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Contemporary music production workshop at the 2014 Salem Jazz and Soul Festival

It was such a blast presenting at the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival this year. Had a great discussion on all the intricacies of making music with your computer. The audience had great questions and I was amazed at the depth we could get into. Definitely some talented cats in the audience so I was honored to say the least. See below for an example from the workshop.

Topics covered:

  • Digital audio workstations (DAW’s)

  • Using Ableton Live

  • Plug-ins/sound sources/MIDI

  • Using loops creatively

  • Effects & automation

  • Sampling

  • Drum programming

Photo @SocialPalates

Photo @SocialPalates


Workshop Example - Drum Slicing in Ableton Live 9

This is the basic drum loop before any processing in Ableton Live.

Below is a sample groove from the workshop where our basic drum loop was sliced into midi so we could transform it into a more dynamic pattern with fills.

The amazing thing about working with drums this way is that every transient – brief, rapid increases in volume level – are used to determine how many midi slices are converted in Live. Once analyzed, each slice represents a different transient in our loop which can then be re-arranged in infinite ways!

I've also added a bit of Randomization, Beat Repeat, and Ping-Pong Delay to the midi version to add more depth to the sound – not to mention some atmospheric drones and melody.

Here are how the drums were re-arranged to create the fills you hear in the groove above.

Here are how the drums were re-arranged to create the fills you hear in the groove above.

Randomization, Beat Repeating, and Ping-Pong Delay applied to track

Randomization, Beat Repeating, and Ping-Pong Delay applied to track

Track automation for Randomization, Beat Repeating, and Ping-Pong Delay.

Track automation for Randomization, Beat Repeating, and Ping-Pong Delay.