Writing EDM in Ableton Live

Steven Melin
A free video tutorial from Steven Melin
Best-Selling Instructor • Music Composer for the Screen
4.6 instructor rating • 1 course • 17,196 students

Learn more from the full course

Film, TV, & Video Game Music Composition + Production Basics

(2020) Learn how to write & produce pro-quality music for film, TV, & video games. Redesigned for all experience levels.

13:42:02 of on-demand video • Updated July 2020

  • Compose & Produce music on a computer for Film, TV, and Video Games
  • Mix & Master high-quality music
  • Purchase the right music gear for best results
  • Choose and use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • Write effective melodies and harmonies
  • Compose in multiple styles and genres
  • Record live instruments
  • Edit Audio & MIDI effectively
  • Notate sheet music and chord charts
  • Basic to Advanced Music Theory
  • Synthesize and Sample Electronic Music
  • Orchestrate from Piano to Large Ensemble
  • Basics of Film Scoring
  • Basics of TV and Movie Trailer Music
  • Basics of Video Game Music
  • Build a successful Portfolio and Demo Reel
  • (2020) Bonus Content: How to Train for Professional Composing Speed
  • (2020) Bonus Content: How to Build DAW Templates
  • (2020) Bonus Content: How to Create a Realistic Sampled Orchestra
  • (2020) Bonus Content: How to Earn First Dollars
  • (2020) Bonus Content: How to Grow a Music Business from Scratch
English [Auto] End this lecture we're going to explore how to write etiam music now electronic dance music is a really fun category because the sky is the limit. The goal of ETM is to create music that's really fun upbeat and energetic. So for this video I'm going to be using able to live. Let's talk about live for just a moment just to show you why I think it's so useful for this style of music. So you'll notice here on the main screen it doesn't look anything like a traditional dock because on this page everything is vertical to notice that each of these tracks here is a different instrument and you can add as many as you'd like to the right. And over on the far right we have a master So you notice when I double click on the track at the very bottom it gives me a horizontal list of all of the sample instruments and plugins that are on that track. So you notice as I scroll to the right how they keep changing at the bottom and this is an incredible way to perform live because this is the only screen you need. You can do is you can toggle by creating your own shortcuts with your keyboard or with your mini controller what you can do is down here. These are all red buttons on your your arm session recording buttons and what happens is as soon as I click that button every track pets a neighborhood with the red button is now playable and it's going to play together. So if you're on stage playing keyboards and you want to quickly activate three sounds or two sounds one sound you can trigger these by going up to your key or up to your mini and every button that I click I can now sign to a mapping on my midi controller or any other device that's connected. Same thing with the key. That means keyboard. So my computer keyboard I can hit a certain number a certain letter and really quickly while you're playing live you can switch between all different types of sounds because it has all them loaded simultaneously and you can even map all of the faders to your own faders on a mixing console or on your midi controller if you have those or knobs that you can assign them to. So you can already imagine how powerful this can be for playing live. So in my opinion when you create dance music you are basically becoming a deejay for that track. So every performance is going to be different. So the way that I create music using able tonight is I will create multiple sections so you notice appear in the top right underneath the master which if you double click will show you all of your master plug ins but underneath there you'll notice how horizontally when I click the intro they labeled all of the tracks that are on that specific row are now going to be enabled. So if I click the play button it's only launching the clips that are on those specific tracks. So what I did is I went in and I double clicked in a blank space. I created some music down here in the piano roll and when you do that you have several options down here if you can to select if you want it to be a loop or not. You can link it you can add different envelopes like your automation and then that one little clip you can set for a certain length. So I have it set for eight bars to loop and so each of the others on the same intro section I have set to eight bars. So what's going to happen is I'm going to play this play button and watch the counter here once it gets to eight. It's going to repeat that same exact music seamlessly. And they're just it's on bar nine but it repeated the exact same piece of music. And so what you can do is you can compose an entire song this way by just doing little sections. So if that's my intro then my verse will sound like this. With new instruments and then I create a chorus and then I wanted to have at any given moment I want to have the ability to have a one bar break sounds like this. Notice how it's just looping because it'll loop forever if I let it. But this is a really cool thing if I want to just really quickly jump between sections while deejaying live and then I have an ending that's only two bars long. So the way that this is possible is you'll notice that you're in the top left. I have a metronome that I can turn on and off but beside it I have this little drop down menu and what it does is it allows me to select a certain period of time. In this case one measure one bar and what it means is every time that I have the play button enabled and it's just playing through blank music and you can stop everything by clicking the giant stop button and it disables every clip but I can go over here and you'll notice if I just leave it running it'll go like this forever. And there's currently nothing playing but as soon as I toggle in one of these items and each one of the sections it'll start playing that section only until I loop to something different. But this dropdown menu tells live at what frequency to jump to another section. So if I leave it at one bar if I click another section while it's beating it'll skip to the next section on the next bar. Which means four beats. So check this out. This is super cool. So I'm just going to leave it going I'm going to toggle the intro and watch what happens when I select another section. Now I was playing. So what it does is it locks that section in to the metronome into that count. Now you can be as specific as you want. You can do none which will mean it'll go straight into the next one which is by far the riskiest option. So I think that defeats the entire purpose of using able to live. So I like to stick with one bar personally because that way you can click on beat 2 3 or 4 and one naturally and organically move to the next section perfectly in time. This is such an incredible way to write music. So at this point once you've gone through and created different sections what you can do is record. So if you hit the record button which I'm not going to do because when I hit tab to my horizontal view I already have everything recorded in a certain order. But what you do is you hit the record button and then as soon as you hit play it click like it just was. And what happens is every thing that you record will then be attached to this page and then if you go up here to the top right you can hit this button called back to arrangement and it instantly solidifies everything. So you can do as many takes as you want and you will only take that final one. But if you want to start recording on top of yourself like a deejay would in real life you can also hit this little plus button which is called midi arrangement overdub. When you have that enabled you allow you to continuously play on top of yourself until you want to keep your final takes. So you notice up here all that I did to record this entire piece of music is I hit the record button and I just whenever I felt like it I changed to a different section and then it instantly recorded all of those sections into their proper places. And then what I can do is go through and I can still double click on all of my tracks and all the plug ins appear at the bottom. So this is kind of the step to writing music and able to live once you're happy with the arrangement side of things. You can go through. You can go down to your master. You can do more of the mixing side of things. It's a pretty cool process. So briefly go through what instruments are used for this. Because dance music really is a hybrid of synthesis and sampling. So you'll notice for example I have some samples through my drum kit which is just some eight D.O. dubstep drum kit samples. They sound like this and over here with my electric kick that's just battery which is native instruments plug in. I have a high hat from another a Dio dubstep and I added some delay on so that's from the plug in itself created several clips here. Have a pad also from dubstep but you can easily create these things yourself. So technically this is sampling but you can easily pull up any of the synthesizers we've talked about and create your own from scratch and what's really cool about this particular plug in is that it has really cool functions within the plug in itself. So over here in the effects you can add different pedals and you can automatically gate the pad which means it's going to have that kind of stutter effect. So these functions are really cool and saves so much time without having to actually add compressors and two can manually tweak everything. Some other items here we have a dubstep wobble bass which you can definitely go through the process of creating it yourself. But since that's very time consuming in the synthesis side I also used dubstep on this. We have a the bass from omni's fear for the soft lead. That's an omni Sfeir patch and the hard lead. Also the sphere. So now that you see how everything was created Let's listen to the final track and I encourage you to try this out for yourself. In.