Ableton Users: How do you personally benefit from Session View?

So I’m very familiar with Ableton and have been using it for years. At the same time however, I realized the other day, I really don’t so much as touch Session view when I’m producing. I feel like I’m missing out by not using it at all, especially when it comes to easily trying out arrangement ideas. Arrangement I think is what’s holding my tunes back because I love my ideas but composition wise I usually struggle to put together an entire work despite actually having all or most of the pieces laid down.

Does Session view help you guys with arrangement at all? If so, how do you personally approach using it? I typically do my writing in Arrangement view so then transferring all the clips and pieces of audio etc back into Session view just never happens. Am I typical for not using it? Or am I missing out on something pretty big?


I think you’re missing out. I don’t use live much anymore (at all, really).

But when I did use it, I used only the session view. The arrange page is primitive compared to other daws. It is like driving a russian car.

But session view is truly unique.

Yeah it helps with arrangement.

Set up scenes, and then play your song, recording into the arrange page.

But if you are set in your ways, just use the arrange, I guess.

Session view is great for trying out ideas and just jamming on the tune. Once I get some parts and some ideas I’ll make a scene and then record them into Arrangement view where I do all of the fine tuning of the arrangement.

Yeah, I’m really not set in my ways. I think that’s an important characteristic of being a producer, not being set in your ways and always experimenting with new workflow or ideas of any kind. So I’m 100% open to trying out session view. Just wasn’t 100% sure how to approach it initially.

The only thing that seems annoying is having to consolidate tracks that contain a lot of cut up audio in order to play it from Session view. Like a lot of my individual tracks will consist solely of dissected audio clips which are never 100% final until the track is done. Who knows, maybe “committing” and consolidating that audio to one clip will be beneficial and I’ll end up finding some success with the method.

So really, you’re almost setting it up the same as arrangement view in a way, just arranging the tune vertically as opposed to horizontally, and with the ability to easily trigger and stop the clips as you proceed through the tune. I definitely have to get on this, I think it sounds like it will help me out with some things for sure.

I also use APC’s so I have a tactile interface for jamming with the clips. Everybody has a different method of working.

i didn’t even think about recording scenes straight into arrangement,

i like starting in session, i like using the drum rack to set a few patterns then keep adding elements, gotta use the simpler for a lot of stuff with that

i usually do this so i find if i skip to arrangement view too quickly before i’ve got most of my elements tried out with each other i find it hard to finish the tune

so i find it easiest to get all my blocks before i start arranging them, i see a lot of people start drum patterns in arrangement but i like the options in drum rack to change attack release and stuff without needing volume fades : /

Well, depends on the kind of music you make.

But, I’d start the track in session view. Start making clips in there.

You don’t have to be so linear as to like create complete arrangements with clips, then move through them by triggering scenes.

But, you’ll see once you get on it, you can trigger scenes that are like a base to work from. Like they have certain elements in time, in key, and then you can manipulate via macros in software with controller, or hardware or whatever, you can then start playing in the sections, playing instruments.

Like mks is saying, it is more like jamming. You can, live on the fly, create breakdowns by dropping parts out, or soloing elements.

There is just so much to do there.

MY workflow was to work from session to arrange, I can imagine working arrange to session then back again, whatever works, you know.

And again, I don’t know what kind of music you like.

But set up like a drum machine loop, like just an 808 loop going. Get that in a clip.

Then make another clip of a maniacal modulating synth line. Create 4 variations of that. Some that go up some that go down, one that kind of has a hook at the end, or a kind of rest/pause, something to create a blip in the beat.

Then trigger the drum clip.

Then trigger the synth clip. Check out follow actions, but you don’t need that stuff, you can trigger when you want to move them along.

Once you trigger the synth, start playing the synth, like the controls of the synth. Start with the lp filter low, the attack kinda long, the release very short, start opening the filter, shortening the attack increasing the release, keep doing this, and cycle to the next synth line on the beat.

Shit just starts to happen.

Figure out how you like to perform that moment, that 30 seconds of music.

Then add a bass line under that, do the same thing, see how you can modulate that over time.

Tracks just build themselves like this.

Thanks for the replies. I’m going to give this a shot this evening. I have a couple tracks I’ve been working on that are sort of stagnant so I think I’m going to go back and trying to get everything into session view and start playing them and see how it all builds itself up and how I do with it.

1 BigUp

Eh, I don’t use it.

If you are not using it, then you are missing out on the whole component that makes Live unique and what allows you to play Live live. If you are just keeping on the linear arrangement timeline, you could use any DAW for that.

Any except fruity loops, which has more like the session view.

I use Ableton for its warping.

Yeah, honestly I never chose Live because I actually want or need to play it live, or even for this particular component of it. But I was sort of stuck the other night, messing with arrangement and getting irritated when I flipped to Session view for whatever reason quickly and was like “Shit man, I never even consider this entire other half of Live.” I knew I was missing out on a large part of the DAW so figured I’d make a post and see how to approach it’s use.

The few tutorials I watched on it were so basic that it didn’t really do me a ton of good. I guess I’ll try setting up my midi control to trigger different clips and scenes and just start a jam to get the hang of it. Still not sure if it’s something I’ll end up using often in the long run but it can’t hurt considering the last couple tracks I started and loved are still sitting unfinished.

1 BigUp

Good reason to use it.

Yo one more quick question for you guys… How do you typically control from session view? I’m playing around now with mapping the play buttons for individual clips to my drum pads and assigning track volumes to different faders on my midi controller… The issue I’m having here is that, I have too many different things going on to really do this properly.

Like say for example, I know at the end of my intro I have a white noise sound that leads into the melody coming in… Is there a way to have that simply play regardless, without assigning it to its own pad and triggering it at the right time? Also, any time I press a pad, it just starts it from the beginning of the clip, I can’t actually just drip the clip out and then bring it back in easily. Damn, I sound like such a noob its pathetic because I really know my shit aside from this aspect of Live, which I admit is a pretty substantial part of live.

Come to think of it, I think I recall a Mr. Bill video where he talked about getting his songs ready to perform live, using Session view and triggering with midi. I think I’ll have to watch that again and maybe bust out the manual as well. I just wanted to ask a quick question and see if anyone minded sharing how they typically set it up.

The white noise thing, that is one of those situations where you might want to put that in in arrangement view. But in session view, I would just make a base scene with all of the elements that you want and copy that to add to or subtract. So if you want the white noise to happen at the end of every 16 bars, just make a 16 bar clip and put it in there. Then once you have recorded it, you can take out sections in arrangement view if you don’t want the white noise to happen EVERY 16 bars.

Triggering clips can be adjusted.

Arrangement all the way

they’re not able to use it :neutral_face:

This is not about one or another tbh. Use them both. They are both powerful tools.

Yeah, I’m very able to use arrangement epiccentipede. I’m just trying out something new rather than doing the same approach every time and using only half of the software.

Thanks mks for the info on how you go about it.