View Full Version : Ableton - Creating a Song, from Scratch
01-08-2009, 05:13 PM
OK you Ableton Loop pros ...
I'm so used to linear recording ... so need some help here on creating full song files.
I'm working on "Glorious" by Martha Munizzi ... for starters, I need:
1 - a click track
2 - a cool percussion loop
3 - my piano track (I would play this live, but for tracking purposes)
4 - horn track
OK - so this is the "old" way that I'd be used to doing this. I'd open up ProTools and record the piano part from beginning to end. Then, I'd record the horn track, from beginning to end, etc.
I realize I can "do it that way" in Ableton - but then I'd just have one long clip for each part ... and not really have "scenes".
So - my question is ... how do you go about making the clips. I suppose I could MIDI record the piano part for the "Intro", stop, then create a new clip for "Verse 1", etc ...
That seems so disjointed - dunno if I can even play it that way where it sounds smooth.
Am I going about it wrong - can you give me a good idea on how to start, etc?
Thanks in advance,
01-20-2009, 11:34 AM
I didn't realize it, but I posted the same question in a different way.
Last Sunday, we were without a drummer, so I took this as a nudging from the Holy Spirit to begin to learn how to do it. I couldn't figure out the "Live" part of Ableton, so I just made mp3's. What can I say, I had to do something. My piano player ran them from my iPod.
So, what I am trying to say is, I am also very interested in learning how to do the "Live" part of Ableton Live.
01-22-2009, 05:10 PM
So, clearly - we need HELP!
01-23-2009, 01:41 PM
Here's the nuts and bolts of setting up a song on Ableton. At least this is what I do and I use Abelton in worship each week. I have a korg Pa1xPro professional arranger so I record all the background music in one pass. I do the intro, verse, chorus, bridge etc. just one time through. I usually record it on Cakewalk then save it as an mp3, since this loads superfast. I then upload the song in Abelton. You have to set up Abelton exactly to the same tempo as the wav file you made. This way the tracks line up measure by measure.
Finally, once you have the song uploaded and tempo set, you simply right click in the first measure. so that the beginning of the first measure has an orange line running up and down and a little orange triangle at the top of the track. You then click on the "set" button to the right. (You have to be in the linear mode, not the horizontal mode.) When you click set a black triangle appears above the track. Right click on this and choose "rename." You can then call this point Intro, Verse, Bridge, etc. You will then click on the button that says "key" in the right hand tool bar at the top. once it turns orange you can press any key to trigger that point. I usually assign my intros to the "Q" key on my keyboard. (For cue). I always press that before the song starts to make sure it starts at the beginning of the song. I then select each point and mark them with 1, 2, 3, etc. I can then write the number that corresponds to the verse, bridge, etc. on my music so i know how to cue them.
Once that is done, you need to click on file then "Save Live Set As..." then name the song. That's all there is to it. Now, anytime you want to go back to a verse, bridge, etc. just press that key within the last measure of the current part of the song and at beat 1 of the next measure it will automatically jump to that place.
Hope this helps.
01-23-2009, 02:17 PM
That helps a lot ... I've heard several others setup things that way, too ... I guess what I'm missing is, it seems like very few people (is there anyone) are actually using Ableton's actual recording and built-in instruments, etc. I was thinking it would've been nice to actually "track" the song in Ableton, etc ... use their instruments, etc.
01-23-2009, 02:52 PM
You would probably just have to get into the abelton manuals and read it. I don't need to do that because all the parts are played for me in one pass on the Korg. I usually record on my Korg D16-XD multi-track then transfer them into Cakewalk to mix down to an mp3.
01-23-2009, 05:46 PM
I actually use the Ableton instruments. The session drums package is fantastic. Check out my latest for "Famous One (http://www.robwing.com/music/FamousOne_Track.mp3)" (Willow Creek Arrangement). That's the Ableton's "Rock Organ." I also use Dimension Pro.
01-24-2009, 07:37 AM
Awesome - can you walk us through the process of creating that in Ableton - like, did you record the entire song in one pass, per instrument, and then quantize it to bars/beats and chop it up in parts (w/ markers)?, etc?
01-24-2009, 03:45 PM
The creation of a piece on Ableton is pretty much the same as any recording tool. The power, I think, comes from the ability to switch from loops to your arrangement so quickly.
My most recent process (it changes each time), was to record the loops for the drums, assemble the loops into the arrangement view, and then start adding things. Adding of elements can be done in the clip/loop view or directly in the arrangement view. You can also set your loops or clips up into scenes that you can run as a group, and then record those to your arrangement view (or cut and paste).
The instruments are great in ableton as well. I also have Cakewalk's dimension pro, but a lot of the time it's easier to just use Ableton's. I also have Operator, which is an analog synth. I haven't gotten a hang of that yet. If anybody can explain how to get started learning it, that would be great.
Next time I do a song, I'll take notes and publish them here for anybody who is interested.
01-24-2009, 08:16 PM
I'm extremely interested - that would be great. I've been purchasing songs from InteractiveWorshipLive.Com - and I notice, in the one view (where it's not linear, but the colored rectangular squares?), that's not even used at all.
01-24-2009, 08:59 PM
You're paying $50 per song? And you bought Ableton too? WOW! Maybe I should start selling my stuff? How does my track compare?
