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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Oct 17 > Creating expressive instruments in Ableton with Instrument Racks

Creating expressive instruments in Ableton with Instrument Racks

In this new series focusing on contemporary production across a range of DAWs, artist, producer and tutor Erin Barra explains how to create more emotionally expressive instruments using Live’s Racks…

Contemporary Production Tutorial

Part One

One common misconception of electronic music and instruments is that they’re not as expressive or ‘human’ as their traditional counterparts. For those of us in the know, this seems like a silly thing to say, but it’s a belief that often gets thrown around and repeated nonetheless.

As a writer and performer of electronic music, I’m always looking for ways to use technology to help tell a story and communicate a feeling. So, in an effort to debunk people’s assumptions that electronic music lacks humanity, I’ve decided to create a custom expressive instrument inside of Live using one of my favourite devices, the Instrument Rack.

Inside of Live, Racks come in many different shapes and sizes: Drum Racks, Instrument Racks, Audio Effect Racks and MIDI Effect Racks. At their most basic, they’re devices we can use to build complex processors with elaborate signal flow; stack synths and samplers to create our own instruments or series of instruments; as well as create something reflective and responsive.

Follow this tutorial to get expressive with Ableton Live…
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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is on sale from Thursday 21st September where this month we go all out and show you how to record EVERYTHING! Across 12-pages we cover the best ways to position your microphones and accurately capture the vast majority of instruments you’ll ever need to record. To help you along the way, our Beginner’s Guide this month takes an extensive look into the world of dynamic, condenser and ribbon mics. Elsewhere we sate our inner geek with our in-depth interview with the pioneering Radiophonic Workshop, whose rich history begins way back in the early 60s, where they painstakingly created innovative soundtracks for the BBC, most notably the theme for Doctor Who. As if that wasn’t enough we’ve also assembled a special 24-page supplement full of our favourite reader and pro studio interviews, free with this issue.