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Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Lesson 7 of 18

Using a Beat Library For Songwriting

Isaac Cotec

Fast Songwriting In Ableton Live

Isaac Cotec

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Lesson Info

7. Using a Beat Library For Songwriting

Lesson Info

Using a Beat Library For Songwriting

Personally, a lot of my music is beat oriented it's, rhythmic oriented right like a lot of electronic music, so if you're making hip hop music or or drum and bass fourth floor type of stuff like house all of that is rhythmically oriented for the dance floor when I'm building a track, I am thinking of the rhythm and the groove as the foundation and building those assets and presets and stuff that I build the rest the track off of and creating a library that's ready for you to use is going to be really helpful in your production speed you up immensely and let's look at some beat stuff that I do in my pre production I see that there's three ways to create a beat you can perform them by hand by using an instrument or controller and that's very obvious and simple and I'm not the best performance I'm much better at writing things that I am at performing them live but basically you just have some instruments thing like let's add uh that two step one again under drug future future step so if I...

just dragging an instrument that was a little loud alright then you gotta turn on the most amazing, better known sound ever record totally let's speed it up a little all right, so that was absolutely terrible right uh but we have awesome options in editing one thing is I didn't quite start on time, I can grab alone, move um then I have this great thing called quantum ization, so if I right click and say kwon ties, it snaps all of it to the grid and I can define what that grit is but let's, just quanta eyes that I'm actually move that one there, and we're going to the start point and I have to play with it a little bit to get a really good beat out of it because the quant ization kind of moved it around a little weird it's hard for me to hear the metrodome, but in editing move that around, I can also come in here and just draw in hi hat patterns or whatever it might be right, so you can start building it by writing it by hand. Or you can also come in and write it through the software by double clicking, stretching the media and so on and creating those instruments now, because I'm not the best performer necessarily rhythmically, I don't generally right this way I used different techniques, and I'm going to show you guys that now granted, the more that you can play perform your music, the better it will sound, it would just have a natural quality but that's not the only way to produce, beats and produces aspects another way you can do it is by cutting up samples so when we're in here we're writing it for midi but we don't have to do that necessarily we can also do the same thing with samples right where I can come in here all right so I have this there's two ways that we can do this one way is if I take this sample I'm going to put it in arrangement view and this is if you have some loop right so that's original beat some luke and I have the simplest way of editing would be just come in here and like duplicate parts and rearrange things spice it up by hitting control d or command e and you can begin to edit it so let me like duplicate that a few times right very simple way of starting to edit a beat by taking the original one and chopping it up and then you can do this great thing where you collect you select all of it and then you consolidate it that is now a new a new loop right? Well there's other ways we can do this to within a sample and we can create a beat using just one shots from the very beginning so if I come over into I just have some of these one shot's ready for me right? Like I can literally just draw in what I think I want it to be so let's turn that one off so I can come in here and I can drop by I just dragging and dropping right I'm just holding control or command to move these around into placated and then I can also add something like a high hat let me uh I don't know what that's therefore from the high hat and I could just draw in a group basically it's kind of like painting at this point it's not so much performance it is just riding in an idea all right zoom in their duplicated too weird things stretching you name it he actually seems to be uh groups a little off because of that one two three four right very simple way of creating new beats by just slicing up samples but then we also uh can do more interesting stuff uh no I'm actually going to show that we're going to show launch modes later but this whole thing remember how is showing you re sampling before this is where this becomes very important because if I press record on my re sample all right so re sampling alright record I've created that new sample and that way I can build these beats and create them and then I can save them for different uses and different tracks later it's an awesome way to like okay I'm just going to work on some beats and drag things around I'm going to create it's kind of like painting these ideas and then I can save this for later production now there are a few ways I can save this one of them is aiken drag this into anything like let's say I create a new folder called um beets right and I could drag this beat into there and bam that moved over that audio it's saved within this project and now I can always dragon in another project and you can slowly start building mohr mohr sonic palette more more beats that you can throw into your production something else you khun d'oh is I can actually grab these three if I drag it into beats it creates a live set and I could drag that live set back into another live said at any time and have that so if I created a beat I don't even have to save it to audio if I want I just drag it in and then I have this huge library that I'm creating of ready to use beets it's made my production a lot faster because I know you guys with me like if I have a really good beat I've got a track like it's just the beginning of a cool idea so if I have a bunch of cool beets went in my production I can throw them in ad new melodies it's a super fast way for me to stay creative and get it get in my in my group so career said speak um there is one other thing that I like to dio which is using midi and this is huge for me personally if I scrape midi grooves and many drunk patterns already and use them on my production it makes it super fast let me show you what that is so if I come over let's see question yeah do you find that if you make a lot of different drum beats initially you those end up in different tracks of your of your project or your album yeah yeah I mean quite a quite a few won't make it but a lot of them if I just make some beats and then I put him in the sketches I find it as a great way to keep me moving when I'm feeling like writing new ideas out also writing these beat libraries make it super simple if I have some track and I'm like halfway through it and I want to add a new beat I could just go back to my beat library and throw in some random beats like a bunch of different beats until I have one that I like it's a very fast way of coming up with new ideas that answer um trying to open this so this technique really changed my production and maybe a lot faster and that is writing beats in midi so a good example of this is a while ago I was really interested in two step so I just sat down and I took a bunch of two step uh loops and turned them into midi by just drawing it out I'm going to show you how to do that and that way I have this huge library I can flip through and they're all