Archive for the ‘push’ Category

Play drums like a hero

In drums, music theory, push, sample, software on December 16, 2015 at 14:41

Many hip hop musicians are used to play beats with pad MIDI controllers like Ableton Push, Maschine, or MPC. To be honest, hip hop is not my favorite music style, but I’m envious of their dexterity when playing pads.

Today, I stumbled over Melodics. Melodics is an app like Guitar Hero for Mac and PC. The idea is simple, you are trained to press the right button at the right time in order to create something like  music.

The download of the app is free and there are 20 free lessons. The training starts with simple lessons (with kick and snare), but they become more complex with the time.

Yes, it’s really similar to Guitar Hero.

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

After playing a while, you get a feedback about the precision of your playing. Missed notes and too early or late ones. Gamification, do a job good and reach for that reason the next level.

Melodics: get feedback

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

The lessons are labelled with musical styles. You get a short explanation, what’s typical for the actual  style. There are even fingering tips for each lesson. Great, although they only make sense when playing complex patters.

Melodics: fingering

Melodics: guitar hero like interface.

From that perspective, Melodics is like Guitar Hero should be. But what I do miss is the opportunity to create your own stuff with the given samples. An export function or (even better) Ableton Live integration would be nice.

The payment model is not my favourite. You have to pay for month or year. I guess, it’s suitable for beginners, who will – after a few weeks – stop learning with that app and start making their own stuff. For me, occasional users will not be pleased with subscription. I guess, Guitar Hero is paid once, isn’t it?

However, this app makes sense and is really fun. So, give it a try.



Increase your creativity through Push

In ableton, daw, push on December 4, 2015 at 00:25

I’m wondering from time to time how can I improve my creativity by improvisation. What I mean is recording myself while playing an virtual instrument or drums with Ableton Push. I also expect more expressive and varying results. We all know how music often sounds, when music is created by editing the piano roll with mouse and keyboard. This won’t happen today.

I will refer to Ableton Push, although Push 2 was released for some time past. But I’m pretty sure, everything I’ll tell you can be transferred to Push 2.

A good starting point is the following: Live (not Push!) is in session view mode and there are some tracks with different instruments you like to play with.

If I like to play one of the instruments. I have to switch into Push’s note mode by pressing the “Note” button, in case Push’s session mode is highlighted (means active). Don’t be confused Live is still in the session view mode.

Live in session mode and armed track.

Live in session mode and armed track.

I order to play (or record) a different instruments you just have to press one of the left or right arrow buttons. You may notice that the track is automatically armed (the record button turns red).

This could be the moment to improvise while the metronome is playing. Just press the play and “metronome” button. By the way the knob for setting the tempo is directly below the metronome button.

Metronome, Tempo, Play and Left & right buttons.

Probably you like to change the main volume or volume of the metronome. The upper rightmost knob is responsable for that. Press the “shift” button simultaneously for changing the metronome’s volume.

Volume and shift button.

After playing around you will record a first instrument. This will create in Live a clip, of course. Here are two ways to record a arbitrary long clip or clip with a fix length. For the second approach press the “Fixed Length” button and select the length.

Fixed length.

For starting the (so called session) recording press the record button. You may notice, that the record indicator is not turned red, instead of the “Session Record Button” changed its colour. If there is already a clip, press new. This will create a new scene, which contains all clips of the prior scene except the clip of the active instrument. By the way, the “Delete” button will remove the clip of the active instrument.

Session Record Button

Session Record Button

Delete, new and record button

You can stop or restart the recording by pressing the record button again. By pressing the “Undo” button you will revert the last recording. The term “last” is not exactly what’s happening, but it’s enough to give you an idea. You can press the button again, in order to undo older changes. “Shift” “Undo” does the opposite, of course.

For enabling the quantization press short the “Quantize”. For editing the quantization settings hold this button.

Undo, quantize and shift buttons

Yes, there is a note repeat. I find it helpful when playing high hats, for example. Press “Repeat” and the flashing label will indicate, that the function is enabled. The note value is selected with the help of the buttons “1/32t” and so on. If you have set a swing in the quantization section, this swing will be applied to the repeat, too.


The “Device” and “Clip” buttons offers you to switch between the instrument and its clips. That’s helpful, when changing the macro controls. In case the device is select the upper eight buttons will change the macro values.

Device and clip.

You can change the volume, pan, sends of an instrument by pressing the “Track” button. You can change the octave with the “Octave Down” and “Up” buttons.

Track and octave buttons.

I know there are much more details to tell, but I guess this could be a great starting point to improvise with Push. I promise more posts like this will be follow in the next time. Best regards!


The isomorphic note layout

In ableton, chord, harmony, music theory, push on March 15, 2014 at 18:48

At the latest since Ableton Push came out its key layout became popular. This key layout is called isomorphic note layout. But this idea is not new; accordions using various isomorphic keyboards have been built since the 19th century.

In contrast to Push’s in key mode all notes are part of the layout, so you can play notes, which are not in scale. From my point of view this allows musicians more creativity. Use Push’s chromatic mode, if you like go this way.

Ableton Push in chromatic mode

Ableton Push in chromatic mode. As you can see, the not in scale notes are greyed out.

If you don’t own a Push, you can try one of the iPad apps like Musix.

Musix shows the C major scale.

Musix shows the C major scale.

The main advantage of this layout is the transpositional invariance. That means chords have the same shape when transposed to another key. So, you can transpose the following shapes by moving them horizontal or vertical.

Robbie James from Lostbeat made wide-ranging tables of shapes for chromatic and
in key mode. Have fun with it! alexander

Chords in isomorphic note layout