Making a tune??

Hi guys I am a newbie to ableton and am slowly starting to get my head around things and how they work, I'm wondering what is the best way to make a tune is it by simply using samples or do many people use live's intruments?  If it's using samples then how do u turn a simple synth hit sample into a loop? Do you use Impulse?  If it's by using lives intruments how can you make them not to sound like tetris :)  Im trying to do house and electro mainly.




rs250r 6 years ago | 0 comments

5 answers

  • jimp
    1 answer
    5 votes received
    5 votes

    I sing melodies and beats in to my iPhone whenever I'm out and about and have an idea. Later, when I have some time to make music, I sync my phone then drag the voice memos in to live, loop them, play along to them with a midi keyboard to get the notes, then quickly audition loads of loops and patches to get the start of a tune.

    If it sounds good when you're mumbling or scatting in to your phone it will sound great once you've got some good loops and patches playing it. If you listen back to the memo and it sounds uninspiring, you've only wasted the 30 seconds it took to record it and you were probably walking somewhere at the time anyway.

    Once the track's underway I sing other parts in to my phone while I'm working with live so I don't forget them. If I start trying to work them out with a keyboard often the parts in my head get poisoned by the notes I'm playing on the keyboard. Sometimes these new parts will get synced and copied back in to the Live set, other times I'll just play them back on the phone while working them out on the keyboard.

    I find if I try to start a track from scratch with Live I get lost playing with sounds and gadgets and the music ends up being based on the same 2 chords I'm used to playing on my 2 octave keyboard.

    Ableton Live is amazing, but honestly the most important piece of music equipment I own is a smartphone with a voice recorder: without it all the music I've written over the last few years would have been forgotten before it even got to Live.

    6 years ago | 1 comment
  • gdomusic
    28 answers
    65 votes received
    3 votes

    It really depends on the song... there is no right answer on this one. As a "general" method, I like to start out with a basic beat, usually kick and snare. Explore both Impulse and Drum Racks. They both have a ton of features, but as you will find soon enough, there are a lot of shared or common features on the majority of Live's instruments. This is really cool, because as you start to learn the features of one of the instruments, you can then apply what you learned to a lot of other instruments.

    Most often, I have all my drum/percussion elements separated into individual tracks and then later on I group them. It saves space by grouping, plus, having the elements separated allows to mix and match the basic clips making up a beat, which gives you the option for a LOT of variation down the road in both composition and live performance.

    Make sure you go thru the built in lessons for the instruments. It will give you a solid foundation for designing basic sounds with Live's instruments. I would recommend working with Operator and Simpler first. There are a lot of really good tutorials online. Check out Dubspot's youtube page. They put out a TON of great information. You can seriously learn a lot from their free videos.

    As far as samples go, again it depends on the context for what you are trying to do. Sometimes, I will start out with a sample of some audio from a song I dig. I will take a micro edit, re-pitch it, filter and effect it into something different, turn on looping in the clip envelope, and then use this as rhythmic bed or pad that I will then build the rest of the track on top of. That being said, most often I like to build up the basics of a track with Live's instruments and then possibly look at loops and samples to add into the composition to add little more color and texture. Learn how to manipulate the samples with clip envelopes. Learn to transpose, filter, add effects, EQ, and resample  the audio into something entirely new. It makes it way more personal and more importantly, unique. 

    Hope this helps! There really is a ton of great information online. I'd definitely check out Dubspot, DJ Vespers, Tom Cosm, Point Blank Online, Quantize Courses, and Ableton Inc. They all have youtube channels with more than enough info to get you up and running. Also, grab "Live 8 Power" by Jon Margulies. It covers pretty much everything you need to know. Well worth the $20. 

    6 years ago | 0 comments
    4 answers
    4 votes received
    1 vote

    Glad I'm not the only newb here! =P

    From what I have learned, if your starting out using instruments is going to be alot easier than samples.  I'm not saying you cant, but if you want the easiest route then go with the instruments.  

    And I understand about them 'sounding like tetris' at first. But I will make a simple pattern and let it loop while i see how it sounds through a bunch of instruments.  And while your doing that make sure to twist each knob a few times because sometimes it will totally change the sound and you will end up liking it.

    And of course you can add a delay or EQ to any instrument to make it sound better/cooler.

    Hope I helped!

    6 years ago | 0 comments
  • Mark One
    68 answers
    161 votes received
    1 vote

    Ok so the best way to get straight into producing songs with Ableton is to get a free introductory lesson : ) check this out:

    Nothing like a few pointers from seasoned users to get you rolling and inspired : )


    6 years ago | 0 comments
  • Near Earth Object
    820 answers
    822 votes received
    0 votes

    Wether you use samples, instruments or whatever, it doesn't matter! Everybody works in a different way, and there simply is no right or wrong way to do it. 

    Explaining how you have to make a tune would take much too long here; most of us started like this, and you will have to accept that this learning process takes a long time! You won't be able to make a great track within one week :-)

    Just use instruments or plugin-synths to make some loops, use samples in simpler, impulse or drumracks and try what sounds best. Record these parts, freeze/flatten to audio or drag the loops to your track setup. Make variations on your loops or edit audio on the fly by cutting/pasting/copying, etc.

    Also try to use some fx on your sounds and see what happens. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, simple as that. Don't spend too much time on getting the sounds perfect right away, but try to understand the software first. It takes time and practice to get better, and after a while you'll get better and understand more about what you're doing!


    6 years ago | 0 comments

You need to be logged in, have a Live license, and have a username set in your account to be able to answer questions.

Answers is a new product and we'd like to hear your wishes, problems or ideas.