Ableton Tutorials

Ableton Live – Producing Beats in a Live Set – Part 4

For the majority of the producers out there, it is the income generated by the gigs that pay the bills. This is even truer today as record sales have plummeted. So unless they are part of the music elite, any producer should have a performance to offer. Dj’ing is an option but the real deal lies in the Live set. The sheer satisfaction of playing your own productions combined with the excitement of the Live situation provides a joy that Dj’ing never reached.

By Live set I mean the ability to change the plan at any moment, re-writing these familiar tunes in real time has a profound impact on the crowd. You could…

• Have a complete interactive platform where you create all the sounds on the spot, make beats, loop and play Live’s instruments on stage with an array of controllers.

• Pre-arrange complete tracks and only trigger the effects in real time; this is hands on, fun and likely to be the simplest way to perform on stage, the majority of the show being pre-prepared.

• Work from bite sized parts, you could re-arrange your tunes in front of the crowd and use effects to create new phrases and loops.

• Combine all of the above techniques into one performance

It is in the third situation; ‘bite sized’, that this article will focus onto, so if you are a producer read on…

There are four distinct steps in taking your productions to the stage: Firstly, creating the Live template to nest our parts, secondly merging the parts to accommodate to our Live Set template, then extracting the parts from the production document and finally re-loading the parts into the Live Set Template

Step 1: Creating the Live template to nest our parts

Ableton is a modular platform that can be customised to each user’s needs. The following template is only one of many possible set ups you will encounter.

The principle behind a Live Set is to re-arrange your tunes in real time. Therefore, the template needs to accommodate many different tunes all split in various musical elements so that you can trigger say the bass or a melody at any chosen moment.

You need eight audio tracks to nest: kick drum, bass, break/snare, hi hats, melody 1, melody 2, pads, and sound effects. Using eight tracks is ideal for accommodating a controller such as Novation’s Launchpad or an Akai APC.

Watch Freddy’s tutorial Below:

Step 2: Merging the parts

Firstly, we need to group/merge some sounds to match the amount of audio tracks we will be using in our Live Set template. Indeed, we might have 12 different sounds in our tune but only eight in our Live Set template. This is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. That’s it! You have just merged two tracks and printed their effects onto a brand new audio file. We will use a similar process to export our sounds from an arrangement…

Step 3: Extracting the parts from the production document

Upon transferring a tune you made from your production document to your live set template, you will find yourself in either of the two following situations:

– Your tune is still in the session view and you want to “try” it onto the crowd

– You have written an arrangement for this tune

That’s it! All your parts are now laid down as audio into your document.

Step 4: Re-loading the files into your Live set Template

You can now load your live set template and import all these newly created files.

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Editor’s Note: This is an old article and things have moved on considerably since the original publication date 🙂

For more information head over to the Point Blank Music School website to learn the very latest about our school.


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