Capturing Arpeggiated MIDI Notes

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On 30th March 2019, Motion hosted Machina Bristronica, a synth expo organised by Elevator Sound. This music event featured stalls from companies including Ableton, Isontonik Studios, Korg and Teenage Engineering, as well as guest speakers including Bristol’s own DJ Krust and Steve Davis OBE (yes you read that correctly, that’s the 6 time World Snooker Championship winner). I went along and picked up a useful Ableton tip which I wanted to share in this post.

Credits

Ableton Certified Trainer Tom Glendinning was running an Intro to Ableton Live 10 workshop at that day. Toward the end of the session, Tom walked through new features in Ableton Live 10 and during the Q & A, was asked if it was possible to use capture to record MIDI notes from an arpeggiated sequence. Although capture doesn’t do this, Tom did suggest a workaround.

The technique involves routing a MIDI track with an arpeggiator MIDI device as an input to another MIDI track to capture the arpeggiated MIDI notes.

I’d used input and outputs to send and receive audio signals before, but it never occurred to me to use it with MIDI in this way. The rest of the post will walk through how I remember Tom doing this.


Ingredients

  • Midi Effects

    Chord

    Arpeggiator

  • Instruments

    Operator (or any instrument of your choice)


Method

Creating the Send Track

1. Create a MIDI track, name it MIDI SENT

2. Create a 4 bar MIDI clip and add some notes

3. Add a chord MIDI effect to the MIDI SENT track

4. Add an arpeggiator MIDI effect to the MIDI SENT track

5. Add an operator (or another instrument of your choice) to the MIDI SENT track

You should now have something that resembles the image to the right

Click on the screenshot to the right and you’ll see each step numbered
 

Click the screenshot to the right to enlarge the image. The number circled corresponds to each step.

 

Creating the Receive Track

1. Create another MIDI track, name it MIDI RECEIVED

2. Add an operator (or another instrument of your choice) to the MIDI RECEIVED track. We’ll use this to play back the recorded MIDI notes later

3. In the Input Type of the MIDI RECEIVED track, select the MIDI SENT track. The MIDI RECEIVED track will now receive the arpeggiated MIDI notes sent from the MIDI SENT track

4. In the Input Channel, select Post FX so that the arpeggiated notes generated from the MIDI SENT track can be recorded.

Important: if Pre FX is selected, only the notes that have been drawn on the MIDI SENT track will be recorded

5. Arm the MIDI RECEIVED track

6. Press Shift + F9 to arm the Arrangement Record Button

You should now have something that resembles the image to the right

Capturing the Arppegiated MIDI Notes

1. Press space to begin playing the MIDI SENT track.

2. The MIDI RECEIVED track will now record the arppegiated MIDI generated by the MIDI SENT track

3. Play back the MIDI RECEIVED track and you should hear the sequence generated by the MIDI SENT track:



What Next

The Live Pack that accompanies this tutorial is available below in the Article References. Download and explore the set or perhaps create your own set from scratch by following the steps in this article.

Missed Machina Bristronica 2019? Don’t worry, it’s happening again in 2020! Check out the Article References for further details.

Check out Tom Glendinning’s website here.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. Thank you!