Page 8 - ACCENT AU T3 2017
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Cover Story

          Debunking the strange side of Ableton

          with Johann Dreyer

                hen doing music technology   on the market. The endless possibilities   strument or effect and the audio or midi            Session view
                presentations one of the most   and workflow become very obvious very   component of the track depending on
          Wcommon questions, asked by       quickly.                           which track is selected.
          secondary school teachers, is about im-                               If you click on a MIDI clip the piano roll will ap-
          plementing Ableton into their curriculum.   5 steps that will help you and   pear. If you click on an audio clip the waveform
          Particularly, which five things to show   your students to get started  editor will appear.
          their students to get them started with   1  Read Chapter 4 – Live Concepts  Session View
          the program.
                                                           When you’re in the   In session view the tracks are repre-
          For anyone who has worked with con-              Ableton program,    sented in a vertical fashion with sever-
          ventional DAW’s, the first sight of a new        you can access the   al “clips”, followed by the audio routing,                  Arrange view
          Ableton session could be confusing,              manual by click-    monitoring, sends, panning and finally
          daunting or perhaps even scary! I know           ing the “Help” drop   the fader module (rec/solo/track on/off         When one starts “dropping” these instru-  When you drag a Drum Rack into the MIDI clip   and support through the Ableton Live
          for me personally it was a case of open-         down in the toolbar.   included in fader module).                     ments and effects into a track they ap-  the piano notes will be replaced with drum   User groups, which is a great network-
                                                                                                                                                                     sounds from the chosen Drum Rack.
          ing the program, staring at the session          Go to “Read the Live                                                  pear in the bottom part of the screen.                               ing platform to meet other producers and
          view screen for about 3 minutes, and             Manual”, and then   Think of this view as your sketch pad,                                                5  Building Instrument Racks     see how they produce music.
          then closing the program, instantly mov-         Chapter 4. This chap-  playing with different ideas, sequences        The signal runs from left to right and will                          In Australia  see
          ing it to the too hard basket. Fast forward   ter covers the very basic functions like   and arrangements.             be processed accordingly. Ableton will   As noted in Step 3 you can place any and
          3 months and I gave it another go, this   finding sounds, instruments, buttons   Each cell can be a different variation of   automatically put the instrument at the   as many effects and dynamic processors   There is a lot of detail that has not been
          time I lasted about 5 minutes trying to   and/or functions. It will teach you about   the same instrument, noting that only   start of this “chain” but how you process   as you wish into the signal path of your   discussed or touched on in this article,
          generate sound; but again, a “no go”!!  the basic concepts of Ableton, and even   one cell in a vertical line can play at any   the signal post instrument is what makes   track. This is the moment that wizard sta-  and I hope to delve into more specifics in
                                                                                                                                 Ableton fun!
          Then a close friend, who is a certified   about mapping parameters to external   given time.                                                             tus can be achieved!               future articles!
          Ableton trainer, explained some basics   hardware and exporting audio.  To the right in the Master Section we                                            You are able to group effects together   For more info about Ableton,
          that led me to create this “secret” code   Another great function that compliments   have a play button with numbers. This                               and then chain different groups together,   including education licenses
          that cracks Ableton for beginners.  this process is the “Info View” that is ac-  is known as the Master Scenes and this                                  as well as map macros to hardware con-   contact Music EDnet
          Step 1 - Read Chapter 4 of the manual   cessible at the bottom left hand of the   button will launch all clips in the horizon-                           trollers or have them automated by other
          (Live Concepts):                  screen. When your cursor hovers over a   tal lines.                                                                    effects.                                     1300 723 700
          This will familiarize you with all the as-                           Any number of clips can play together                                               This is where the real power of Ableton
          pects (concepts) and elements that make                              within the horizontal aspect (they don’t                                            shines through and deserves a more de-
          Ableton tick. It’s not too detailed, just                            have to be in line).                                                                tailed explanation than this article can
          enough to put everything into perspec-                               Arrange View                                                                        afford.
          tive.                                          Info view                                                                Instruments and effects are processed from Left
                                                                               The arrange view is the more tradition-            to Right                         Where to now?
          Step 2 – Learn the 4 main environments                                                                                                                   There are a lot of really good resources
                                                                               al timeline view with tracks in a horizon-
          Fancy word for screens and the shortcuts                             tal fashion. Both time (min:sec) and bars          4   Programming MIDI             that students can tap into for inspiration
