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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Feb 17 > The lazy guide to Ableton Live Part 1: creativity

The lazy guide to Ableton Live Part 1: creativity

Live is obviously excellent at looping clips – that’s what it’s built on, after all – but it’s all too easy to get bogged down in rigid looping hell. Fortunately, it’s almost as easy not to. MusicTech has an easy guide to creative clip use and how to get creative… fast!

Ableton Live A lazy person’s guide!

Level Beginner

We did argue over whether to call this ‘The Lazy Person’s Guide To Live’, as we thought it could be a little too demeaning. But, let’s face it, using a DAW is basically using technology as a shortcut, so all of us who use DAWs are either lazy, or – and we certainly prefer this option – using technology to realise our creative dreams more quickly. Yes, that’s good – we’ll stick to that!

So the crux of this tutorial is that the main problem with technology and DAWs is that it’s very easy to fall in to some bad habits. You might, for example, just use the features available in a non-creative way and end up with something quite tedious. Live suffers especially from this, largely down to its central selling point of being able to play loops in time, so that everything sounds pretty good, very quickly. This is both its main draw but also a feature which might make you think: ‘Sounds okay, let’s just run with that…’

We want more than ‘okay’! The beauty of Live is the not-so-hidden depths that you can explore to take these looped ideas onwards and upwards. A few tweaks here and there and you suddenly introduce a dynamic to your tune that gives it life. Add a bit of variation to your clips, either by changing the notes within them, the sounds they trigger, or their start and end points and you suddenly have a lot more variation and creativity going on.

And you know what the best bit of all of this is? It’s pretty easy to accomplish! It’s why we’ve labelled this with a ‘Beginner’ tag although if we were betting people, we’d guess that there are people who consider themselves intermediate and expert users who choose not to use some of these shortcuts – as they might not be considered clever – or they don’t know about them. Either way, we feel that all users should give this workshop a spin and we’re sure that everyone will discover, or rediscover, at least one choice short cut…

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