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Ableton Live: Leader Warping

Ableton Live Tips & Tricks
By Len Sasso

Screen 1. Use Live's Clip view to warp and edit clip playback settings.Screen 1. Use Live's Clip view to warp and edit clip playback settings.

We show you how to work with irregular tempos and rhythms in Live.

In this workshop, we'll see how to use Live's sample warping to align tempo-based material such as step-sequenced clips with freely played audio clips. I'll start with a brief look at how audio clip warping works in Live. You'll find more details as well as some creative uses for warping in the March 2010 and August 2012 Live columns. For what follows, it's best to turn off 'Auto-Warp Long Samples' and to set 'Loop/Warp Short Samples' to 'Unwarped One Shot' in Live's Record-Warp-Launch preferences. (The best long-term settings depend on the kind of work you do with Live.) If you're already comfortable with warping, you might want to skip to the next section.


Start with a clip from your audio samples library that has not already been warped in Live and drag it to the beginning of an audio track in Live's Arrangement view. As shown in screen 1, Live's Beat-Time ruler along the top of Arrangement view shows the length in bars and beats, whereas the Time ruler along the bottom shows the clip's playback time in minutes and seconds. Beat-time is a function of Live's tempo and time-signature settings; change either and the clips Beat-Time duration will change while the playback time remains the same. Aside from shortening the clip from either end, you cannot change the playback time without activating Live's warping, which you do by clicking the Warp button in Clip view. Do that, and a new world opens up.

When you turn warping on, Live inserts an orange Warp marker at the beginning of the clip and assigns the song's tempo to the clip...

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Published January 2020