heavy, like around a 100. A 102, that'll work. Then now what we're going to do is just hit "Command D" and that's to duplicate all these kicks. Now it's going to duplicate it right at the end of that last kick. What you want to do is just grab it and then put it over here. Again, if we just click and drag all of these, and if you click and drag right where that thing starts at that little number 3 line, it's going to grab that extra space too. Once I grab all these, I can let go, hit "Command D". Now it's going to include that space that I grabbed with that little box. Now we've got to kick drum at every single beat. [MUSIC] You can loop this whole thing because right now if we just play it, [MUSIC] it just goes off-screen. You can see it just keeps playing here when there's nothing. You can loop this if you want, by clicking up here in the little area that has the name or the bar up here. Then you can just hit "Command L", or you can just select this little button up here. Whenever that's yellow and this loop brace is around this clip, it's going to get to the end and start right back to the beginning. [MUSIC] It would go on forever if you let it. Now that we have a kick drum, we need a snare in here. Let's get some rhythm going. We're just going to go up here and type in snare. Again, [MUSIC] we can just go down the list [MUSIC] and just select whatever snare that we want. I'm going to go with again the 909 kick. I'm going to type in snare 909. [MUSIC] I'm just going to grab this one. Again, Shift-Tab to close this whole area here so that we can see our drum rack. Then we're just going to click and drag that in, to this C-sharp section, which again, you can drag it into any one of these if you want. I just like to keep them in order. I'm just going to put it there. Now, Shift-Tab to open this backup. Now, let's put a snare on every other, so let's put it on the twos and the fours. You've got the 1.2, 1.4, 2.2, 2.4. It would be snare, [MUSIC] snare. You would just double-click, I should say. Let's just put one on every single two and four. Now, [MUSIC] sounding pretty good. But you can layer snares to make them sound a little bit fuller and have a little bit more punch or maybe a little more thump, whatever sound you want to go to. A lot of EDM artist layer snares. I'm also going to layer it with a clap. I'm going to type in clap and there's some pretty good ones in here. [MUSIC] But again, I'm going to grab that 909. Again, Shift-Tab and just click and drag this down into that d spot. Then Shift-Tab again. Instead of adding a new one by double-clicking, what we can do is just click this little black key right here and that's going to highlight every single one in this whole row. Whenever you click that, you can see a little box pops up and it highlights all of them. Now you can just click and hold on "Option" and then click and drag that up. Then let go of the mouse and then let go of Option. If you just click and hold Option and drag up, that will duplicate all of these. Now [MUSIC] our snares is sounding a little thump here because you've got the snare, which you can't hear these right now if you don't have this little headphone thing clicked, it's really weird. I'm not sure why it does this. It should pretty much always be clicked. I love it to have it on. But whenever you click that on, you can then hear this. [MUSIC] Now we've got our beat. [MUSIC] Let's just add a little bit more movement to it with a hat in-between every beat. Let's just go up here and grab a hat. This is a hi-hat sound. [MUSIC] Let's go with a closed hat. I'm liking that one. Shift-Tab and I'm just going to click, drag this down here. Just like that. Then Shift-Tab again to open this backup. Now let's just add this in the middle by double-clicking between the kick and the snare. It'll go [MUSIC] like that. Let's just add one between all of these. If we just do it for this first bar here, we can just click over here and drag a box around those hats. I'll just do Command-D a couple of times and then that is going to duplicate that hat all the way across. [MUSIC] Now we've got some movement going. Let's keep going down that movement train and let's add some shakers. We're going to type in shaker up here. Shakers sound like this. [MUSIC] I'm going to grab the shaker, reverb, electrified. But you can grab any shaker that you want, whatever one sounds good to you, or you can just grab one of those loops and just throw it right onto an audio track. But I'm going to grab this one and do Shift-Tab. I'm just going to drag that down into this E1 slot, and then Shift-Tab again. I'm just going to double-click on the first downbeat. I'm going to drag that out to basically make it double the size because I want to include a little bit of space between these. I'm just going to hit "Command-D" and hold that until it goes all the way across like that. Now we've got [MUSIC] sound a lot better now. I don't want those quite as loud. I want them to be a little bit more subtle. I'm going to click on this little white area and highlight all of these and then hold Command to change that velocity. I'm going to bring that velocity down a bit to let's say about there. [MUSIC] It's a little more subtle and you can see it gets a little bit darker whenever you drag that velocity down, meaning it's not quite as bright and prominent in this mix. Now let's just go grab one more hat for a little bit more movement. This is more of a subtle thing that's felt more than heard. I'm going to type in hat, and I'm just going to grab this hat number 2, it's an open hat. I'm going to just hit "Shift-Tab" and then drag this down here into the F1 slot. Then Shift-Tab again to open this back up. I'm just going to double-click here. I'm going to make this maybe a little bit higher in velocity, just a little bit. I'm going to hit "Command". [MUSIC] Drag that up just a tiny bit like a 60, and then just duplicate this all the way across the board. Now [MUSIC] we got a lot more movement going. Sounded a lot better. That's going to be the main drums for the drop in our track. Let's just go ahead and hit "Command-S" to save our project. 10. Create a Bass Line: In order to make a really good song, you typically have to make a ton of bad songs first. Ed Sheeran, whom I'm sure you've heard of, describes writing music like turning on an old nasty faucet. You have to let all the bad crap flow out first before you get to the clean water. In other words, you have to make a ton of bad music in order to learn what doesn't work so that you can learn how to make good music. In my personal experience, every track that I've ever liked that I've made, always had one thing in common. They had a really solid bassline that worked perfectly with the drums. If you have solid drums and bass, the rest is easy. It's like a bed for the rest of the elements of the song to sit on top of. Why describe it like a bed? It's because bass covers the low frequencies in music. The thing about low frequencies is that they are felt more than they're heard. Does this mean that you don't want to hear the bassline? Of course not. But it means that getting a good bass that works with the rhythm and the sound of the drums is going to determine a lot of what people feel when they listen to your song. Music is all about feeling. So, let's go ahead and create a bassline. In order to create a bassline, we're going to need to start with a MIDI track. I'm going to do ''Shift'' tab to get out of this. We've already got a MIDI track right here. If you don't, you can just come down here and right-click, hit ''Insert MIDI Track''. But I'm going to go ahead and use this one and I'm going to create a four-bar MIDI track by clicking and dragging and then doing ''Shift'' command ''M''. That's going to create a new MIDI clip. Now, let's go grab ourselves a bass. You can just go up here and type in bass. Then you can search through all the different ones. You can go over to instruments. You've got tons of