• Using Drum Loops

    Using Drum Loops

    Adding a drum loop on top of a programmed MIDI beat is a quick way to give it a more fluid, natural sound. Think of the MIDI clip as the base of the beat, and the loop as the ornamentation. Unfortunately, Drum Rack and Impulse can’t warp samples, so unless the loop that you’re using was recorded at the same tempo as the track you’re making (and is perfectly in time), you’ll need to add it to a separate audio track.

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  • Return Track Tips & Tricks

    Return Track Tips & Tricks

    Ableton’s Drum Rack instrument has its own integrated send/return section, which allows you to add return effects to individual drum samples.

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  • Using Pitch Bend

    Using Pitch Bend

    Pitch bending smoothly lowers or raises the pitch of a note according to a defined envelope. You can quickly access a MIDI clip’s pitch bend envelope in Ableton...

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  • Adding Movement to Pads

    Adding Movement to Pads

    Pads are simple, drawn-out synths that sit in the background of a track. Because they’re background instruments, pads are usually fairly uncomplicated, so as not to distract from the rest of the track.

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  • Using Triplets in Beats

    Using Triplets in Beats

    The elements of electronic music are generally divisible by four: four kicks per bar, eight bars per loop, sixteen notes in a melody. To add interest to your beats, break up the 4/4 using triplet drums. A triplet jams three notes into a space that should only be occupied by two.

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  • Using Pitch Bend

    Using Pitch Bend

    Pitch bending smoothly lowers or raises the pitch of a note according to a defined envelope. You can quickly access a MIDI clip’s pitch bend envelope in Ableton...

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  • Smoother Chord Progressions

    Smoother Chord Progressions

    When a group of instruments — like a string section — plays together, each instrument starts and stops each note at a slightly different time. Digitally programmed instruments, on the other hand, will start and stop exactly where they’re told to.

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  • Track Maps

    Track Maps

    One of the best ways to learn about arranging tracks is to analyze other artists’. Pick one of your favourite tracks, then listen closely to it, noting how and when each element enters and leaves the arrangement.

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  • Make a Drum & Bass Beat

    Make a Drum & Bass Beat

    Set Ableton’s tempo to around 175 bpm. Open Drum Rack and load up a kick and snare. Create a new MIDI clip, then put the kick on 1 and 1.3.3. Put a snare on 1.2 and 1.4. This rhythm is the basis of the drum ‘n’ bass beat. Load up three hi-hat samples: one short closed hi-hat and two longer open hi-hats.

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  • Tune Synths to A432 in Ableton

    Tune Synths to A432 in Ableton

    The idea that the note A3 should correspond to the frequency 440 Hz is a fairly recent one; although A440?s been in use since the 19th century, it’s only since the 1950s that it’s been accepted as the standard tuning.

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