Today, I like to generate drum fills with the help of Ableton‘s MIDI effects. My starting point is a drum rack with samples I made and a programmed drum pattern:
The drum beat sounds no so bad, but probably a bit boring. I would like to get something like that:
And here is the way I created this drum variations and fills. First of all I grouped three MIDI effect devices. Ableton‘s Arpeggiator, Randon and Scale.
Please consult the screenshot for getting the parameter settings. Of course you can’t use all of my Scale device settings. In case you are not familiar with the Scale device, think about a matrix or filter. The horizontal axis represents the incoming MIDI note and the horizontal axis the outgoing MIDI note. Such a filter leaves the notes as they are, if all red squares are building a diagonal from the lower left to the upper right. Enough with theory – I would like to hear only the clap, snare and bass drum when the device is enabled. There is no need to say that the these settings depend on the drum rack. You have to find your own settings.
The mapping of the macro knobs is a bit tricky. After pressing the Map Mode button you should map the Chance parameter of the Random device to macro one. Then map the device on/off switch of the Arpeggiator and Scale to this knop, too. I like to switch on the Arpeggiator and Scale only, when the chance value is over 50 percent. This is achieved by editing the upper Macro Mappings table. The minimum value should be 64.
Finally I mapped the Arpeggiator’s Synced Rate to macro knob two and the Style to macro knob three.
So, we are done. Just vary the Random Chance in order to get drum variations and fills like in the example above.
Manchester MIDI School‘s Tom Lonsborough, takes us through how to set up your Mac’s IAC Driver for transmitting MIDI to other programs internally. Visit www.midischool.com for more information on their online courses.
“In the above screenshot, when note 45 on channel one is received, the delete key will be sent to whatever application is currently in focus.”
“In this shot we see that note 46 on channel one triggers a longer sequence. First, whatever his currently highlighted in the focused application is copied. Then the right arrow is pressed, and the content is pasted. This happens two more times. In Live, as an example, this would have the effect of copying the currently selected clip and pasting it into two adjacent tracks.”
Although you can already map in Ableton MIDI events to a keystrokes, you have no chance to map a ordered sequence of strokes to a MIDI event. So this tool deserves closer attention.
For the communication of two Midi programs on the same computer, Mac OS X provides the IAC Driver (Inter Application Communications Driver).
You can find the IAC Driver by typing Audio MIDI setup in Spotlight, or start Audio MIDI Setup from /Applications/Utilities. At the top select MIDI Devices. Perhaps you have go the menu and select Window/Show MIDI window.
You will now see an icon for the IAC Driver. If you have never used the IAC Driver before, the icon will appear grayed out. Double-click the IAC Driver icon to bring up its properties dialog. In the properties dialog, click the “Device is online” checkbox to make the driver active. In the Audio MIDI setup window, the icon will no longer appear grayed out.
The bottom part of the dialog (you may have to click the arrow next to “More information” to get to see this), you find an overview with driver ports. Each such port can act as a kind of virtual cable to make a Midi connection between two different applications. By default a port called “Bus 1” already exists. If this port is already in use by other applications on your computer, you can create an additional port by clicking the + button. The default name for a second port is “IAC bus 2”. If you want, you can change port names after double-clicking on the name.
These ports are very useful. But that is another story, which today will not yet be revealed.
Update: During a sleepless night I found a interesting experiment with Ableton and the IAC ports. Check out the video.