bass instruments in here. If you need to see more of this, you can just do ''Shift'' tab to close that window. You've got all basses in here. [MUSIC] I'm going to go with one called B7 bass. Right here [MUSIC]. I'm just going to double-click that and make sure that this track is highlighted first. So, just double-click. Then that's going to load that in right here. Now let's go ahead and put in our MIDI notes. We're just going to click on this clip right here whenever it becomes a little hand and then do "Shift" tab to bring up the piano roll. To make this super simple and fun, just go ahead and click on all of these different keys here and just decide which one sounds the best to you; whichever has a feeling in you, whatever one sparks joy, let's say. [MUSIC] I think I'm going to go with E. I like the sound of E. Once you pick the key that you like, let's just go ahead and write in major. The major scale can be done with wholes and halves or with ones and twos. The major scale is whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half, or 2, 2, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1. Now if you don't know music theory, this may sound ridiculous, so let me break it down even further. We're going to go ahead and just lay out the keys in here that we are allowed to play in the key of E major. We're just going to start with E. We're just going to double-click and put one on E or whichever key that you've picked. Now we're just going to move through the scale. We've got whole. It means we skip one and go to the next one. This is a whole step, or in this case two. You skip one and go to two, and then another whole. We skip one, go to the next one. This is a whole, whole and then a half. That means we just go one. It's whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. This is the entire major scale in E. You could change it to whatever you want. If you just want to grab all of these, you can move them up or down. This is the D major scale, there's the D-sharp major scale. It really doesn't matter as long as you're going with whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. I'm going to go back to E because I want to write this song in E. Once you've clicked all these notes in, all you have to do is just hit the left arrow key and that's going to move them off the grid so that whenever you hit play, it's not going to play those notes. These are just a guide. Or if you want, you could also come over here into the clip window and click on ''Scale'', and then just change this C here to whatever key that yours is in. I'm going to go with E, and I'm going to leave it on major. But you can also change it to any one of these. Again, this is not a music theory course. I'm not going to go into all this, but you've got your majors and minors up here. But I'm going to stick to major.. You can see that all of my major keys have been highlighted. As you can see, whole, whole, half, whole, whole, whole, half. But I don't really love having all these lines on the screen, so I'm just going to go ahead and turn it off.. I'm just keep these keys here for reference. Let's go ahead and create a bassline. For the first note, I always, usually like to start with the root note, which is E. I'm going to double-click and put an E in here. I'm just going to click and drag this note all the way to the Number 2 mark right here. [MUSIC] Then you want to just pick whatever other note in here in the scale that you want to put in. We could go with F sharp, we could go with G-sharp, A, any one of these. I could put in an A and it will sound like this. [MUSIC] If you want to play from the beginning, you can just go ahead and click your play head here in the beginning. [MUSIC] But to me that's going up a little too high. I think I'm going to go down a bit and drag this down to say a B, which is also in scale. If you want, you can also just grab all these notes. Then you can just hit "Option", grab the top one, and duplicate them. We just want to put that right back on the E. Now again, these are all also in scale here. As you can see, this B is in scale. This is the exact same scale. It's just an octave lower than this one. Now I'm also going to put one on, let's say C-sharp. [MUSIC] Let's just play from the beginning. [MUSIC] That's sounding pretty good so far. Let's do maybe one more. Let's do the A. We can go ahead and play this. [MUSIC] [MUSIC] That's got a cool feel to it. Now in this song, we want this bass to pulse. What we're going to do is grab this and go all the way back and make it small again. We're just going to hit Command D and just hold that, and then just keep clicking until you've filled out that whole bar here. Then it sounds like this. [MUSIC] It's a little more clicky. It's a little more fun. It moves with those drums a lot more. We're just going to grab this and we're going to hit Option, and we're just going to duplicate and do that B. Again, option, click, drag, let go, and then we're going to do that one there, that C-sharp. Then we're also going to do the A. Now it's going to sound like this. [MUSIC] Sounding pretty cool so far, but we need to have a little bit more to the bass. Let's add another layer to this bass. What we're going to do is hit Shift Tab so we can get back to our timeline. Let's just first organize this. The bass, I like to usually make red. You can make whatever color you want. But if you just right-click here in this little track here, and then you just click on whatever color that you want, it's going to change that track to that color. Then again, just do the same for the clip. So just right-click and change it to whatever color you want. I like to make drums blue, so I'm going to turn that to blue. Again this clip to blue. Then let's go ahead and just duplicate this bass so we can add another layer to make it sound fuller. We're just going to right-click and say duplicate. Let's make sure we're clicked on the bottom track here. I'm just going to go over here and search for another bass. You can just go down the list if you want. I've got one in mind that I want to use. I'm going to type in saw filter bass, [MUSIC] and it sounds like that. It's got a little bit more of a growl to it, so I'm just going to click on that, sorry, double-click. Now we can come over here and solo this track. I'll hit the S. Let's just click on it and then hit Play. [MUSIC] Then we'll do Command or Control, and we'll hit this S as well. Now we've soloed both of these tracks. [MUSIC] That sounded pretty good. Now, I think we need another layer. Let's go ahead and duplicate this one again. We'll just do right-click duplicate. Now we've got a third layer here and we're just going to solo it. We're going to click back on this layer and I'm going to go ahead and change this to a multi-saw pluck. I like the sound. We'll just go to all results. We've got it right here. [MUSIC] I'm going to double-click. That sounds like this. [MUSIC] Now it's a little too high, so I'm going to bring that an octave down. So I'm going to do Shift Tab, and then I'm going to do Command A to select all. I'm going to move it down. [MUSIC] That sounded pretty cool. It's got a little bit more of a growl and deepness to it. But instead, I'm going to create a little bit more of a variance to the rhythm by taking the first note and I'm just going to extend that out four times. Instead of four of these little notes, we're going to do one in each quarter of a bar. We're just going to do this one and do Command D. We've got four of them in an entire bar here. Then same with the rest of these. We can just draw a box. Then we're just going to do Option, click and drag. Option, click and drag. Option, click and drag. Now we've got this sound, [MUSIC] which is sounding pretty cool. Let's do Shift Tab to get out of here. Then instead of soloing all three of these individually like this, we can make it easy and just group them altogether since they're all basses anyway. So just click the top one and then