Daniel D. Johnson

Trying out Ableton Live

A few weeks ago, I downloaded a trial version of Ableton Live and fiddled around with it. I wrote two short songs, and I thought I may as well put them up here. So, without further ado, here are the two songs I have written:

Street Corners


I've been exploring some different styles that I like, so they are quite different in content, and I haven't really edited them that much. Even so, though, I think they are pretty cool. I kinda pulled the names out of thin air, so don't expect any deep metaphors or anything.

One of my favorite parts of the second song, which I made most recently, are a few of the random tracks. I wanted to add an element of unpredictable randomness to parts of the song, and I ended up using Ableton's MIDI effects to do this. Basically, I wire up an Arpeggiator to a Random, which has the effect of turning a single long note into a series of random ones. I then feed that output into a Scale, which constrains the generated notes to a specified key. I also completely eliminate the original note in the Scale (the note that is input in the original MIDI sequence and that plays if the Random is disabled).

The MIDI effects used to produce the sounds The MIDI effects used to produce the sounds

What this does is makes it so that if the Random does not change the note, then the note is silent, effectively inserting random rests into the output and making it sound much more interesting. I used this effect both in the background notes during the middle section and the clicks and pops in the last half of the song.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy listening! I'm going to try to find time to experiment some more before my 30-day trial expires.