‘Did you Know?’ Pt 8 – Ableton Live Tips: Step Input MIDI Recording

In our new Ableton Live video tutorial series, ‘Did You Know?’, Ableton Certified Trainer, Dubspot Instructor, and electronic musician Thavius Beck checks out less explored and slightly hidden features in Live. In this week’s episode, Thavius explains and demonstrates how to use Ableton Live’s built-in step input recording feature. This feature, which was added in Live 8, allows you to input MIDI notes into Live simply by adding a MIDI track, enabling recording, setting Live’s grid value, and you can record using a MIDI keyboard, your computer keyboard, or simply draw in the MIDI notes.

Live is a program that allows you to do the same thing in many different ways. For example, if we want to input MIDI notes into a MIDI clip, we could either record the notes in real time, draw the notes in one by one using our mouse (or trackpad), or we could use Live’s built in step sequencer to input the notes using our midi controller.

In order to use this “step sequencer” function (each “step” represents the resolution of our beat grid in the MIDI clip), we must arm our MIDI track, and then arm the MIDI Editor Preview button in the MIDI clip (the headphone icon beneath the Fold button). Now, with the MIDI clip in focus (make sure your cursor is inside the MIDI clip), you can use the left and right arrows to move through the clip.

If you hold down a note on your MIDI controller (or computer keyboard if that is what you’re using as your controller) while pressing the right arrow, that note will be placed in the MIDI clip where ever the cursor was, and will be placed there for a duration that represents one step in your beat grid (look in the lower left corner of the MIDI clip to see the resolution of the grid. You can also right click in the clip to change the beat grid resolution). If you want the note to play longer, just continue holding that note on your midi controller while pressing the right arrow, and the notes length will be extended. If you want to delete the note (or make it shorter), press the left arrow the appropriate number of times.

This can be a fun way to add more complex rhythms to your clips without resorting to using your mouse or trackpad. It might be a small thing, but if it adds to your workflow or helps feed your creativity, it might be a significant thing to know and implement. Have fun! – Thavius Beck

Our music production program is custom-tailored to fit your musical style. You can choose from several Digital Audio Workstations including Ableton Live, Logic Pro, or Propellerhead’s Reason.

After completing this program, you will leave with 4 completed tracks (EP), a remix entered in an active contest, a scored commercial to widen your scope, and the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Ableton Live.

What’s Included:

  • Ableton Live Level 1: Shake Hands with Live
  • Ableton Live Level 2: Completing Your First Track
  • Ableton Live Level 3: Production Essentials
  • Ableton Live Level 4: Sound Design & Instrumentation
  • Ableton Live Level 5: Advanced Composition & Production
  • Ableton Live Level 6: Taking Your EP Global
  • “So far the experience through Dubspot is incredible, and I can’t wait to go through the next levels. It’s just getting better each week, and I can not wait to start putting an EP together, not just being able to put a successful track together!” - Dan Carter, United Kingdom

Start dates and information about payment plans can be found here.

Or if you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.