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Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Lesson 13 of 18

Rhythmic Devices in Songwriting

Isaac Cotec

Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

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Lesson Info

13. Rhythmic Devices in Songwriting

Lesson Info

Rhythmic Devices in Songwriting

We've talked about moving melodies and harmonies and different ideas they're well how can we take a regular beat and make it um or interesting or add new elements to it well that's what we could do with either down be upbeat syncopation and so on and these are just some very basic but fun things to play with to uh add new interest to your melody to rhythm so let me see I'm gonna open up different life set again if you get this course you're going to get the melodic devices and the rhythmic devices live set so you can open it up see the examples play with the examples they have the names on the side it's very very easy don't crash good all right so I'm going to go through these different examples just like we did before but let's go back talk about them so first thing we have is downbeat downbeat is the first beat of the bar this is very simple right you go one, two, three, four one, two three so the one is the downbeat and a very basic example is two, three, four one, two, three four r...

ight it's a downbeat nothing particularly fantastic there but you might want to think like I could add down be to my music by having things fall back into the beat by having elements come into that sound of the first beat is the use off the down b now an upbeat is on on on accented beat or beats that occur before the first beat or the measure great example of this is so I just added an upbeat because it's three four it's kind of on off feet and we can still build this out more mohr by having different so we're playing with a piece with things that aren't quite on the one so you might just ask yourself how can I accentuate on upbeat or how can I essentially the downbeat? How can essentially both at certain times or vice versa just a different way of viewing your rhythm? They're the kind of the beginning steps but then we get two more interesting things like syncopation syncopation is really important if everything is straight on the up beaten down be like very four four oriented it gets very boring very fast but sink a patient is a rhythmic contradiction in which the strongest beat falls in an otherwise unexpected place and that's what really gives it humanization and interest far beyond just a simple beat and here's an example when I'm playing this example it's going to be a very simple melody and as the melody plays it would become more more syncopated and maybe by the end you'll recognize what the melody is so no syncopation very on little syncopation there but this one has a lot more where you don't quite expected so it started with something that was very interesting like like like that melody was very obvious but the way that it had sink a patient gave it what the quality that you know it for so adding making the notes moving him around off beat um can really add some interest you know you can just play with this idea more you know that was a different syncopation you just play around with your melodies and try toe play with that concept sink a patient also works for drums and other things like that so here's an off beat syncopation so the way that melanie is happening is kind of off the two one two three four you have movements out of the beat and another form of sink a patient would be this thing called suspension syncopation so it's where the notes are happening longer than you expect to kind of make it not quite fit the beat as you would you would expect so here we go way so they're just extending beyond the normal right very very simple stuff about howto play with those things but sink a patient is aki toe like jazz music and funk and electronic and so many different things of really playing off beat that's going to really give your music some interesting qualities now let's look at poly rhythm so this is rhythm against rhythm so polly rhythm is a term used to define their currencies of two or more conflicting rhythms sounding simultaneously so in other words the rhythms that aren't quite in time with each other but seemed toe work somehow no here's an example of polly with them we have three different layers here we have this one happening in a different rhythm than this one happening different one then that one you can just see like straight ahead somewhere faster so when we play them I mean they're kind of working right now but they're also different speeds but we could really developed polyurethane polly rhythm is a a whole new world that can add interest especially if you have like four for music people use polly rhythm in percussions all the time and a really amazing thing with that is this cool max for live device called euclidean cleaning rhythms is a way of looking at rhythms mathematically but the idea here is if I have this right now wait stop that aerial up for some reason uh that max for life isn't working are you all right so a clit ian I mean cleaning rhythms this device lets you very easily draw in new parts and it generates the midi for you so if I create a new part and now I can move the amount of pulses that's a poly rhythm it's a rhythm against the other rhythm that isn't quite in time I can even change this step amounts let's go with like nine steps over multiple poses and you can create really cool beats this way and I love the visualization that shows you that awesome shape represented and then then one next to it is showing you it maura's like a midi from straight perspective you just crazy king ofthe senate it gets really weird really quick but playing with that in your music can add some really cool things polly rhythm is used all the time in african drumming things like that so whenever you hear like a house music with some really cool polly rhythm that is uh you know can add really amount cool man interest let me see if I have um uh see if I can find his real quick I thought I had it up ecstatic one find is one example tracks come on, drax there we go way well, I think that one might work but I have other examples so when we have this house music everything's kind of on beat very obvious but as soon as I have this drum part that comes in later I get tons of syncopation and folly rhythms company here. So there's syncopation happening in the drummond and the way the polyrhythms they're playing with it to give it a lot more interest a lot more movement that's compared to four for it's a tracking me with david block the human experience all right, so there are other things here we're going to play talk about cross for them, but in life or was that was that a lot of that was programmed cool, yeah, it was a lot of samples and things that we had created that rhythm from yeah, but using this device I've done it with percussion sounds is super fun because right now I'm just doing with this classic, but I think even come in here and say, uh, hope that's, bang up bomb bongos, I can, you know, use any trump rack crane and I have to program it properly, but, you know, just using that, including rhythm and creating some weird polyrhythms could be very fun. Um, we're at an interest your track all right, so then let's talk about cross rhythm so we have polly within, which is rhythm against rhythm, but cross rhythm is rhythm against a meter cross rhythm is a poly rhythm that occurs in a longer span of time, not on ly conflicting against another rhythm, but also against the given meter of the music. This gets really weird. You see people like no such thing or a lot of like that strange trip hop tipper and stuff like that use this and, uh, example of this is we have a three, eight rhythm, so we have, uh, these air completely different rhythms so this is one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten like it takes it takes a while for this toe actually meet up at the same time is that and we'll hear that so one is happening in for a time the other one's happening in three, three four so their meters against meters and we also have, like cross for them here where is three to two so you can see that it's three for every to and and here's playing with that idea with the melody so we have a three to two they're the rhythm's going against meter and then we also have a melody that's going into the meter this is a cool way to add a different rhythm you also have this with triplets when you had triplets to your rhythm it's kind of convened against the meter or things like that is a fun, interesting way too develop new ideas in your music so play with like writing new drum part in a completely different meter you could do that within live easily by coming in here and saying, uh, right here the signature I can maybe that make the signature one eight and I can write it as if it was in a one a bar or I can change it to one sixteenth or ten sixteen you know, totally different rhythms based on your time signature in the clip itself, which is different than the the project time signature. So you can create these weird rhythms that are falling in on themselves and very strange patterns. Course, that was rhythmic devices, syncopation and polly were. Then we're going to be key. Check out a canadian rhythm that max for live device. Superfund, teo. Add strange new beats and rhythms to your music.

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

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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!