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Ableton: Bring Your Step Sequencing To Life!

Ableton Live Tips & Tricks
By Len Sasso

Screen 1. The Polyform track's output is routed to the Polyform REC track to capture generated sequences. You can modify generated sequences in the View Main and View Options tabs as well as with the six knobs at bottom right.Screen 1. The Polyform track's output is routed to the Polyform REC track to capture generated sequences. You can modify generated sequences in the View Main and View Options tabs as well as with the six knobs at bottom right.

We look at two Max For Live devices that bring your step sequencing to life.

Step sequencing is usually a passive process: make a few settings and let it rip. This month we'll have a look at a couple of Max For Live step sequencers — Polyform from Spektro Audio and HEXO from K-Devices — that respond in real time to MIDI input. Polyform (www.spektroaudio.com) turns a monophonic note stream into polyphonic output. HEXO (www.k-devices.com) uses polyphonic input to change the pitch of the notes generated by its six sequencer lanes. For example, you could use Polyform to turn a monophonic solo or bass line into a chord part, and you could then use HEXO to 'arpeggiate' the chords in complex patterns or to create a six-track drum part with the chords assigning the kit pieces.

Polyform

Polyform generates a sequence of as many as 16 events each of which is either a chord, a single note or empty. It steps through that sequence as it receives single MIDI notes or by following Live's clock. In either case it plays the currently selected event when it receives a note. Setting up Polyform can involve a bit of head scratching, so I'll start with some step-by-step basics:

1. Insert Polyform on an empty MIDI track. (You could insert it before the instrument on an instrument track, but targeting a separate track lets you capture Polyform's output.)

2. Select the Options tab in the View section (centre), and click the 'Create Recording Track' button (see Screen 1, above). This will create a new MIDI track named 'Polyform...

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Published April 2020