Ableton - session or arrange? Been using arrange for 2yrs - benefits of session? Should I change?

Ableton

randallpatrickc

about 9 years ago (edited)

Hello - new here! I write my loops/stems in Logic and export separate instruments and vocal wavs into Live arrange (tracks) view. I use locators and a midi FC (FCB1010) to jump about. (I mute tracks for which I have musicians that day). It works pretty well. I *really wish* there was more than one loop allowed in a set though. I was trying to understand how KP (iam-kp.com) and others use Live's session view. I ended up where I am by following a tutorial at multitacks.com - they exclusively use arrange. Is there anyone here that can give a reasoned perspective for using session view? Hopefully Patrick
mattmccoy

about 9 years ago (edited)

I prefer Session view because it's easy to put more than one song in a set. Put one song, per scene. 

scoottie

about 9 years ago (edited)

The big advantage of Session view is it's flexibility. When working in Arrangement view you are locked into a specific... arrangement. You are also pretty much locked into a pre determined set list as well. Let me explain with a few examples. I can create a set list with full backing tracks within session view in about 10 seconds. (Drag and drop from the browser.) If I want to later rearrange my set list it takes another 5 seconds. I can start a song with just click playing and wait for however long the teaching chorus or worship leader wants before launching the tracks. If I want to redo the chorus at the end of a song on the fly its only 1 button or trigger away. Creating tempo changes between songs also only takes 3 seconds instead of drawing in automation. Both views can work... it's just a matter of how much time you want to spend creating your sets and how flexible you want to be while playing.
randallpatrickc

about 9 years ago (edited)

Guys, thanks for the opinions. (I'm sorry I din't know you'd replied - must have my forum settings wrong). So, I have this huge collection of songs in sets in arrange. Currently, each song is chopped into intros, verse, chorus etc with locators. I still want to be able to have the flexibility of muting instruments so am looking at quite a few tracks. Can you tell me how I go about breaking them up into clips? Is this a huge undertaking? I still want to retain the I/V/C/V/V/Outro sections. (I guess I use clip follow-on actions (for all the clips) to ensure the next section/scene triggers automatically). How do you know where you are when leading? (I have my Macbook sat on the piano in front of me but those little "progress bars" are pretty small). Currently with arrange I can see if I'm in the last 4 bars and can hit a pedal to go to the last locator. What's the method in session? I bet this is all in an article somewhere on your site! (Sorry, I'm new here) :-)
scoottie

about 9 years ago (edited)

If you have separate clips in arrangement view you have separate clips for session view. All you have to do is drag them over. If you want to have them automatically play down in session view, then yes, you need to setup follow actions. However, if you want them to automatically play down why not just have 1 clip for the entire song? If you want to possibly go back into the chorus just create a second clip you can trigger. There are progress bars that show up for every clip in session view. Yes they are a little small but you can zoom the interface in within preferences. Also, I think this also comes down to just memorizing the song. I've committed to memorizing every worship song I play on a stage for the last 5 years. It frees me up tremendously. (But I understand it's not always practical.)
randallpatrickc

about 9 years ago (edited)

I'm still not sure I buy in to the session view over arrange. In arrange you can *really* see where you are - in multi tracks that's huge. One mistake and its real messy. In arrange you can have video clips and you can craft the transitions with ease. The locators give you flexibility but I admit it's a pain losing them when you construct a set. I've eased this by creating tiled dummy midi clips in the originals - I then just add the locators I need for jumping about. I did try session view first but then went to arrange and still like it a lot. It becomes even easier when you have "standard sets" and multiple monitors that all the band can see. But, I'm still open minded :-)
mattmccoy

about 9 years ago (edited)

@randallpatrickc If you use Session view, you never have to create a session again. Just put all of your songs in session view, 1 per scene... aphabetical order. Then all you do each week is re-assign your MIDI controls to the songs you are using. Saves you a lot of time because you aren't rebuilding these each week. I'm writing a blog post about this soon. Watch the LC blog.

mattmccoy

about 9 years ago (edited)

http://loopcommunity.com/blog/2012/06/session-view-vs-arrangement-view/

randallpatrickc

about 9 years ago (edited)