hold Shift, and then click the bottom one, and we've got all three of these selected. Then we're just going to do Command G or Control G if you're on a PC. This is going to put them all into a group, which we can rename if we want. If you do Command R or Control R on a PC, you can rename it. We're just going to say BASS in all caps, and then that way we can just solo this whole group, [MUSIC] which is sounding a lot better. But I want that bottom one to be a little bit louder. [MUSIC] I'm going to go over here to the volume for that one track. I'm just going to bring it up just a little bit. [MUSIC] Let's go ahead and do one last thing and add some character to that bass. This bottom one, we're going to add a automation to the frequency. It's going to give it a little bit of movement as it's going through these four different notes. Let me show you what I mean. If you've got your loop brace on up here, we can just loop this endlessly. We'll just click on this one clip and we'll just loop it. I'm going to change the frequency filter down here on the multi-saw pluck, and that's going to make the sound a lot different. Let's go ahead and just solo this so we can hear just this one track. I'm going to click and you can hear what I'm talking about now. [MUSIC] I'm going to move it up, and then back down, and then slowly move up. It adds a little bit more character to that bass as it's moving through the track. I'm going to do Command Z and go back to normal. Let's just set this starting out at around 70. Now let's automate it to move up as it goes through the track. 11. How to Use Automation: Automation is a really useful skill in Ableton. Here's how to do it. We're going to keep this set at 70, and then we're just going to hit ''A'' on the keyboard. If for some reason that is not working, just go up here, and you're just going to hit this little keyboard button here and then hit ''A.'' What that's going to do is turn on automation lines. So whichever one of these you touch, you're going to get a new automation line here. If I touch the decay, it's already at 126. You can see that line is very high on this track. But if we do the filter frequency, it's somewhere around 70 percent, which, in this case, is about the middle for this metric. What we're going to do is make sure we touch that first, and then we're just going to put a dot, it could be anywhere on here, just like that, and then click and drag that dot all the way to the left so it's at the start. Then what we're going to do is add another dot here at the very end, so just click. Then we're just going to move that up like this. We'll go all the way up to, let's say, 100, like that. Somewhere around 100. It doesn't have to be perfect. Then now, if we click anywhere on this clip and hit ''Play,'' [MUSIC] so you can hear it changing as it's going across these four bars. Now, I actually want this to maybe start a little bit lower, so we'll just set a new one, let's say around 50 or so. Now what we're going to do is make this into a curve, because it just goes up gradually. But you can actually have it stay pretty low and then just ramp up at the end. Here's what I mean. Just hold Option, and you're going to get this little curved looking icon whenever you touch that. If you just hold Option and then click and drag down or up, you're going to get this little bendy line. What we're going to do is go down and create a bend at the very end there, like this. Now when we hit "Play," so it really ramps up there at the end, which sounds a lot cooler, in my opinion. You can do automation with almost any metric in Ableton. As long as you touch it first and then hit ''A'', you'll have an automation line that you can play with. 12. Create Chords For Emotion: Now that we have a baseline, this is going to help us create some chords, to add some more feeling and emotion into our track. Chords are basically just notes being harmonized with one another to create a richer and fuller sound. They typically change throughout a four-bar loop. You can have major chords, which feel happy. Minor chords, which feels sad. Diminished chords, which add tension. And several more. But this course is about Ableton and less about music theory, so I won't go too deep. All you need to know is that if you have a solid baseline, you can typically create really nice chords out of these existing notes. Let me show you how. To get started, let's just go ahead and turn off anything that we might have soloed. In this case, I've got this one soloed. Let's also turn off our automation by hitting A. If you can't hit that for any reason, it's probably because this little piano button is turned on. This allows you to play the keyboard as if it was a piano, and if that's on. You want to turn it off, so that you can actually use the keys to trigger things in Ableton. First, let's just go ahead and take one of our baselines. Let's just take this top one. We're just going to hit "Duplicate", so right-clicking, Duplicate. Then we're just going to grab one of those duplicates. We're just going to drag it outside of the base group. Just click and drag, and let go. Let's just change the color. We can just change it to literally anything. I'm going to go ahead and just do this light blue color. Actually, let's do something a little bit more obvious. Let's do a pink. We'll just go over here, change it to pink. These are going to be our chords. First and foremost, let's change the instrument. I'm going to change this instrument to, let's say a pad. I'm going to go up here to the browser, and you can just type in pad. You're going to have tons of different pads. If you go over to Instruments. You can go inside of these. You can hear all the different ones. I'm going to go with, let's say a detuned sustain pad. We're just going to go into Operator , and just grab that. That's got a nice sound to it. I'm going to make sure that this track is selected. Double-click, or you can just click and drag and throw that here into the Instruments. Now if we solo this layer, you're not going to hear anything. Well, why is that? It's probably because your notes are too low on the piano roll. Let's just go in here. Let's just click on here and do Shift Tab. We've got these notes here, and they're all the way down on the first octave. It's probably too low for this instrument. We're just going to click anywhere in here and do Command A or Control A. We're going to do Shift, and move this up an octave, and hit "Play". You're starting to hear it now. But the reason is really because we've got all these stuttered notes. It doesn't have time for the instrument to actually trigger the sound. What we're going to do is just take the first note. We're just going to drag that all the way out like that. We'll just do this for every single one. We've got one single note on every single bar. Just like that. Now if we hit "Play" [MUSIC] sounding a lot better. Let's actually move these down one more octave. Because we're going to be creating chords and we need some room to work with. I'm going to do Command A, and then Shift down, and move those down one. [MUSIC] Those are nice bass notes for these chords. Once you have your bass notes, which are the exact same ones we actually used for the bass, we can now create some chords. First off, just click anywhere to de-select all. Then we're just going to click and drag a box around just these bass notes. Because remember, you have these notes in here that are just your guides. They're not actually being used for anything. Just make sure you've got these four notes selected. We're just going to do Option, and just hold it. Click and drag, and we're going to go up seven semitones. So 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. Now, all of these notes are in key. If we hit "Play" [MUSIC] sounding a bit more full now, it's got a little bit more emotion to it. Now we can decide whether to make these majors, or minors, or sus chords, whatever we choose. Really, what