There are two ways to grab a groove in Ableton Live. They’re both excellent methods to capture the rhythmic groove from your favourite track and apply it to your new creation. Have no clue what I’m talking about?
The groove of a track is the rhythmic timing of that track; where the drums fall. Groove elements are very important in music as they define certain feelings created by the track and a good groove can make the difference between an OK track and a great one.
Extract the groove…
The first way to capture a groove in Live is to extract the groove from the track that you like. Drag the track that you like into the arrangement view of Live. Make sure that you warp the track correctly so that its timing is correct. Identify which part of the groove you like best. Highlight a bar or two of the track and click Ctrl + E (Cmd + E on Mac). This will slice that piece up. Right click on the section of track and a menu will come up. Choose “Extract groove” from the menu. This will extract the groove timing from that piece of track and allow you to impose that timing on any other loop, track or midi groove that you play, much like quantising it.
You can simply load up a track, loop or midi file and use the groove that you’ve created by clicking on the groove menu, bottom left of your screen where you find the clip properties box. Your groove will be in the menu, to apply as you wish. You’ll be able to hear the timing of your loop or track change to fit into the groove that you’ve extracted.
Slicing up the groove
The second and more creative method to get the groove from a track you like is far more versatile. Drag the track into the arrangement view of Live and warp it correctly. Identify the part that you want as above and cut it into a bar long section. Right click on the piece and select “Slice to new midi track”. This will cut up the piece into slice elements at intervals and place them into a drum rack, with a corresponding midi file to play the slices. No clue what I’m on about?
It chops up the file into little pieces that usually are 16 note (or smaller as defined by the preset you choose) lengths and then arranges them in order in a drum rack. It then uses midi notes to play the drum rack so that the loop plays back the same as if it was audio. You now have a loop and groove from the track you like.
The difference with doing it this way around is that you can now replace each slice with your own sample. You can replace the kick, hats, snare and other groove elements with your own sounds and keep the groove of the track. Simply drag the new sample onto the correct drum rack note or select the swap circle when moving your mouse over the note and select a new sound from your sample library. You can audition each slice by pressing the play icon or pressing the corresponding note on your midi keyboard. If a slice has more than one sound layered on it, you can duplicate the track and the midi track and create two different layers of samples, playing at the same time. Say a kick and hat are playing together on one slice; you can create two tracks to separate them.
With either of these two methods you can open up some new ideas for yourself and help you get your head around creating some killer grooves!
Written By : Chris Palmer