@matt & dugan - all of what you say is true - I think it comes down to personal choice; I left session and went to arrange mainly for comfort with everyone knowing visually where we are in song and better transitions - looping pads etc between songs. We always play with full multi-tracks and both are very important. I was tempted back to session for the ease of prep mostly. I still firmly believe that arrange gives much better transitions and worry free looping of choruses/lingering parts. In arrange I hated the lack of more than one "easy-loop-section" (switched by FC) in an entire set of songs) I harassed Ableton about this as a really key feature for worship but nothing yet.. So I was drifting back to session then really hated not knowing exactly where we were.. SO - Currently I'm working with Bome's midi-translator on a foot-switchable mute track that controls "looping on/off". If the track is un-muted, MIDI notes are read by Bome that then sends "skip to last locator" Live commands. If the track is active, this will continue for ever and you can happily worship away till you want to move on. Without looking down, I can feel for my foot pedal (I have alu brackets each side of this pedal on a Behringer FCB1010) and simply turn the "loop control" track on/off. No waiting for the right bar/measure, no worries, just get on leading. You can even easily program lingering parts but you can always leave the loops without worrying by foot-control muting the track with the Bome controls. Most of the band can see a Live monitor session but I also include band cues "watch for possible loop" They (and I of course) can see if the track mute (its on the top track) is yellow or not even from a distance. I also include dummy midi clips with a standard color key that makes it easy to see where you are. I usually label those with the song part #and the first few words as well. All of which is much more prep I agree. It works for me though - I have standard sets of songs that I pick from. The congregation don't notice that we repeat "sets" It's not really "free-worship" but I'm a bit lazy I must admit. Edit - one of my prime reasons for arrange was having the ability to drop video tracks in that would remain in synch with the band (particularly important when lyrics are on the video too). We actually only did this once then I moved churches to where cabling prevented my Macbook reaching the video switcher. Now we are within reach again I need to revisit this area. It worked great the one time I did it but I need to stress test this still. FWIW
tanacea

about 9 years ago (edited)

 

@randallpatrickc One of the beautiful things about Ableton is custom work flows. In that sense it totally does come down to preference. That being said there is no real right or wrong way to do it and everyone at LC would say that. 

However, you keep referencing everyone "visually" knowing where you are in a song, which makes no sense to me. What exactly do you mean by this? How could a locator possibly be more visually helpful than a well color coded scene? Also, why are you using Ableton to "visually" lead music? What does it look like in your weekend service to be visually led by Ableton? 

Curiouse to know the answers to these questions. You might be on to something we havent thoutght about! 

Kind regards.

randallpatrickc

about 9 years ago (edited)

@tanacea - oh I probably over-emphasized that! It's just when I was using session view I was never quite sure if "that extra measure at the end of a particular chorus repeat" was there or not. We sometimes moved on to the next chorus a measure early. I'm sure anyone following a complicated arrangement has had the same problem. Audible cues help a lot but I have my arrange window zoomed in so I can clearly see the measure divisions as they scroll by - I know *exactly* when the track is going to change to a chorus or whatever. - I highlight in a green midi clip the "window of opportunity" for hitting my foot control to skip to the last locator (the old pre-Bome method). I used to slavishly copy in all the locators but now rely on the visual color coded blocks for positioning the essential "skip to" locators when arranging a set and also for when we are actually playing live. That said - I'm starting to really like the Bome control of skips/repeats - I'm working with my FC to have that in "stompbox" mode (the LED is on when the track isn't muted) as well as the yellow track mute in LIve. This is giving me the ability to program a default path through the set but also have a no-look pedal press "at any time" to take care of lingering/repeats if you get my drift. Agreed this is not session mode freedom but our sets are arranged and practiced in advance and we do have grwing pile of "sets of songs" that the band are comfortable with. I don't mind putting in the extra time to be more a ease when leading, or watching Live lead I guess :-) . It's really nice to be able to linger and focus on the people knowing that Live will automatically linger for as long as my Bome control track isn't muted. One unseen press of the pedal lets us move on. My plan is to have the video tracks always have words on top. I'm hoping (but haven't tried it too much yet) that it skips back in good synch. It works so far with just one video. We'll see... NOt trying that live just yet. If I don't have a keys player its also easy to just record in a spot of pads between songs - again with a Bome loop controlling the move onto the next song. Hope that's clear. Edit 7th June - I just put a little video up to explain this better - posted http://loopcommunity.com/content/stress-free-loopinglingering-in-live-one-touchpress-on-one-touchpress-off