that means is you can work with any of the notes that are in-between the bass note and then the note that you just created. Here we've got our E and our B. We could add, let's say, A a G-Sharp or an F-Sharp. Let's just go ahead and do a G-Sharp, because that's going to make this a major. Let's just click and drag that all the way out. Majors are created whenever you have four notes above the root note, and then three after that note. So you've got 1, 2, 3 and then 4 is our G, and then 1, 2, 3. A minor would be three and then four. If we move this down one, we would go 1, 2, 3, and then 1, 2, 3, 4 and then that would be a minor. But that's not in key. We're going to go ahead and do a major, which sounds like this. [MUSIC] Sounding a lot more full now. Let's go ahead and do that for all of these. You can just do Option, and just click and drag that over here. We'll just select a new note for any of these. We can try different ones. Let's try, let's say sus 4. You don't have to know what that means, all you have to know is that you can do any of the notes that are in-between this F-sharp and this B. We've got an E. We could do a D-Sharp, or we could do a C-Sharp. We'll likely end up going with an E. But let's try them out. [MUSIC] That sounds pretty nice. Let's maybe do a D-Sharp. [MUSIC] Also, not bad. Let's try a C-Sharp. [MUSIC] That's not bad either. I'm liking either the E or the C-Sharp. I think I'm going to go with the E. Let's do these other two here. I'm just going to do them really quick. [NOISE] Now I've got some chords created, which sounds like this. [MUSIC] Now let's make them sound even better. Let's go a step further. What we're going to do is take the middle note of every single one of these chords. We're going to select this one, and then hold Shift, and select that one, this one, and this one, so all the middle notes. Then we're just going to hold Shift again, and then hit the up arrow key. That's going to raise them up. It's going to give it a little bit more flavor. They're just one octave up, but they're still in key and they're creating a chord. [MUSIC] Sounded pretty cool. Now what we're going to do is grab the bass notes again, so all the lowest notes. Let's make the sound even fuller. What we're going to do is, we're going to click "Option", and then click and drag these down, and then just let go. What we're going to do is do Shift down, to go down one octave, and then we're going to go back up one semitone. Really, we just went down one octave. You got your E2 here, then E1 here, or whatever your root note will be. Now when you hit Play, [MUSIC] it's real subtle. You may not even hear these notes, but we're just going to go ahead and leave them in. Just depends on whatever instrument that you ended up picking. If you're having trouble seeing all your notes, you can come over here, to where it turns into an hour-glass, and then just click and drag to the left or the right, to zoom in. I'm going to go right there. I can see at least all of our top notes here. The last thing we're going to do is just add a little bit of, I call them sugar and spice notes, just things that add a little bit of extra flavor to each one of these chords. The first thing I like to do is take the root note, which is our E2 right here. Yours might be something different. We're just going to duplicate that with Command D, all the way across the board. That sounds like this. [MUSIC] The last thing is, we're just going to come in here. This is a free-for-all to select any one extra note for each of these chords that just sounds good and harmonizes in key. Here's an example. This is the first chord. [MUSIC] I could just add a little bit more by adding just one more E, [MUSIC] or maybe I want to try a D-Sharp. [MUSIC] Adds a different sound to it, but I think I'm going to stick with the E. The second chord I'm going to pick, let's say maybe a B. I'll add a B in here. [MUSIC] This will sound different if you drag it up or down. [MUSIC] But I like the B. This is all up to you. There's really no rule to this, just whatever you think sounds good, as long as it's in key. Then I'm going to do a C-Sharp here, and then maybe an A here. My final chord sound like this. [MUSIC] So much fuller and full of life. The last thing we're going to do is duplicate this track, and just add a piano with these same chords. I'm going to do Shift Tab. We're going to come over here and right-click and duplicate. We're just going to grab this bottom one, and we can just solo it. Click on that bottom one. Let's just go over here and type in, let's say, Grand piano. Then you can just go to All results. Let's just grab a regular grand piano. Sounds like that. We're just going to double-click. Now that sounds like this. [MUSIC] It's got so much emotion to it. When we play it together with our pad, by hitting Command and soloing that, sounds like this. [MUSIC] Sounds so nice. 13. Create a Lead Melody: Now we get to move on to a really fun and one of the most important parts, creating a lead melody. Why is the melody so important? Well, because a melody is a succession of pitches in rhythm. Not only does it carry a tune up and down the key of your song, but it also does it in rhythm to the song. When someone refers to a song as being so catchy or getting stuck in their head, they're referring to the melody. This is most commonly the melody of the vocals being sung, but it can also be the melody of the lead sound. If you've ever heard levels by Avicii [MUSIC] you'll know exactly what I mean. Let's go ahead and create one. First thing to do to create a melody. What we're going to do is just grab one of our bass tracks here. Again, we're just going to duplicate it. Then just grab one of those duplicates. We're just going to drag that out of the base group. Now this is going to be where we start our melody. We're going to make this into a different color. I like to do yellow for melodies, but you can choose whatever color you want. Right-click, and then bring that to yellow. Now let's change the instrument. I'm going to use the same pluck that we used down in the base. I'm going to type in multi saw pluck [NOISE] and I'm going to use that one. I'm just going to make sure that this track is selected and double-click. Now if we solo [MUSIC] sounds a lot like our baseline that we created earlier. So what we're going to do is move these up a couple of octaves, and we're going to actually get rid of them and just start with a fresh melody. First just click on the clip over here on this little bar and do Shift Tab. That's going to open up our piano roll. And what we'll do is just click anywhere and do Command A, and then we're going to do shift and up [NOISE] and move these up a little bit [MUSIC] Now, let's just go ahead and get rid of all of these. Make sure you click off and then draw a box [NOISE] and get rid of all of them. That way we still have our guide notes. Again, we are writing in the key of E. We basically start here and we can go up or we can go down, but this is our root note. What I like to do when creating a melody is just solo the drums and the bass and our melody obviously. We've got Shift Tab to get out of this. We've got our melody track which is already soloed, but it has nothing on it yet. Then we're going to command and hit S to solo the bass. We're also going to come up and solo the drums. Now let's just go back into our melody clips. We're just going to click on that and do Shift Tab. Let's just go ahead and start creating. You can almost start randomly by clicking anywhere in key here and just start creating what feels right to you. There's really no rule to creating melodies other than just trying to stay in key. I'll just going to put one on the F-sharp. [NOISE] Let's say maybe one on the E. [NOISE] We want to stay in a rhythm. We've got [MUSIC] let's maybe do that again, [MUSIC] like this [MUSIC] But let's make it a little bit different. Lets just grab all these [NOISE] bottom ones and we'll