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Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Lesson 10 of 18

Parts of a Composition

Isaac Cotec

Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

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Lesson Info

10. Parts of a Composition

Lesson Info

Parts of a Composition

We've gone over all the different steps we've gone over stage zero building concepts that video trick ideas to keep us creative. We moved over into preproduction building our library, building our templates all these different tools, moving into sketches, coming up with ideas, building out those the different aspects that you need to create a track like the bass and the the beats and the groups, the harming mellie and so on, and also what is a sketch when you move on stuff like that and now we're moving into composition now, this is a big, obvious part of this course because it's fast song writing and we're going to go deep into expanding our sketch sketch is building out the ideas, modulating the parts, building on beats and melodies and building out the arrangement. So the idea here is if you've ever had a track that you're writing it and you're feeling like it's just not going anywhere or you're uncertain of how to create a story out of that track, that is what we're talking about. ...

We're talking about how to move these things into very interesting song arrangements that feel like they go through different changes and different sounds toe have something that's very true raju, and that really moves you through the track that is or composition, and the composition is building out those ideas we had in those sketches. Those things that we started to get interested in great how do we expand them and build more out of it a big part of that is understanding what makes a composition and we're going to talk about the very building blocks that the parts in things that you can put together to create your composition right? And we're goingto talk about this in kind of two ways one of whom is through a traditional composition pop music way and the other one is kind of seeing how that translates over into elektronik music because there are a little they're quite different in how they played out so the first thing we have is an intro and an intro is an added part of the composition to set up the arrangement it may or may not be the same key the introduction is a unique section that comes at the beginning of the piece right? Sometimes the introduction has very little to do with the rest of song there's quite a few songs an example healthy on on and on by the orb is an awesome example of that it's actually a minute and a half long and it's a completely different key completely different idea and then the song comes in but something about it just makes the rest of the song sound good and that is what an interest so as I'm going to talk about these different parts I'm going to show you examples within life through my own track let's see where are we all right so here's this track that I made click glimmers which is a track that I made with an amazing musician from here in seattle michael miracle and he did a lot of piano parts but I'm going to show this off as some good examples of these different sections so first thing we're going to listen to is the intro wait so you can see how the intro kind of set up the next section so it had a lot of the same elements but there's a few things missing and there was also a little bit of a different melody with those hong's and that is what made up the intro of this track then the next thing we have his verse verse contains the details of the song basically it's the story the event images and emotion that you're trying to express each verse will have different lyrics then the other one's a verse exists primarily to support the course or refrain both musically and lyrically all right so the verse is is this story right? It's the concept it's the thing that you're really trying to tell people it's where you come up with ideas or express new fund mellie's whereas in the chorus what I'll play next is more about like the hookey thing the thing that gets caught in your head now in elektronik music we don't have verse as much so I like to view it verse chorus, this whole concept as a bee because we do this thing a lot more where we have a section, which is kind of these melodies or solos. Then we go over to a b section, which is something a little bit different but similar, um, so you can view in elektronik music it like that, but I also want to show what verse traditionally is. So this next section here is the verse you play this for a little bit because it goes to first solo and then into coming into the court's ways. So this is still a verse it's a little different know kind of like where you're not different lyrics with the same beaten everything but it's a little different next thing is called pre course, which I'll talk about and in the course course is much more kind of hooking a way that the flow is differently. There's a different court structure within the course, too, to make it different than the other section. All right, uh, the chorus is the elements of a song that repeats at least once, if not multiple times. Ah, both musically and lyrically. It is almost always of greater musical and emotional intensity than the other verse, so if you had like, an a be within your music like let's say, you're doing thirty two bars or something more for for you would probably have this like buildup section where you have the beats and some melody that's the verse kind of a part and that be part would be where you bring in some type of instrument that is like very much front and center and kind of gives it more energy and that's what you want from your course, or you can view it again as a bee part. Now one thing that, um, you know, there's a lot of music theory here, and we're not going to go super deep into all the different things that you can do to build out your composition, but one thing is you'll notice the difference between and when I go into the chorus, it's a completely different, uh, harmonic progression sounds totally different, so that's important, but more that you can make these things kind of unique, the way that the story will flow will see much more engaging, so if you have, ah, main section, try to do something where you change the chord progression, you change the melodic aspect to give it a difference, knowing look