Thursday, March 19, 2009

Using Loops in Worship - The Journey part1

Ableton LiveImage via Wikipedia

I've been using loops in worship off and on for almost 3 years now. Technical difficulties, time and other factors have kept me from using them more but now, I am heading that direction full-on. In the past, we have used loops for 1 or 2 songs in a set but never the entire set. So, we have the technical setup - a Macbook Pro with Ableton Live 6.0 (still debating the upgrade) running out of the headphone jack into 2 channels. In Ableton Live, I set the click to come out the left channel and panned all loop channels to the right. Eventually, I may pick up an M-Audio interface so we can send out stereo loops and still have a channel dedicated to sending out the click. I also have Reason 3.0 Adapted for Digidesign (may upgrade this also) for loop creation and Logic Express/Garageband. I thought I would document the journey here.

Last night with our middleschool band, we used 3 basic loops from the Ableton Live library and and the built-in click from Ableton Live. Here's a screenshot:

Ableton has a cool feature where you can map anything to any key just by pressing the "KEY" button in the top right. I pressed this and assigned assigned the Master Column on the right to the number keys so one of the musicans could fire the next song just by hitting "1", "2", or "3" and could stop the song by pressing the space bar.
Here's a screenshot of that:

Thanks to Duane Mixon at for showing me that trick!

Another fun trick I figured out yesterday is how to change tempos in Live for the different songs. In the master column on the right, you control click on any of the numbers, select "Edit Launch Tempo" from the pop-up menu and voila! Anything you put in that row will start at the selected tempo!
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