just shift them to the left by hitting the arrow key. You can do left, [NOISE] up, down, whatever you want. We're going to go to the left. [MUSIC] Sounding a little bit like that. Now let's maybe change one of these so it's a little bit different. Lets just grab this last one. [NOISE] I'm going to bring it up. This is all subjective. It can be as creative as you want it to be [MUSIC] Please excuse me imitating This is just part of the music process is mouthing what you want it to do. Let's just add a little bit more change. I'm going to grab this last E and let's just move it to the right one [MUSIC] Now we want to change because we've got a different chord in each one of these bars here. Let's just start with some E. [NOISE] When in doubt, just start with the root note. [NOISE] I like the way this is actually sounding. Let's just go ahead and do that for these. [NOISE] I'm going to drag these over to the left, [NOISE] same with this. Let's add a whole extra one so it's a little bit faster [MUSIC] Let's do the same with this [NOISE] Let's maybe drag this one [NOISE] up here. Maybe like this [MUSIC] That sounded a lot better. Now just feel free to freestyle the rest, but it's best to stick to this pattern that you've got going. If you've got this pattern, and then all sudden [NOISE] you do some kind of craziness [NOISE] like this, it's going to throw the listener off a little bit because they're expecting this rhythm. You can get weird and creative as long as you're sticking to somewhat of a theme with your melody. [NOISE] I'm just going to finish out the rest. I've got something like this [MUSIC] Now we've got our melody. Now let's just layer it and make it sound more full. I'm going to do Shift Tab to get out of this. We're just going to come up here and we're just going to solo our one track here, which is our melody. We're just going to duplicate it. Now that it's duplicated, you can change either one of these. I'm just going to change the one that's soloed already so I'm going to select that top one. Then I'm going to change the instrument. I'm going to come up here to the browser and I'm going to look for another pluck. Plucks are really good thing to use for melodies. I'm going to type in pluck and go to instruments. You've got all kinds of different plucks. [NOISE] But I know the one I'm going to use, it's called subtle look pluck. I'm just going to go ahead and grab it. [NOISE] Sounds like that. [NOISE] It doesn't matter which one of these you grab. [NOISE] I'm going to make sure this is highlighted. Double-click. Now, it sounds like this [MUSIC] and together they sound like this [MUSIC] That bottom one is real loud, so which just turn that down a little bit here. Then let's just add one more layer. I'm going to just duplicate this one again. We'll just go down here and make sure we solo just this one. Let's just change this to a piano. I'm going to do an electric piano [NOISE] like that. [NOISE] It sounds like this. [MUSIC] Together, it sounds like this [MUSIC] Feel free to play with the volumes here to get a mix that you really like because all three of these sounds are creating one main lead. In honor of that, we're going to create a group. Let's just un-solo this. Let's just grab that top one, shift, hit the bottom one, and then just do Command G, and that's going to create a new group. We'll just do Command R or Control R if you're on a PC. We'll just rename this to lead like that. Now we can solo our whole lead [MUSIC]. 14. Add FX and Ambience: Now that we've got the meat and potatoes built for our track, let's add some spice to the mix. These are more of the smaller details that are felt underneath the track rather than heard on top. Ambiance is just any monotone sound that adds texture and tone and atmosphere to your track. Effects are things like risers, down lifters on a drop, or sweeps before a new instrument is introduced. Let's throw some of these in here. First, let's go ahead and throw in some impacts. We're going to be doing this with audio. We're going to come down here to our audio channels, and if you don't have one, just right-click down here and say "Insert audio track". But we've already got two of them here that are empty so I'm just going to use these. I like to make the effects, and ambiance green. I'm going to do green here. Let's just start with that. I'm going to un-solo, so I'm just going to click on this and then unclick, that way we can hear our full track. Let's go ahead and add some impacts. Let's just click on this layer, I'm going to come up here to the browser and type in impact, and then we'll just go click on Samples, then you can hear [MUSIC] all the different impacts. You may have less than this because I've downloaded a bunch of packs, and stuff with cool impacts. But we're just going to stick with some pretty generic ones so let's just go with [MUSIC] maybe these, Let's do impact current. We'll just click, and drag right into here. We want it to happen right at the start [MUSIC] It's a bit loud so let's just go ahead, and bring it down. [MUSIC] Bring it all the way down to a negative nine, and then let's just duplicate this. Right-click, duplicate. We'll just go ahead and grab this one and hit "Delete". Then let's grab another one because we want to layer of some impacts. We'll do this. Now we've got this one which will solo, and this one, and together. I've got a nice heavy hit to it so this is right when the drop hits. That's what you're going to hear underneath the track. Let's also add a little bit of reverb to these. I'm just going to solo this one. I'm going to go over here, and I'm going to just bring up this reverb like that, and same with this one, let's solo it. Give it a little bit of reverb. [NOISE] Now let's also add a crash. I'm just going to un-solo this, duplicate this bottom layer one more time so right-click, duplicate. It will just delete this clip. Then we'll go up here and type in crash. I'm going to do a crash 909. [NOISE] Because we've done a lot of 909 drums in here. We'll just stick with the same crash. We'll just drag that in. [NOISE] Again, we can just add some reverb [NOISE] like that [MUSIC] it's a bit loud, so let's bring that way down [MUSIC] We'll also just create a group so we can hear just these effects by themselves. We'll just select this top one, select this bottom one with shift, and then we'll just do Command G or Control G will just solo this. Then you can play with the levels [MUSIC] Then lastly, we're just going to add some ambiance. These are effects, and let's just add some ambiance. Ambiance is just going to be one tone that's underneath this whole thing. It's really subtle, but it's used best in the intros to songs or the verses, anything that's a bit quieter and less instruments, but it's also good to throw into the drop as well. Let's just go ahead, and do a new midi track. We'll just do insert midi track down here. Again, we're also going to make this green, maybe a different color green, like a darker one so we can tell which ones are effects, which ones are ambiance. Then we'll just drag this into the same effects group, which we're also going to come up to this group, and rename it. Just click on the group, command R or control R. We're just going to rename this effects like that. Now, let's add in our ambience. I'm just going to draw a whole Midi-clip around all four bars, and then do Shift Command M to create a new Midi-clip. Or you can just right-click and insert an empty Midi-clip. Now, I'm just going to grab my root note, which is E, but you can do whatever root note that you had so I'm just going to do E and drag that all the way across, just one note the entire time. Then I'm also going to duplicate that. I'm going to bring it down an octave as well. So all the way to E2, so I've got E3 and E2, which if we solo this, nothing's going to happen because we don't have an instrument in here yet. Let's just go ahead, and just bring that all the way to the end. Just go ahead and add an instrument. So just come up here to the browser and we're going to type in, I'm going to do a muted soft shimmer pad. We're just going to go to instruments. I'm just going to grab that here underneath pad. [NOISE] Got a nice sound to it, so you can either drag it right over here onto the clip or you can double-click. Now that we've got that in there, it sounds like this. Solo. Here we go [MUSIC] Just one tone all the way across and it's in our root node. Now we've got all of our effects and ambiance, and it sounds like this in our track [MUSIC] just adds a little bit more life to our track. 