One of my go-to softwares for producing/writing is Ableton Live. I also regularly produce record on Pro Tools, Logic, Digital Performer and Reason, but there is something about Ableton that speaks to me in terms of writing music. There are many different softwares that you can record and produce your music, but I think one of the biggest reasons I regularly use Ableton is its ability to loop.
You can simply go to Ableton’s “performance view” interface and play a chord progression on your guitar or piano. So to get started, set up the metronome on the top of left corner of Ableton.Then hit it and let it click. As it clicks, record-enable your audio track and click on the wheel next to your track to start recording a chord progression that you like. Once you are done, loop it and start working on some melodies over it.
This is a particularly effective technique when you don’t have a full written song and rather just a small idea. Something about looping, or repetition helps us focus and help with creating melodies. So with the Loop feature you can write a lot of songs. If you would like to check out more about writing interesting melodies, feel free to check out this post I wrote.
You can start with creating a melody over your A part. When you feel like you have an A part you like, you can move on to create a contrasting section, which we will call “B”. Creating a B section can be done a variety of ways, for instance you can change the chord progression and write a new melody on the top of the new progression. Then you can transition from A to B and see how it feels.
Now you can switch to Ableton’s second view, which is the “Session View”. Before you switch, you would have to copy your loops from performance view and then paste them into Session View.
Here in the session view, you can see all of your instruments vertically and you can horizontally start arranging things. You can see what happens in bar 16 or second 30. You can put your original chord progression in guitar or piano, and also your original melody. Then you can add more instruments, like drums and bass. You can even add more instruments and synthesizers! But we will get into those in the next post. Happy writing!
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new EP ‘Lines’ was released on November 2017 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com