Ableton Live: Use Clip Envelopes for more animated, expressive clips

OBJECTIVE: Add variety and expressiveness to MIDI sequences and audio tracks by modulating parameters with Clip Envelopes.BACKGROUND: Ableton Live makes it easy to create modulation envelopes, as well as edit them “on the fly,” for both MIDI and audio tracks. All of this takes place in the Clip Overview pane for the sequence you want to edit. This example uses a MIDI track; the procedure is very similar for audio tracks.
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OBJECTIVE: Add variety and expressiveness to MIDI sequences and audio tracks by modulating parameters with Clip Envelopes.

BACKGROUND: Ableton Live makes it easy to create modulation envelopes, as well as edit them “on the fly,” for both MIDI and audio tracks. All of this takes place in the Clip Overview pane for the sequence you want to edit. This example uses a MIDI track; the procedure is very similar for audio tracks.

STEPS

1. In the Clip Overview pane, click on the E button (in the Clip View box).

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2. Click on the Device Chooser; a pop-up menu appears. Choose the target Device for the automation (the screen shot shows Redux being selected).

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3. Select the parameter you want to modulate in the Control Chooser.

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4. Choose the Pencil Tool.

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5. Right-click within the sequence using the Pencil Tool; this calls up a context-sensitive menu. Here you can change the grid to which envelopes will snap, choose a triplet grid, or turn off the grid altogether.

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6. Draw the envelope shape as desired.

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7. If you click on the Device Chooser or Control Chooser, devices and controls with automation have small red squares to the left of the device or control’s name.

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TIPS

- For Step 5, there are several keyboard shortcuts (check the manual) for changing the width, as well as turning snap on and off.