15. Create an Intro, Verse, & Buildup: Lastly, let's create a buildup before our main drop or our course hits. A buildup will help signify to your listener that something big and cool is coming. It also introduces some of these instruments and layers that we've already created so that the listener isn't completely bombarded by a ton of new sounds all at once and your drop. So let's make a buildup. But the first thing I want to do is actually change my BPM because we're still at 120, which is the base of the project. Dance music, I like to do around 124, 126, 128, somewhere in there. I'm going to go with 124 for this project. I'm going to click up here at the BPM, double-click and type 124, and then just click off, and that's going to make things a bit faster. First thing we're going to do to create a buildup is move our drop to where we want it to happen. So what I'm going to do is go up here to the little hourglass. I'm just going to zoom out a bit like this. I'm going to scroll all the way to the top, and I'm going to grab right here. I'm not going to click on the clip itself, I'm going to go just underneath it. Click and drag an entire box all the way to the bottom like this. You might have to move the mouse around to get it all the way to the bottom. Once you've got everything in your entire project selected, let's just go ahead and move this over. I'm going to move this, let's say over to the 21st bar right here. It doesn't have to be exact, but counting backwards, this is about where I want it to happen, but it's better to be further out here than to be too close and have to move everything back again. I'm going to start it over here. Then that way we can do an intro in here, maybe a verse in these eight bars here, and then maybe a buildup in here. Now that we've got everything moved over, let's also, while it's still highlighted, go ahead and hit Command D to duplicate it right next to itself, so now we have eight bars of a drop. Then what we're going to do is just get rid of some of these drums, and we're going to keep just the kicks going in the beginning here, and then the snares are going to come in on the second half. We're going to go ahead and set our loop brace over here. We're just going to drag it over, and then we'll just expand it to be over the whole thing, and make sure that your loop is engaged right here, and we're going to go into these drums, so we're just going to click right here and we're going to do Shift Tab, and we're just going to click on our snares and our claps, and we're just going to click in the white or black key right here to select all of them, and we're just going to hit "Delete", or you can hit "Zero" to just turn them off, which I like to do just in case I ever want to put them back. I'm going to click on the black and do zero, so that way they won't play, so if we solo this, all you hear is the kicks and the shakers and the hats. I think I'll even turn off these hats as well, and then that way whenever you play the drops, I'm going to unsolo this. You'll hear the drop will play with just the kicks and then the snares and everything will come in on the second half. Now you can see it's a full drop, but we've got a little bit of change on the second half, that add just adds a little bit more percussion and rhythm. Now let's just hit Shift Tab to go back into our project, and we're going to start with the chords for the intro. We're going to make that go all the way through the intro, the verse, and the buildup, so we're just going to go ahead and grab both the pad and the grand piano down here, so just click, hold shift, click the bottom one. Then what we're going to do is just hold down Option, and we're going to click and drag all the way over to the beginning and then let go. Then just hit Command D. Just do that a couple of times so it fills out this entire area here, and for the intro, we just want the pad. We're actually going to delete this little grand piano chords here, so that we just have this sound. Let's also take the melody and drag that over here for the intro as well. I'm going to grab the top one here, this little subtle pluck. I'm going to just grab that clip and I'm going to do Option, click and drag that over to the intro as well, so we start with this that's solo. That is how our track is going to start. We'll also bring that ambiance down there as well, so let's just go ahead and grab our little ambiance that we created. Click and drag this over as well, and we can actually have that go through the entire projects, which we're going to hit Command D and have that go all the way through as well. That is our intro, just these four bars. You can set little flags if you want to know exactly where everything is, so I'm just going to set the little white bar here at the beginning. There's a little set button right here. Just go ahead and click that, and its going to set a flag that says number 1. Just go ahead and click on that flag and do Command R or Control R, and we're going to type in Intro. This is just a little label for ourselves. Now, here in this area, we're going to also put a little white flag anywhere on this number 5, all the way down. I'm just going to put one right there and say Set, again, and I'm going to come over and rename this as well, so Command R, and this is going to be the start of our verse. I'm going to type in Verse, and then here I'm going to put one right here where the number 13 is. We're going to set another one over here. Let's rename it Command R, and we'll call this Buildup. Then lastly, right here on the 21, we'll just set a little marker there, so it Set, and then we'll just rename that one to Drop. Now our intro, verse, buildup, and drop, and we've got the intro done. So now let's move on to the verse. We want to have some kick drums going through the verse. So we're going to grab the drums over here and just do Option, drag them over, and then you can just double-click here or you can do Shift Tab, and we're going to get rid of the hats and the shakers and just have our kick drum so our verse is going to sound a little bit like this. A rule of thumb is that you want to introduce a new sound or a new instrument every four bars or so. In the beginning we've got where we start with our chords and our melody, and then here we introduce our piano right here, as well as some drums, so that's how things change up from here. The verse is the section where you'd want to get a singer to sing on top of. Or if you're a singer, you can write your own lyrics and singing on top of this. Let's go ahead and also duplicate our drums over here, and this is the second half of our verse. Here we also want to bring in some base. Let's go down to our base. We'll just grab this bottom one that says multi saw, sounds like this, like that, and then let's just drag that. With Option, click and drag over to the second half of our verse, and then we'll also duplicate it through our buildup as well. Now if we unsolo, our verse goes from here, so just adds a little bit of variation to the second half of our verse, just to keep things moving and different and interesting. Now, let's go ahead and add the melody back into our buildup, so we're going to grab that same melody again, do Option, drag it over here, also duplicate that. Then on the second half of the buildup, so starting here, we're going to add in another layer of our melody. Going to Option, click and drag. Now you can see we're introducing with this one sound of our melody on the buildup. It'll move to adding a little bit more fullness to that sound and then on the drop is where everything comes in, so it's got the stair-step or effect. It sounds this, so it keeps things moving. 