midi right here and since they're many let me pick that one, I can come in and I can actually totally change the drum instrument okay? Switching over right so I can take the same midian turning into an unimaginable amount of different versions just because I can switch out the drum rack itself. Let me undo that because I didn't like that rack as much great and, um so let's talk about how we can make thes middies now we can save them and have this a library that we can use in our production right? So uh okay, let me see my current project. Your library and I call this deconstructing a beat right where I have these different beats. The great thing about this is you can take some like rap track you like or or trap our hip, hop whatever you want and break down to be deconstructed have it in your library and you can have a whole bunch of different beats from artists you like or ideas that you like that you can throw in and edit throughout your process it makes it super fast and for making new ideas and there are a few ways to do this one way is if you right click you can do this new future ableto live nine which is convert drums to new mini trach and that reads it and basically estimates like oh we think that's a kick there we think that's a snare and it's going to throw it into a new uh a new track so let's hear totally off I'd say seventy percent of the time it works but a lot of times for me personally it doesn't work that well but you could come in here and edit out the nodes and start making a good groove and you can save that groove right uh that seems to work way better for very traditional based drums like a normal drum kit but since you're using a lot more electronic sounds it's not the best for me personally what I like to do is this one if you create a new middie track right so we're gonna be editing this middie track what I could do is I could come over to my audio effects grab and each you ate it seems to already be one there and what I can do is through my filtering I'm just isolating the base now this might seem a little counter tube it's all gonna make sense if I then freeze my track I'm freezing it with that cue on I'm gonna flatten it so right click and press flatten now I'm on lee saying seeing the base it makes it very easy to isolate some element if I'm double clicking and I concede in here right I'm not if you come in here and he's clean up all the extra notes that you don't need I find that now there's this awesome thing you khun d'oh which is we make sure I get rid of all those because you can see right there is some transients there that aren't actual notes I'm just cleaning up real quick like these aren't notes that was our that's not so on now if you right click into this thing called extract groove extract groove basically reads where those transients are and just turns that into a new file and because we can do this I can just grab the groove throw it in and I have those notes what's its done in my group pool right there dragon inn groups two dragon into an empty slot you have all the notes of those kicks now those seem a little often which is edit it but I find that a very fast way of doing this and you can go through and I can do the same thing I can duplicate this I can come in I'm going to eat you just snare now this won't sound but I'm really isolating the hit right and then I freeze and flatten and I can continue this process and deconstruct the beat. It just makes it a lot easier for me to actually because now look, you can obviously see where that snare hits every time and then right off the bat you can either, uh, do that thing that I showed before, which is right click extract groove or sometimes it's just a lot easier to draw it in and that's pretty much just on the force so we can duplicate that and then moving up to this air. All right, I think there's a lot. They are wrong there. Yeah, kicks a little off, but going through that with your different beats can make it very easy to deconstruct one, even just visually. And then you can write it in and you could do the same thing for the hats and so on. It's also a great way to take out a percussion to really know where percussion stab might hit or something like that and you're slowly building up these presets, right? And then when you have this mini, what I like to do is go into my resource is many library and I was just save this so I can write click export many clip can export anywhere, so right now let's just d'oh in the same course song writing says the project all right, so converted minnie now if I go to my course should just saved it oh it doesnt see kind of a life set um but writing here is that many and I could just drag the median and any of my productions right because of this I've gone through and I've done it to tons of different uh different libraries so within this course you're going to get a lot of these pre made many template so let me show you what that is by coming to my course course files let's see, I've got hip hop right here so I can drag in there's a hip hop uh beat that pre made I could go in the future step drag that in separated by bpm and it's very for me a very quick and creative way I don't know why those are working uh percussion dragon and so on but see also have caribbean is a part of it moomba ta and you name it um tons of different samples because it was asking me a question right very fast way of adding new beats and as soon as they're there you can start editing the crap out of them to make them new and interesting but to me it really gets my creator creativity very okay tara why granitsas a stock able to kit so it's not the most gorgeous and but right off the bat I have a beat that I can build edit, edit these many, and before I know it, I've got a group that really enjoy. So those are the three ways that I like to write beats. I do this a lot of pre production. I quickly add ideas I can mix and match these ideas in my live production much later and it's a great jumping point very quickly throw out a new beat pattern, maybe switch out the instrument in midi very quickly and before you know it, you're building these new beats very fast. Cool. So again, this is going to come with a lot of media library for you guys to play with the dragon drop. Nature is something I'm going to talk about a lot because me personally, if I'm sitting down and I'm writing a melody, I could dragon in new beat right to that new that new groove, awesome at a new group for a different part very quickly moving through the production and the more that we can like. Have preset ideas or concepts that we can throw in and keep ourselves moving, the faster we're going to be in production. Nothing is worse for me personally than when I'm sitting there, and I'm just like a man, I don't I don't know what the beat is and I'm playing it. I'm not inspired by like, I don't know where to go with this, I'm going to go listen to some hip hop tracks and see what they were like take that out to make it very fast. It's going really speed up your production? Yeah, so this course comes with the production template, which already shown the hip hop many library, a caribbean drumbeats library, a future step which a lot of two step garage uk garage sounds, as well as a collection of drum loops so you can play with splicing up a drum loop, moving parts around and also a collection of drum one shots that I like to use, and with all those tools, you should be able to just instantly start playing with these concepts around building beats. So let me see we got drum loops here, a bunch of different loops and a bunch of different I think the one shots are in there, yeah, separated by type like I was talking about before organization could be really helpful.

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!