Have you watched the videos on ableton.com? That's how I got started.
01-24-2009, 09:32 PM
I don't have many songs (lol) ... what I love about IWL is that they are mostly made up the actual artists' multi-tracks ... so, they literally pull the multi-tracks from the record labels, lease them, and put them on .... and the Ableton session isn't just a single loop w/ click - you get everything in the multi-track format, bgv's, all the original guitars (yeah, even Lincoln Brewster's original guitar stuff), etc.
02-18-2009, 12:25 AM
How could I have not known about IWL? I know that Northpoint has been doing some stuff like this too, but this is the first I've heard about IWL.
I'm doing some research for my future (hopefully) purchase of a Macbook and Ableton for using loops to fill in some of the personnel gaps I have on a couple of teams from time to time. I was just planning on recording them and using them that way, but IWL sounds interesting.
02-21-2009, 11:08 AM
IWL definitely can save you some time. I just finished a loop for Martha Munizzi's "Glorious" - it's just piano, horns, and congas, but fills out the rest of the song nicely.
02-24-2009, 09:18 PM
Original master sessions is what appeals to me about IWL.
09-10-2009, 12:20 PM
If you are into MIDI, Ableton is great for creating songs from scratch. I use VSTi to get a realistic sounds like for drums I use Addictive Drums.
09-26-2009, 12:31 AM
I see this is an older post, but for those who stumble onto it...
So you know where I'm coming from, I use Live every week, some weeks just to run clicks, others to run loops and tracks. When I'm making a track from the ground up with the sole purpose of being a backing track, I record everything directly into Ableton (version 7). I do a fair amount of tracks and so I'm usually more concerned with economy than "purism", meaning I cut and paste a lot. Here's my process:
I start by determining the tempo and mapping out the song arrangement. By using the "insert locator" function I can place markers at each segment (verse, chorus, repeats, etc) and get a visual representation of the linear flow of the song. Obviously this necessitates you determine how many bars each segment is.
At that point I'll insert a click track (I have one I made in Reason and just drag it into a track and let Ableton set the tempo). After the click I'll start on which ever segment I'm most inspired to tackle; sometimes it's the verse, sometimes the chorus or intro. If I'm playing in a synth line I'll use Ableton instruments or VST - I tend to favor VST for no quantifiable reason. The key here is to punch in/out These days, nobody plays the whole song start to finish, there's just too much chance of micro-flubbing. Just play till the end of the segment and then past it a bar or two, shrink the track back till it lines up with the locator mentioned above and you're set to record the next segment. Once the segment is recorded you can copy and paste it into other like segments. Unless you're trying to really be creative, or making a demo, there's no need to record the same part 5 times for 5 of the same chorus.
Ableton also has a warp function which allows you to time correct mistakes in your playing. Again, not purism, but efficient.
Hope that helps
09-28-2009, 09:19 AM
Thanks for sharing...
BTW say if you have 4 songs in your set do you place all these songs in arrangement view??
09-28-2009, 10:34 AM
In the early days I placed everything on a linear time line in arrangement view and used tempo and volume envelopes in the transitions. However, lately I've come to prefer the session view.
The difference for me was transitioning from using the tracks in their native form (which did allow individual parts to be turned on or off on the fly), to rendering the tracks to wav file and dropping them into the session view (acceptable since musicians on deck is pretty static).
Typically, I drop click tracks and backing tracks into 2 separate tracks in session view. The backing tracks already have a click panned to one side, and I just pan the stand-alone clicks to the same side. By using the master section fire buttons I can set tempos and time signatures for each song and then assign them to a number key on the keyboard (1 key fires song number one, etc)
One side note, it's important to keep your click levels consistent across all songs when you actually program them. Otherwise, the level will be good on one song, but either too hot or too weak on the the others.
Hope that helps...
11-05-2009, 01:03 AM
there is some really great information here Thanks everyone!
11-05-2009, 08:52 AM
My workflow in Ableton is similar to Josh's. I start with a click track, which I create using a "Metronome" kit I built in Impulse (one of Ableton's onboard drum machines.
Next I insert the locators for verses, choruses, etc.
Then I create a "Cues" track. My wife is a professional voiceover artist and I have a whole bunch of wave files of her saying "Chorus" Verse 1" "Build" "Drop" "Solo" "End" and things like that. I drag them onto the track a measure before each corresponding locator.The click and cues tracks go to our IEMs.
Once that is done, I start laying down individual track snippets (verse, chorus, etc) for guitars, synths, harmony vocals, etc. Then, if I have to do anything really intensive to them (Melodyne!), I do that.
Then once all the intensive plugs are applied I render each snippet. Once I have all my snippets, e.g., guitar_verse.wav, chorus_alto.wav, synth_bridge.wav, etc, I paste them all back onto final tracks.
Once the tracks are built, then I go in and do light-duty tweaking (compression, noise gates, eq, delays, etc.) Those plugins get left on the tracks live so I can tweak as necessary to get it to sound good FOH (everything sounds great in the studio and then like crap in our PA).
Then I do a room recording during the service and go back and check the mix on the tracks with the rest of the band and vocalists. I may make minor tweaks based on what I hear there.
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