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Live: Repurposing Included Audio & MIDI Content

Ableton Live Tips & Techniques By Len Sasso
Published August 2022

Screen 1: Three MIDI clips playing a General MIDI drum kit are sliced by kit piece and then remixed using Follow Actions.Screen 1: Three MIDI clips playing a General MIDI drum kit are sliced by kit piece and then remixed using Follow Actions.

We show you how to get more from Live’s included content.

Live comes with a versatile selection of audio and MIDI clips along with devices to play and process them. This month we’ll focus on ways to creatively repurpose that material for use in your Live sets.

(Almost) Endless Drum Patterns

I’ll start with drum clips from Live’s Core Pack. In Screen 1, I’ve loaded the 16‑pad General Purpose Kit from the Racks/Drum Racks/Acoustic folder along with three MIDI drum clips from the MIDI Clips/Drums/Acoustic folder. These occupy the General Purpose Kit track (top‑left). The remaining seven tracks are generated by revealing the Drum Rack’s Chain List, right‑clicking the chain for each kit piece that is played in at least one of the clips and choosing Extract Chains from the menu that appears. Each of the generated tracks holds a Drum Rack with a single kit piece extracted from the original Drum Rack, and those kit piece pads in the original Drum Rack are now empty. Each new track has a MIDI clip with notes extracted from the original clip if it played that kit piece, and that clip will be in the same Scene as the clip from which it was extracted. To use the original Drum Rack instead of the extracted kit piece Drum Racks, reinstate it on the first track, delete the Drum Rack on each of the extracted tracks (which will repurpose them as MIDI tracks) and then route their MIDI outputs to the first track.

Playing any of the Scenes in the middle of Screen 1 will now match the original clip, but you can also mix kit piece patterns from the original clips. The bottom of Screen 1 shows how to use Follow Actions to mix and audition these patterns. A Scene with empty, one‑bar Follow Action clips is inserted as the first Scene, and its clips’ Follow Action settings are shown top‑centre in Screen 1. The extracted clips have been rearranged and a single empty MIDI clip has been added to each track (bottom). Triggering the Follow Actions Scene will, after one bar, trigger one clip from each track, and these clips will loop until stopped. You can capture combinations you like by selecting Scene 6 on the Master track, right‑clicking and selecting Capture and Insert Scene (Command+Shift+I, Control+Shift+I). That will leave Scene 6 as a buffer between the Follow Action Scenes and the captured Scenes. There are 864 possible combinations in this example, so capturing a few that you like will save a lot of time in composing your tracks and will produce...

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