Skip to main content

music & audio

Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Lesson 11 of 18

Composition Exercise

Isaac Cotec

Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

staff favorite music & audio

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

11. Composition Exercise

Lesson Info

Composition Exercise

So here's ah, hip hop track that I did with kelly castle scott, another amazing musician from seattle, she's, a rap singer. And I also did it with so home with is this guy from north carolina, but let's, just do this. Sorry, this might be a little trap for you, raymond e o so all I want to do is go through this on really pick out the different sections right now. One thing you'll notice is that I'm just going to what I do is I generally have ah, blaine committee track at the top where then keep notes on the composition ah, highly suggest you after this, going through your favorite tracks and breaking up a composition like put in your favorite artists see what they were doing breaking into the sections and no, oh, I can see how they moved from that that section into another section and writing it all out in a bolton is really going to help you, so if I just write, click and say add many, uh, intro color it. One thing you'll notice is this's still kind of an intro, but with way doesn't r...

eally start right here e so I'm just going to do what's going on here stupid intro intro beats all right, so then this is the main section, right? Wait so this's also first stuff thing you'll notice already is they're about the same size right these blocks usually that happens usually it's like sixteen, thirty two whatever it might be but they're generally the same size blocks so what I can do in here something that's different about this track is there's a lot of variation which is more rap hip hop and he's also see than elektronik so if I say verse or let's just call this a part a part variation first section actually more variation so there's another variation let's see what happens after that still continues great example of variation you freed it and receive it. So this section here what do you guys think that is? I would call that a bridge I would say a breakdown or pre course yeah, I viewed this more as a breakdown so a bridge um a bridge would beam or of something like that when I showed the first example is, uh bridges much longer and usually very, very different? Uh then when you have this little section the selection little section is more likely to be like a breakdown because like I was trying to say bridges very usually have obviously different it usually has an obviously different core progression or something in it um so let's just call this a break down one thing you'll notice when you're looking at tracks is they could be very different like they don't always fit the concept of bridge, chorus or whatever they have variations to them that make them unique so but at least knowing that the building block kind of concept do you have a question? I was I actually pre course now the thing about almost sounds more like what I would have thought but just because it was so short that's why I didn't think breakdown so much ok looking yeah um well it's like a breakdown or or break in the sense that it's it's just a little bit of continuing of the rhythm really phil kind of the same thing right it's just a drum part so all of those air correct, but I viewed this in writing it as a breakdown so this next section is obviously like the next part you write very different. Yes, you could totally view this is a bridge bridge and because of this music I'm viewing this mohr is like a bee sort of thing like an a section b section. If I were to look at this more as a, uh traditional pop music, I might see there's a bridge because we have her going back and forth and then we have a bridge and then she comes back and it's pretty typical with pop music right where the singers going and then there'll be a bridge of a rap piece uh well it's very common in rap tohave the bridge being another rapper okay, like you'll have nicki minaj featured on some track or whoever like it'll be some artists and allowed this section with a rapper but not always a totally different singer, right? Like the beatles didn't have different singers they would just have a different section no, I was just remember that it was actually just heard the song of the day the one that came over the female group that saint waterfalls in the ninety he's right? It would be like if there was a bass nice and no that's not it was one with the eye patch yeah, like they did that where would be like court verse verse and then it was like a break of like this rap piece like almost like a bridge totally tlc thank you. Yeah uh so let's just call this sea part or sorry de parte de park and then in the next world wade I still say this is a breakdown just down on its feet and I see that as the a part because she said a lot of these lines earlier and then this whole part afterwards way right? So this is the basic composition of this track, right? Well, the awesome thing about doing this is if you go through and you create this and if I drag this into here I can create a new live set based off of that composition and I could drag it into any production and this is where this awesome tool said that I'm going to give you guys with the course is incredibly helpful and it's called the uh, composition tool kit and the idea here is let's say you're working on a composition look I'm gonna open up this one and you're working on something and you've got a sketch you've got an idea and you really want to build it out and you're like, I don't know where this is going to go what what should I view in terms of compass it composition well within the composition tool kit, which you can create yourself by just doing that activity that we did over and over and over again to the music you love you can easily just drag in that production and then you go look awesome here's this new composition I could use where it looks like it's verse chorus interest well, I don't know what has an intro but um verse chorus first course bridge course course out right? Or we could look it I took some other songs like here's tools, the grunge and they have intro intro a little break intro chorus very weird lot of their stuff is crazy um instrumental solos you name it, so if you want to make a ten minute long piece that goes all over the map you could use something like that or you could look at art who I love there's a composition I took from odd or thes air traditional ones like rondo form which is classical music where they go a b a c a it's just a different way of looking at your composition I found this absolutely amazing where I could just say okay trap electronica great or let's go with um eighties hip hop so grab that and seek so this is a track that I was working on now what I could do is I can build these elements and then drag them in and build a new composition so let's see I have so I'm just gonna call that a chorus I don't really know just flying around with this um why are you really yeah. Okay, so if I call that chorus and I just come in here and I just paste that on the chorus is one that I could come in and let's just call this like the verse so I just grab all this guys do come over and put it on my verse and this is just building out the sketch I don't know what the first gonna go well here no you know and then once I start sketching this idea I'm gonna really have to sit down and figure out which sections I like but then I could grab this thing copy and I could put it here as my bridge all right? So it looks like that precious shorter on and on that year and grab some type of breakdown so to create my breakdown I'm just gonna quickly just like grab these percussion open it up probably grab some type of riser or something now I can do this awesome thing in life where I can select any any amount and then say edit cut time right? I'd probably had some type of harmony here some there you go like I've started to piece together these little parts into a composition that makes sense but if I wanted teo I could just come in here and say, all right these parts are different how could I move into this composition and really begin to play with placement of things now some people might ask, why am I not using the locators within a bolton to kind of do this for two reasons? One of them is I can save that these midi tracks like I was showing you and drag them in and out, which you can't do with locators but a major reason is let's say I have this hole section if I select that mickey and I go to edit cut time, I can actually move whole blocks very easily through my composition at it pace time see that like it's a very a fast way of editing your composition, moving things once, if my verse was before my chorus was my course was later, vice versa or my a part, might be part very fast to move sections around and again, going through in creating these evaluations of your tracks are going off. Tracks you love are really going to help inspire you and make sure that your compositions can can both sound interesting and sound kind in a normal context to other music that's out in the world, but also be very easy to add it and play with, like, from a writing perspective, this is gigantic for me. This has made it very easy to come up with new ideas very quickly. Um, and I don't know how many things like twenty five or something different, different compositions you khun draggin like there's, no such thing, or whatever. There might be awesome. I love that trick.