          that navigate between them.                                          and beats metering is available at the top                                          and tips:
                                                                               and bottom of the arrangement screen              The simplest way to start programming   YouTube: “Pointblank” and “Dubspot” al-
          Step 3 – Drag instruments and effects                                respectively.                                     MIDI is to double click in a MIDI track
          into tracks.                      button or area, there will be a descrip-                                                                               ways have a great range of intro videos
                                            tion of the functionality of that item. This   You can import or record audio or MIDI   clip while in Session view. The MIDI clip   and genre specific tips and tricks.
          Notice how some are not ‘allowed’ in cer-  function can be accessed with [?] short-  in either view! The same goes for mixing   will appear and you will see the piano
          tain tracks.                      cut or by clicking on the disclosure trian-  and effects processing, whatever works   roll that will enable you to start pencil- One of the online courses on
                                                                                                                                                                   offer is the Ableton Essential Training
          Step 4 – Start programming MIDI.  gle at the very bottom.            better for your personal workflow!                ling in the sequence you wish to play. You   that covers over 8 hours of tutoring bro-
                                                                                                                                 can either double click with your mouse
          Step 5 – Build your first “Instrument   2  The Live Environments      3   Loading Instruments and Effects              or use the [b] short cut to use the pencil   ken into very manageable sections touch-
          rack”.                                                                                                                 tool.                             ing on everything Ableton and music pro-  Johann Dreyer
                                            This normally gets a bit confusing but
          Some call this wizard status                                         Loading instruments and effects is as             When you hit play on the clip, the MIDI                                Johann Dreyer is the Campus Manager at
                                            with a bit of practice using the shortcut   easy as dragging and dropping them into   sequence will start playing back and   Online Magazines: “Attack Mag”,   SAE Institute - Adelaide. Teacher, Electronic
          These 5 steps could be explained and il-  keys, you will master the Ableton visual   a track, but keep an eye on the cursor!  looping. The velocity and quantization   “Music Radar”, “Music Technology” and   Music Producer, DJ and Sound designer ...
          lustrated in great detail, but can also be   universe.                                                                 can be modified to give your MIDI a more   “Electronic Music” are all great resources   Johann Graduated with a Bachelor in Audio
          covered in 2-4 sessions depending on                                 For example when you attempt to drop              natural feel.                     with free plug-ins and step-by-step tutori-  Production, holds a Cert IV in TAE and a
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Marketing Management Higher Diploma.
          the speed of delivery and the allocat-  Ableton has 2 main arrangement views   an instrument onto an audio track you      Clip           MIDI Piano Roll  als.
          ed time slots. I have found that for most   and a dual focus view that you can have   will see the global “No Entry”   sign.                                                                  Johann has been teaching Music produc-
          high school students engaged in a 3-day   displayed in any combination and change   Ableton will allow you to drop the in-                               Face to Face: SAE Creative Institute   tion and Technology based performance at
                                                                                                                                                                                                        SAE (School of Audio Engineering) for the last
          short course, by day 2 they will be able   easily with your [tab] and [shift]+[tab]   correct item onto a track but will then                            (Adelaide) offers a 10-week short course   5 years and created the Ableton Live User
          to create tracks, program MIDI and insert   buttons.                 change the track to suit.                                                           in Ableton.                          groups in Byron Bay and the Gold Coast.
          effects on those tracks.          [tab] – switches between Session and   Audio Tracks: Only audio effects and au-                                        There are also other institutes through-  He specializes in Ableton and Hardware inte-
          I have found that once these basic tasks   Arrangement views. These are the top 2   dio can be dropped onto them.                                        out Australia and New Zealand that offer   gration into performance and production.
          are illustrated, then implemented and   views that show the vertical clips or the   MIDI Tracks: Only instruments, audio ef-                             a broad range of Ableton and production   Johann has released and performs live elec-
          understood by the students, the program   traditional time line. This is arrangement   fects and midi effects can be dropped                             based courses.                       tronic music with “We Play Machines” and
                                                                                                                                                                                                        “AfrikanAmerikan” as well as his personal
          starts to unfold into one of the most in-  focused information.                                                                                          It is also worth mentioning that there are   LoCoJo project.
          tuitive and fun music production toolkits   [shift]+[tab] – switches between the in-  onto them.                                                         Certified trainers who offer private tuition

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