“There are a few basic instruments that come free with Live that are simple to use and very effective in creating music.”
Most producers and song writers will first sketch out an idea, i.e. make a demo of a track concept to get the idea down and later flesh it out for release. Ableton Live is an excellent tool for getting ideas down quickly and easily. Some producers will start by finding a drum loop that they like as a base and build their track around that. Others prefer to build up their own loop by layering a kick drum, hi-hats and clap/ snare and then adding to it from there.
Live is very simple to use in both of these situations. A drum loop can be sourced via a website or sample CD, copied onto your hard drive and dragged into a Live set. Live has both Audio and Midi tracks available, an audio loop or midi file can simply be dragged into the arrange-ment page, a track will automatically be created and then the user can click the space bar to play the material. There are a few basic instruments that come free with Live that are simple to use and very effective in creating music. The Drum Rack contains a set of 16 pads that can be used to store samples, presets or instruments; and then played via that pad’s note. A midi file can then be created to play the pads in the correct sequence, via a midi keyboard or by programming the notes in via a piano roll editor, creating a drum rhythm for your track.
Next you may want to add a bass line. You could use one of the preset bass sounds provided in Live by inserting an instrument rack, or Simpler or via a sampler unit. Simpler is a simple sampling device where wave samples can be used to re-create the sounds of an instrument. An instrument rack is a chain of devices, also used to re-create instrument sounds and a sampler is a more complex device that can be used to re-create many more subtle and complex nuances of various instruments. Impulse is a simple drum unit that can be used to create a small kit of 8 sampled sounds to re-create a drum kit. All of these instruments can be used to add melodies, drums and bass rhythms to your track.
Ableton is also able to use VSTi’s, or Virtual Studio Technology instruments. These are plug-in software instruments that create synthesized sounds. There are many of these available, to re-create just about any sound available on the planet! There are even freeware VSTi’s available on the net, simply download, install and play them. Making music with modern technology is unlimited in its scope, but that can also be a hindrance. It’s best to find a few instruments that you’re happy with and use them to create your sound. A minimalist approach, not as in the genre of music, but using less to create more, if you will, will help you to concentrate on the music rather than getting stuck in the technology, lost in an endless supply of sounds.
Once you have sketched out the basics of your track by creating drums, a bass line and some melodies, you can record some vocals and then start to add various effects and polish the track into the kind of music you’re looking to release. It takes a while to find your feet and create the kind of music that you want, but that can also be a great journey, learning what you like and dislike. It’s kind of like paying your dues. You may create and release many tracks before you find your sound and get noticed, but that’s part of the fun!
Written By : Chris Palmer