It’s the little things. Ever wish you could work with clips that didn’t start on a downbeat? Or your Live session has a bunch of clips you want to make go away? Dennis DeSantis, known for his Ableton book “Making Music,” comes to our rescue.
First, let’s talk Pickup Notes. Ableton has over the years gradually added features that are common in music practice, but not always as accessible in music software. Now you can trigger tempo changes and meter changes from Scenes, for instance. But Live’s on-the-grid approach still largely assumes that materials begin on downbeats, whether or not that was your musical idea.
Pickup Notes is the most elegant and graceful solution to the problem yet – just assign Clips to the Device, and you can quantize audio or MIDI to any beat – without changing the quantization setting for the whole session. That saves you in performance situations where you may have other things occupying your mind and dexterity. It might also be useful in AV sets using the various visual tools available for Live (or in Live sessions that trigger visuals in other apps).
Another gem is Delete Muted Clips. Anything muted or deactivated can be deleted all at once in either Session or Arrangement views. That’s useful housekeeping if you already went through and muted/deactivated materials – especially if you use muting as a quick what-if arrangement approach. (The ‘0’ key is a great shortcut for that.) But you might even adapt your workflow just knowing this Device is at your disposal – that is, it might make you mute even more.
It gives you a handy ‘subtractive’ approach to arrangement – like hacking away at a sculpture.
Oh, and then there’s Note Wrap. There’s a good chance you tried to do this without thinking – wouldn’t it be great if in a looped Clip, notes moved out of one side jumped back to the start of the loop? This does that:
And it’s little wonder that the trained musician and percussionist and composer who wrote Making Music would think in such a refreshingly musical way. I wish all music software were designed more like this out of the box. Take note. Uff. Did not mean to do that. You know.
There are a bunch more he’s created, so the easiest thing to do is to just go through Dennis’ maxforlive.com account and grab all of them.
MIDI Sample and Hold. Metric Modulator. You get the idea.
There’s even a tool to keep Follow going when you zoom or scroll. Hopefully someone on the Live product team has set Dennis’ Max for Live page as their homescreen… hint, hint.
For added support, buy that guy a coffee.