16. Create Build Up Drums: Now, let's add some buildup drums. Let's go up to our drums, and let's just go ahead and duplicate this whole track here. We're going to right click and duplicate, and we're just going to delete all of these. Then we're just going to come over here, and then we're going to drag, and highlight four more bars. From bar 13 over to bar 17. We're going to do Shift Command M to create a new mini clip. This already has our drums in it. But we actually going to just get rid of all those and just do one snare build. I'm just going to come down here to the drum rack, and we're just going to delete all of these. Just click and delete. Like this, we have an empty drum rack. Then just come up here to the browser and just type in snare. I'm going to do snare build. We're going to go over to samples, and I'm going to use this snare. You can use any snare that you want. I just think this one has a cool sound for a buildup. I'm just going to click and drag that down into the C1 slot, and then I'm going to go over here, and click on our clip to highlight it and do Shift Tab, and then I'm just going to click just once, so it's just got this one snare. We're going to do Command D and just hold it and duplicate that all the way across like that. Then we're going to go to this clip, and we're going to duplicate that again, the whole thing. Now, we've got this [MUSIC] and then I'll just keep going, but doesn't quite sound right yet, so let's have it buildup. What we're going to do is before the drop, once everything gets to around here, we're going to cut everything out. We're going to drag the snares. Just drag that out one bar, so we can see we're between 20 and 21, that's just one bar. We're going to go ahead and drag those drums back, and we're also going to drag our pad, we're going to drag our piano back, and we're going to leave the melody. I'm going to come down here, drag that base back a little bit, as well as our ambiance, and just make sure nothing else is in that space. Now, you have this gap, so on the buildup, [MUSIC] you can hear really builds the excitement, everything drops out for one bar and then keeps on going for the drop. Now, let's also build our snares up because they start loud. [MUSIC] What we're going to do is just click on that track, and we're going to go up here and type in EQ, and then just go to all results, and you'll see EQ 8 right here. Just go ahead and double-click that, and that's going to add an EQ down here to our track. This is just an audio effect. What this allows us to do is heighten or lower or cut off certain frequencies. Let me show you what I mean. I'll solo this. If I just play and drag these numbers up and down, you can see how the sound is going to be manipulated. [MUSIC] I'm going to do Command Z. What we want to actually do is cut out all the highs, and then bring them in with some automation. What we're going to do, is just go over here to the Number 4, which corresponds with this number 4 right here, and we're going to change this little symbol to be a little drop here. It's going to give us this curve. What we can do is just drag that over, [MUSIC] and then you can just barely hear those drums peaking in. [MUSIC] I'm going to start somewhere pretty low like this, and now we're going to create some automation to have it come in, and just build energy through the buildup. What we're going to do is just double-click anywhere in this black space here, and then you'll see frequency right here. This corresponds with the number 4, so make sure you're in the number 4 column. Then click on that to highlight it, and then click A to bring up our automation lines. Again, if you're hitting ''A'' and nothing's happening, make sure that this little piano thing is disengaged. You hit ''A'' to get into the automation lines, and we're just going to set a point right there at the start, and then we're going to come to the end, and we're going to drag it up somewhere around there. Then we're going to do Option and hold it, get this little curved-looking icon, and we're going to click and drag, and again, we can go up or down. We're going to go down and have all the energy build there towards the end. It's going to sound like this. [MUSIC] Like that. You can even increase it just a little bit more. You can make that a little less curvy if you want, but I'm going to go somewhere around there. Now, if we unsolo this and we hit ''A'' to get rid of our automation lines, and we also double-click in this little black area to get rid of that, we can just put our play head here. [MUSIC] That gives us some buildup drums. Now, it's still a little quiet , so I'm going to hit "A", and I'm just going to drag this up a bit to start a little bit louder. [MUSIC] Somewhere around there. [MUSIC] That's sounding a lot better now. I'm going to hit "A" to get rid of that. Now what we need is a riser or some white noise to keep the energy moving. It's going to create a big sweep underneath our track. What I'm going to do is just zoom out. I'm going to click up here, zoom out, come all the way to the bottom here, to our effects area, and we're just going to go over here to the browser and type in riser. You can go over to samples, and find some risers in here. We're going to go with this riser white noise, which sounds like this. [NOISE] It's got this sweep going to it. Let's just come in here and we'll just duplicate our crashes, and we'll just delete them. Click and drag a box, hit "Delete." We're also going to bring this reverb all the way down to zero, and then we're also going to increase the volume of this a bit, and then just drag that riser in. We want it to sweep all the way up to the point where it stops, where that one bar of silence hits right here. It's going to sound like this. [MUSIC] It's a subtle detail, but it really adds a lot to that buildup. You can increase the volume here if you want it to be louder. [MUSIC] Now, the last thing we're going to do is just EQ our lead to come in as well. Our lead sound is pretty high right here. We want the height of that noise to be on the drops, so we want to muffle this lead a little bit through the buildup. What we're going to do is just go to the group, and then we're just going to hit "EQ" up here. Go to all results, grab that EQ, and throw it on the entire group here. Again, we're going to go down to the number 4 and change it to this little curved piece right here. We're just going to start low in the middle, and what we're going to do is just double-click in this black area to open up this whole window, click on the number 4 frequency. As you can see we're in the number 4 column. Click on the frequency to highlight it. Hit "A" to bring up the automation line, which is right here. Then we're going to start that down here. I'll just hit "Play" [MUSIC] that's pretty low, maybe a little bit higher around there. Then what we're going to do is bring it to full effect right here at the very start of our drop. Then we're also going to create the curves. We're going to hold Option, and then make a curve like this. Then that way the lead is going to start increasing in higher frequencies as we get to the drop. [MUSIC] This really helps us build in that energy for the drop because you want all of your energy to happen right at the drop. I'm just going to double-click in this black area, hit "A" to get rid of my automation lines, and we also want to double-check that our intro lead is also still working. [MUSIC] Because we put that on, it's a little bit quieter now. What I'm going to do is hit "A", and then I'm just going to set a point here. [MUSIC] Then everything is going to