att the other aspects of a track, we have a bridge now ah, bridges used this is generally used in pop music, but I find musicians that use the concept of verse, chorus and bridge within elektronik music make much more engaging music. It can be really cool, like a mandy or with their name, other names for getting the other name of the musician right now. Oh, buca shade where it's still four for electronic music, but it has these elements that give it a really cool composition or does this all the time too? And so a bridge, maybe a transition, but more often in popular music, it is a section that contrast with the verse usually ends as the dominant or often culminates in a strong transitional fifth. So in other words, it really if you know what a fifth court is it's really pushing that aspect, which wants to fall into a seat into the into the one. So if it's like c, then it's g really wanting to come back to the center coming into the c chord, right? And usually it's very different than the rest of the track? Uh, great example of this is a lot of the beatles, the beatles do this all the time where there have some song and you're getting into this like, super over the top hooking chorus and then a totally weird section comes in and you're like, what was that? And then it's over a lot of big pop music also the beach boys do this really really well but in here you'll notice I'm going to go into the bridge will be a very different section ah a whole new chord progression pull new melody brand new beat brand new base everything is almost like a different track different track with similar elements but if I go back to the chorus very very so that's the idea of the bridge of bridges to break you out of the track to give you something totally new now if you were to look at this in elektronik music a lot of times I've seen a b a b so it's moving between these ideas and then it has a breakdown which could be completely different just a totally different melody and are appreciating since something like that that then comes back to a b a b so you can use the concept of a bridge to you really freshening things up people might not even remember the bridge like when they think of the song a lot of people don't but it's to make it seen more interesting when you actually listen to it otherwise a b a b forever gets really boring really quick another uh the next two things are a little more advanced you have pre course now pre course is an optional section that is after the verse also referred to as a build or channel or transitional bridge the pre chorus functions to connect the verse to the chorus with immediate media ery material typically using sub dominate or similar transitional har mines in other words, this and this is their very different right how do I get there? Well, that's the pre course the pre chorus is a very short thing usually it's like two bars that just brings in kind of like it's a little statement you see this a lot in pop music we'll have some little hook or some little thing has said and then it goes into a chorus personally I find pre courses and things like that where you're taking a normal composition that could be a b and e putting a little change in it with something like a pre chorus gives it a really awesome amount of interest uh and another thing to think of pre chorus and electronic music is some point sometimes people use is as a break or a phil does this have like a b a break a be a break? You know, something that kind of freshen things up between when it's moving between a and b so you can use that concept over pre course in your electronic music as well? I'm going to show more examples of this to the last one is really important for elektronik musicians muchmore than I find in traditional music well in pop music and that is a solo or what I also like to call us a variation it's a variation in what was happening before so a solo is a section designed to showcase an instrument. This could be an added section or a variation of the verse of the course. So electronic music I have seen a lot of compositions that are basically like an intro an idea, and that idea is a variation of the idea variation of the idea variation of the idea, a breakdown like a bridge and then more variations and more variations variations. The end happens a lot, so they're using solo's a lot of times they bring in an instrument to the forefront that he's a brand new or was there in the background and it's now doing its own solo. And then it goes background and something else comes forward. It's very common in elektronik music much more than in pop music I find, uh just for solo. We've already kind of heard it theirs the first wave and then the soul is just kind of the instrument playing has more variation in the way it's moving and what it's trying todo all right, let's, just hear this pre chorus chorus against you can really hear those different aspects and you can see because all those sections air so different, but they seem to flow together that it adds much more of a story to the overall song yeah, well, it's not question was going to say, I think it really worked for me with that pre chorus is how it became sparse, like the beat actually lightened up and almost kind of like it's. Almost like, backed off for a little bit and then came into it. I thought that was really cool. I think that that's what makes that pre coursing work so much? Yeah. Cool. Yeah, thanks. Yeah, it also sets up the core's toe have more punch because of that. Like you're saying because it was a little bit lighter when the chorus comes in, it feels like new and more energy. Exactly. Yeah. So and then there's only one more here, which is much more electronic music, which is the brake or the breakdown? This is a common electronic music. That breakdown is where elements fall away, such as losing the beat for sixteen measures. This is also usually adding new elements and risers that bring you back to the next section. It's a super common and like almost all electronic music where, because a lot of electronic music a, b, a, b, a b break down the breakdown allows you to really get it down to minuscule aspects and then builds up and brings you back um, I'm going to show you that and we're going to look at evaluating a track. We go look at some other tracks and how we can break them down into those parts. So we know what they are.

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.


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!