A-001 – Ableton Introduction – Drum Rack

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During this lesson we will take a tour of Ableton Live’s multiple work areas. By the end of this class we will have a basic understanding of how to use Ableton Live’s “Arrangement View” to create a simple drum beat with “Drum Rack”.


Info View – Live’s Info View tells you the name and function of whatever you place the mouse over. For certain items, you can create your own text and it will appear in this window.

Preferences – Live’s Preferences window is where you can nd various settings that determine how Live looks, behaves and interfaces with the outside world.

Audio Preferences – The Audio Preferences are used to set up Live’s audio connections with the outside world via an audio interface.

Live SetThe type of document that you create and work on in Live.

Selector buttonsat the screen borders calls up a special view. – Above shows the Browser Show/Hide Button

The Browser – The place where you interact with your library of musical assets: the core library of sounds that are installed with the program, any additional sounds you’ve installed via Ableton Packs, presets and samples you’ve saved, your Ableton and third-party devices, and any folders that you’ve added manually

Live Sets – The type of document that you create and work on in Live is called a Live Set. Live Sets reside in a Live Project — a folder that collects related materials — and can be opened either through the File menu’s Open command or via Live’s browser.  Uses the file format: .als

Clip – The basic musical building blocks of Live are called clips. A clip is a piece of musical material: a melody, a drum pattern, a bassline or a complete song.

Arrangement View – a layout of clips along a musical timeline; The Arrangement View displays the Arrangement, which contains music laid out along a song timeline, like a multitrack tape.

Session View – a real-time-oriented “launching base” for clips

Tracks  host clips and also manage the flow of signals, as well as the creation of new clips through recording, sound synthesis, effects processing and mixing. In the Session View, the tracks are laid out in columns, while in the Arrangement View they are stacked vertically, with time moving from left to right.

Audio signal – a series of numbers that approximates a continuous signal as generated by a microphone or delivered to a loudspeaker.

MIDI signal – a sequence of commands, such as “now play a C4 at mezzo piano.“ MIDI signals are generated by input devices such as MIDI or USB keyboards.

MIDI – Musical Instrument Digital Interface. MIDI is a symbolic representation of musical material, one that is closer to a written score than to an audio recording.

**Audio signals are recorded and played back using audio tracks, and MIDI signals are recorded and played back using MIDI tracks. The two track types have their own corresponding clip types. Audio clips cannot live on MIDI tracks and vice versa.**

Non-Destructive Editing – The original audio files are not changed in anyway while being used within the program. Files are simply referenced and told how to play the track.

(Download Ableton 9 Manual)

Open Preferences can also be accessed with the [CTRL][,](PC)/[CMD][,](Mac) shortcut.

Full Screen Mode by selecting the Full Screen command from the View menu. Full Screen Mode can also be toggled by pressing [F11](PC) / [CTRL][CMD][F](Mac). On Windows and versions of OS X prior to 10.9, you can leave Full Screen mode by clicking a button that appears in the lower right corner of the screen.

Toggle Between Arrangement and Session View – using the computer’s [Tab] key or their respective selectors. If you’re using two windows, pressing [Tab] will swap the Session and Arrangement from one window to the other.

Toggle Device/Clip View– [Shift][Tab](PC) or F12(PC) [Shift][Tab] or [CTRL][F12](MAC)

Add MIDI track – [CTRL][SHIFT][T](PC) [CMD][SHIFT][T](MAC)

Add Audio Track – [CTRL][T](PC) [CMD][T](MAC)

Rename Selected Track – [CTRL][R](PC) [CMD][R]

Study Your Key Commands Here