Class Description

When you are working on a song it’s easy to get lost in the details of production and lose sight of what you are really trying to do: make better music. Ableton Live can help – Ableton’s flexible workflow lets you focus on what really matters.

Isaac Cotec is an Ableton Certified Trainer and in Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live he’ll teach you how to setup Live so the technical side of your songwriting process is simple and straightforward.

You’ll get tips on organizing your sample library, presets, and other assets so you can stay in the flow once the creative process starts. Then you’ll work through every step of songwriting process. To start off, Isaac will share tips on:

  • Picking a concept, genre, and bpm
  • Building out the melodic and rhythmic seeds
  • Quickly writing the foundation of the track

He’ll also help develop your work after you’ve laid a foundation. You’ll get insights on using:

  • Core elements: intro, verse, chorus, bridge, break, pre-chorus
  • Melodic devices: call and response, passing notes, ground bass
  • Rhythmic devices: syncopation, polyrhythm, etc

For those times when inspiration isn’t coming, Isaac will share the strategies he uses to overcome writer’s block and help you know when a song is done. You’ll know exactly what it takes to set up an optimal workspace in Ableton and how to write a song while taking full advantage of it’s functions and features.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Caribbean Drum Beats

Concept Music Guide

Creating Stem

Drum Loops

Fast Songwriting Example Files

Future Step MIDI Patterns

Hip Hop Beats 60-100 bpm


Production Template v3

Scale MIDI Presets

Scale Refrences

Sharing Live Sets

Fast Songwriting in Ableton Live - Syllabus

Isaac Cotec - Scale Refrences.alp

Isaac Cotec - Scale Refrences.alp

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


a Creativelive Student

I started sequencing in the mid-80s using Dr T's Keyboard-controlled sequencer... it had two modes like LIVE, a loop mode and an arrangement mode... you can see the progression of design today.. of course, there were no internal sounds, just MIDI, so you used modules and keyboards for sound generation, synced to tape for recording, added vocals, then took your tape to a bigger studio to mix, then sent off your master to those mysterious magicians to make it sound like a record. Amazing to see such a young kid like Isaac, able to do all the above work out of a little laptop! This young man is such an inspiration. He's not only got the music and technical side down, he's got got a good head on his shoulders. Great job, Isaac! Thanks so much for your willingness to teach and share what you have, and you have a lot! You're a great help.

Victor van Dijk

In awe with this super kind and highly knowledgeable teacher! Wow, he really pours his musician's heart out in this outstanding course on everything that relates to being a musician, sketching, writing songs, composing, and so on. Also it's a course chock a block full of highly helpful Ableton Live project files, PDFs, and many many useful tips and tricks. I highly recommend this course, it should have cost WAY more, and in all honesty, it's a steal! And did I mention, that you learn a lot about and within the Ableton Live environment?! LOVE this course!


Isaac is one of the best guy who can teach anything on Ableton! He got so many tips! His courses are so amazing! I really improved my skills thanks to him! And I do rewatch his courses with pleasure!