Ultimate Ableton Live 9: Part 1 – The Interface & The Basics
For years I’ve been teaching Ableton Live in the college classroom. As a University Professor, my classes are sought after, and, frankly, expensive. I believe Ableton Live can be learned by anyone, and cost shouldn’t be a barrier. This class uses the same outline and syllabus I’ve used in my college classes for years, at a fraction of the cost.
This is Part 1: The Interface.
I will be making 6 (six!) complete classes in order to bring you the most comprehensive manual on Ableton Live production techniques ever created. Each class has Sets, sessions, and experiments for you to try on your own and follow along with.
And of course, once you sign up for Part 1 – The Interface, you automatically get huge discounts to all the upcoming parts (the next 5!) of this class.
You will not have another opportunity to learn Ableton Live in a more comprehensive way that this. Start here.
J. Anthony Allen is an Ableton Certified Trainer, and a PhD in Music Composition and master of Electronic Sounds. His music has been heard internationally in film, radio, video games, and industrial sound, as well as the concert hall and theater.
He currently as an adjunct professor of composition at the University of St. Thomas, Macphail Academy of Music, and the CEO of Slam Academy in Minneapolis.
Praise for other classes by J. Anthony Allen:
- “Dr Allen does it again with his music theory for electronic musicians series. This course really opened up everything I learned from the 1st section and now I understand more about the composition side of things for music. I highly highly recommend this course to anyone!!! Really opened my eyes to many things I wasn’t aware of.”
- “The Best Teacher ever, who makes you understand the ins & outs of Music Theory by all mean without giving what you don’t want to know.”
- “I have never had any formal training in music at all. Trying to learn all the notes and how everything translated was a serious challenge. After going thru this class, Dr. J has totally brought down the barriers. The content was very useful and was easy to grasp for me.”
The Live Interface
An overview of what will be covered in this class, and how I'll be covering it. This is the first class in a super comprehensive series of classes. At the end of this class I'll give you the goods to get you moving into the second class.
One of the first things that stumps a lot of people about Ableton Live is the two different views. It isn't as weird as you think! Let me help you wrap your head around it - starting here.
First, we will look at Arrangement view. If you have used any other audio program, this view will look a bit familiar.
Session View is where Ableton Live gets unique. You won't find this in any other program. Once you understand how it works, it is incredibly fun to use.
Getting around Ableton Live can be confusing at first. Here we will talk about the main layout, what to look for, and how to find help.
Info View is our first window we will look at. This window holds the secrets to Live - and tells you everything you need to know.
Help View is a little browser built-in to Ableton. It has lessons, sessions (sets), and all kinds of useful stuff. Check it out!
In this lesson we will look at production workflow in Live. This is something that can take a little getting used to, but once you get comfortable with it, you will moving through Live very quickly.
The main sequencer window in Arrangement view is, if you have used another audio program, a familiar timeline-based layout. It has a few things that are different, so in this lesson we will explore how it works in detail.
The Session View is probably the most foreign element in Live to most people. In this lesson we will look at navigating it, and the biggest part of it, the Clip Slot Grid.
Clip View is the big rectangle at the bottom of the screen, and it contains a lot of info. The trick to Clip View is knowing that it can show you different things depending on what you are doing.
Recording in Live
A few tips and tricks when it comes to adding content to Ableton Live.
Getting around inside the Preferences window is key to making sure all of your settings are correct. In this lesson I'll show you how to set everything up.
The Browser is how we can quickly navigate all our files without leaving Live. Like most things in Live, once you get comfortable with it, it can really speed up your workflow.
There are a few tricks to the signal flow in Live - that is, the route audio goes once it enters the program.
Finally - Recording! Now that we are all setup, and know how audio is moving through Live, in this lesson we will do a little recording.
"Record to Arrange" is a way of recording Session view into Arrangement view. In this lesson, I'll show you!
In this lesson I'm going to walk through this whole Ableton Live Set that we've been looking at for the last few sessions. I'll explain everything I see, in hopes that you pickup on anything you missed, some vocabulary, and just to reinforce what you've learned so far.
Editing in Live
In this lesson we will talk broadly about the basic editing features of Live.
One of the most basic functions in Live is Looping clips. In this lesson we will look at how that works in the timeline (Arrangement View).
Quantizing is a way to "snap" our MIDI notes to a grid, to clean up our sloppy playing (and for other reasons). In this lesson, I'll show you how to do it!
Automation is how to program changes in any parameter over time. Want the volume to go up in a section? Thats automation. Want a filter to start opening after the drop? Thats automation.
Possibly one of the most unique features in Live is the Groove Pool. In this video I'll show you what its for, and how to use it.
In this lesson I'm going to walk through another Ableton Live Set that we've been looking at for the last few sessions. I'll explain everything I see, in hopes that you pickup on anything you missed, some vocabulary, and just to reinforce what you've learned so far.
We've only scratched the surface!
Part 2 of this class? Oh yes - coming soon!
How to get started in Ultimate Ableton Live: Part 2 - Recording and Warping
Figuring out the difference between Plugins and Instruments. We tackle that in this lesson. (This is an excerpt from Ableton 4: Synths and Samplers)
You might be familiar with MIDI clips, but in this segment we will do another quick review to make sure we are all on the same page.
Attached here is a big big big list of all the Ableton key commands. Its huge.
I've had a lot of questions from people who just want to dive right in to recording audio in Ableton Live. The best answer to this question is to take my Ultimate Ableton Live 2: Recording and Warping class. But for those of you that just want the basics, here is a video that will get you up to speed.
There is so much more to learn!