How Gestures and Ableton Live Can Make Anyone a Conductor of Mendelssohn [Behind the Scenes]

Digital music can go way beyond just playback. But if performers and DJs can remix and remake today’s music, why should music from past centuries be static? An interactive team collaborating on the newly reopened Museum im Mendelssohn-Haus wanted to bring those same powers to average listeners. Now, of course, there’s no substitute for a real orchestra. But renting orchestral musicians and a hall is an epic expense, and the first thing most of those players will do when an average person gets in front of them and tries to conduct is, well – get angry. (They may do that …

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Yeah, so put them together, and then, you know, stuff.

Midular are the Free MIDI Modules Every Ableton Live Setup Needs

Forget fancy effects or sophisticated plug-ins – day-in, day-out, it’s those simple MIDI modules you wind up using again and again and again and again. It’s like having a bucket of paperclips on your desk. It doesn’t have to be exciting. It’s the simple stuff that gets used. So, one of my favorite demos from the jam-packed sessions at MIDI Hack Day in Stockholm in May was unquestionably Midular. The idea was simple: make some basic modules that do stuff to notes and control events, then combine them in useful ways. It deserved an ovation. And now, you can get …

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polyrhythmus

Polyrhythmus is an Insanely-Great, Free Generator of Rhythms, Arpeggios

Polyrhythmus is the machine generator of notes and rhythms many of us have long dreamt of. It does Euclidean rhythms – symmetrical divisions of time that beautifully produce common polyrhythms (not just for nerds, but modeling a lot of popular rhythms – see the research of Godfried Toussaint). It’s also capable of making other rhythms. It can be polymetrical or polyrhythmic. It’s … also an arpeggiator. It also automates parameters and MIDI Control Change messages. It has loads of modes. It’s modular. It’s dynamic. It’s amazing. It’s a music making nerd’s dream, friendly to anyone who loves rhythms, notes, and …

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guitarrigplayer

How to Add a Tuner and Other Guitar Essentials, Free, for Ableton Live and More

Computers – a category now very likely including the phone in your pocket – open up worlds of utility that previously required dedicated devices. Audio recorder? Metronome? Tuner? There’s really no reason that shouldn’t be right in the box. That said, our friend Marco Raaphorst was musing on the absence of a guitar tuner in Ableton Live – and in the process, reminds us that that other Berlin developer has quite the freebie for anyone who needs a tuner in Live, or simply wants a whole load of cool effects whether they play a guitar or not. Guitar Rig Player …

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Get Amazing Max for Live Devices – And Sound Advice – from Max Ninja Christian Kleine

It’s called Max for Cats. But you don’t play it with a laser pointer and your feline friend. (Note to self: project idea.) The latest from sonic mastermind Christian Kleine, Ensemble and DiGiTAL are in fact terrifically-rich string and digital synthesizers, respectively, for Ableton Live and Max for Live. Getting to know their creator is just important as getting to know those tools, though. Christian Kleine is a uniquely fusion of musician and engineer. Hailing from Lindau but making a name for himself in mid-90s Berlin, his musical career itself is already newsworthy, as a soloist and as half of …

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Free Bass Sounds from Modulars: Ableton Live Sampler Instruments, Free Loops

Do you dream of wires but require some sounds … now? São Paulo-based sound house Spektro Audio has shared a lovely Live pack full of multi-sampled bass instruments, free. They set to work on a very tasty-sounding Eurorack modular, then put together ten Sampler-based instruments in Instrument Racks, complete with options for filtering, distortion, and the like. Using their CV Toolkit, they triggered that same modular setup from their Live set. No specifics on what’s in their rack, but you’ll spot some nice modules from some of our favorite builders: Mutable Instruments (is that Braids?), Tip Top Audio, and MakeNoise. …

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necktie

MIDI-Controlled Necktie Lights Up As You Play, with Internet-Enabled LEDs

As the consumer electronics industry struggles to work out what people want in wearable technology, the people are speaking. We want – no, need – neckwear that lights up in sync to music as we play. Clearly. Well, anyway, that’s what Hector Urtubia – aka Mr Book – is doing in his latest hack. It’s a proof of concept, but it’s good, nerdy fun. And it uses mesh networking and conductive thread. The ingredients: Pinoccio (yes, spelled without the ‘h’), an Internet-connected, compact, Arduino-compatible board. You can even access this board over the Web, so think Internet of Things here. …

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Inside the Dub Machines, Analog Modeling Delays, Reverbs with a Twist, in Max for Live

Can an echo of the old still bring something new? Dub Machines, an Ableton Live pack of delay Devices, is both a painstaking set of digital models of analog delays and a chance to open those old techniques to new possibilities. And its unique flavor is in no small measure thanks to its creators. We got to talk to Matt Jackson (Ableton) about this new endeavor and how it came about – and some of the stories inside its creation, including the involvement of one of our favorite machine music makers, TM404. First, though, about those machines. Developer Surreal Machines …

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Cure Dull Sound and Transform Rhythms By Adventuring Into Convolution [Watch]

Convolution is a process fundamental to understanding digital sound. Any audio can be imagined as the combination of the frequency and temporal domains. With convolution, you can simulate the combination of one sound with another, or one sound with an environment. Traditionally, that has meant reverbs. But it can mean more – a lot more. Apart from simulating instruments, it can synthesize never-before-heard and impossible sound. Our friend Diego Stocco has been hard at work opening up some of those doors to producers. When we last joined Diego, he was teaching you sound design techniques. This time, he has both …

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LIQUID RHYTHM 1

Rhythm, Recoded in Plug-ins, Ableton Live: A Conversation with WaveDNA

Music software is at its best when it goes beyond cookie-cutter regularity, and spawns something creative. And sometimes, the path there involves retooling how that music is made. That’s why I’m pleased to get to share this interview with WaveDNA. Liquid Rhythm is something unlike just about anything else in music software. It looks like a music theory class collided with a mandala. In colored patterns, arrayed in bars and wheels, you can produce all kinds of new rhythms, then integrate deeply with your host software. If you use Ableton Live, the integration goes further still. Whether you’re using Drum …

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