drop back down again. That is the intro verse and build-up to our song. We just have one more thing to add to this track to keep the energy moving really well. Head on to the next lesson to find out. 17. What is Sidechaining and How to Do It: The last thing that we're going to do to our track is add some sidechaining. What is sidechaining? Well, let's say that you have some chords like this, [MUSIC] and you have a kick drum that sounds like this, [MUSIC]. What sidechaining does whenever you add it to those chords is it will dip the volume every time those kicks hit and suddenly bring it back up, every single kick drum, and it will sound more like this. [MUSIC] Then when you add the kick drum back in, it sounds like this, [MUSIC] which sounds a lot cleaner and it keeps a lot of movement going through our track. Let's go ahead and add some. The first thing that we're going to do is go up to our drums, and we're going to go to our main drum rack that has our kick drums here. We're just going to duplicate this track. Right-click and duplicate. Then we're just going to delete these clips out of the drop. Then we're going to duplicate these kicks throughout the build-up, and then all the way into the drop. Now we've got kicks going through the whole thing. But we really don't want these kicks to be playing because it's going to be two kicks on top of each other here. Kicks in the buildup which we didn't originally have, and so on. What we're going to do is actually just mark this track as white, and when we're also going to click this clip and shift and click this clip, then we're going to right-click and mark these as white. It can be any color you want. I just like to use white. We're just going to turn off this layer and this is very important. Turn off this new kick drum layer, and we'll also just rename it. If you just click in here and do Command R, we're just going to rename it as sidechain kicks. What this is going to do is we're just going to use this information in MIDI to tell all of our different layers when to dip that sound. Let me show you. Let's go ahead, and start with our pad. I'm going to click on this and we'll just solo it and obviously it sounds like this currently. [MUSIC] Let's go ahead, and add some sidechaining. What we're going to do is come up here to the browser. We're just going to type in compressor like this, and if you're in all results, you'll see compressor right here. Just go ahead and double-click that. That's going to add that audio effect to our pad layer, which is this one right here. Then just come down here and click on this little arrow right here. That's going to open up this whole extra window to this effect. Then you'll see sidechain. Let's just go ahead and click on "Sidechain". Now we need to tell it where to pull the information from. We want those kicks to be coming in every time this dips. What we're going to do is just go to Audio from, and then you're going to see sidechain kicks right here, which is what we just renamed it as and we'll click on that. Now if we play it, nothing's going to happen. [MUSIC] What we need to do is bring this threshold down. If you move this bar, you can see we can pull it down and it's also changing that threshold right there. We're going to bring this all the way down and we'll go to a negative, say 35-ish, 36. Now whenever we play it, [MUSIC] you can hear it pulsing, and you can tell it how much or how little you want it to pulse by dragging that threshold up. If I drag it up while I'm playing it, you can see it'll start to not pulse as much. If I drag it way down, it'll pulse a lot. [MUSIC] But I think somewhere around 33, 35, 36 is a pretty good area for that threshold. Now if we unsolo this, you can hear that this pad is going to move out of the way every single time one of these kick drums is going to come through. [MUSIC]. Let's go ahead, and add this to some of our other layers. We're just going to go ahead and click on this compressor effect, and then we're going do Command C to copy or control C. Or you can just come up here and do Edit, Copy. Then we're going to add it to our piano layer as well. Let's click on the piano layer. We will just come down here and do a Command V to paste it, or you can just do Edit, Paste. We added that to our piano layer, we'll come down here and we're also going to add it to our lead. We're going to do it to the whole group, not just each individual one, we can do the whole group. Click in this area down here, Command V to paste it. Same with our bass. We're going to add it to our bass, so we're going to do the whole bass layer, come down here, Command V to paste it. That's the only layers left, we really had to add that too. Now this added throughout the whole track, wherever these kicks are being triggered. As long as these are off, you won't hear them. It's just using the information. Now our drop sounds like this, [MUSIC] which now cuts a lot of the volume out. If you want, you can come in here and just increase these layers a little bit to give them a little bit more sound. Because again, we're dipping that sound every once in a while. I'm just going to increase the volume on all these. [MUSIC] The most important thing is making sure your bass is up nice and high. Now our track is completely finished. Pat yourself on the back. This was a long one, but you should have a full finished track by now. 18. How to Bounce Your Track to MP3 & WAV Files: Lastly, let's just bounce our track to an MP3 or WAV so that we can show our friends. To do that, just simply grab the loop brace up here and grab the start of it and we're going to put that all the way at the beginning of our track, just like that, and then we're going to grab the end of the loop brace and I'm actually going to bring this out one or two bars because after all this audio ends, there's going to be a tale of reverb and delay here that we want to include in our track. Then this is very important. Make sure that you click on the loop brace to highlight the entire track, and then we're going to go up to File, and then we're going go to Export Audio and Video. Then here, just check and make sure that your render length is as many bars as you set, so we've got 30 bars which matches up here. Then I always leave on Include Return and Master Effects here. Make sure my sample rate is about 44,000, and then we're going to come down here and this is where you can do a WAV or an MP3. Here, if you leave this on, you can do a WAV. I usually do a WAV at 24 triangular, but if you want to do an MP3, you can also turn that on as well and it will do both, or you can turn this off and just do an MP3 if you want as well. But a WAV is going to be a little bit higher-quality file, so I'm going to make sure I turn that on and I'm just going to turn off MP3. But if you just want to show your friends in the car and MP3 is more than fine. Then make sure that video is set to off and just click "Export", and then you can choose where you want to save this. I'm going to save it where my actual Ableton file is that we saved from earlier. I'm just going to name this My First Track, and then just click on "Save". Then once that finishes up, you can go click on that file and listen to it. 19. Final Words: Hey, guys. That was how to create your first track in Ableton. Hopefully, this class made you feel a lot more comfortable and confident in the software so that you can completely make music on your own moving forward. If you want more, then feel free to check out my instructor page. I'll be making more classes on these subjects like in-depth lessons on how to become a master in Ableton and music production. If you enjoyed this class, then I'd be more than grateful if you left a review, but if you don't want to, that's completely fine. Reviews help me grow as an instructor on this platform and allow me to create more content for you in the future. Thank you so much for watching, I'm Dale McManus, and I'll see you in the next class.