Free Ableton Live Pack #88: Noisy Bar Violin

Violin Instrument with a Twist for Ableton Live

Sometimes when I'm quick on my feet, I can get a quick sample to turn into an instrument. This was the case one night this summer at a local open mic night.  I was waiting my turn to play a short set, when a band called The Crick went on.  They're a nice folk music duo, male and female vocals, guitar and violin.  After they finished playing, I asked the violinist, Nicole, if I could record her playing for a couple seconds.  I'm not sure she knew what this strange dude was asking of her, but she played a bit.  I recorded it with my iPhone microphone and deliberately picked up all the background noise in the bar.

The Crick

From there, I chopped the sample up and found a few solid notes I could use.  I dropped those into Ableton's Sampler and made the instrument I present to you now.  I put some useful Macro knobs for controls like Attack and Release, Filters and Filter Envelops.  I also made an exact duplicate of the instrument, put it on a separate chain and dropped it down an octave.  This helps thicken out the somewhat thin iPhone recording.  You can hear the noise in the background of each sample, people talking, glasses clanking. It's similar to the technique I used on the Mom's Piano instrument.

One last thing that helps add diversity and character to the instrument... Since I had samples of a couple notes around the same range, I set the instrument up in a way that each time you play a single note, you get a different sample at random.  For example, if you were to hit C3 repeatedly, you will randomly trigger a different sample each time. I accomplished this by creating a random LFO set to the Sample Selector.  It turns out to be a great way to mimic real life playing, because an instrumentalist will never play the same note exactly the same way.  Check out the video below as I walk you through and then download the instrument below.

*Big thanks to Animus Invidious for the tip on creating lesson files in Ableton.  Check out his site for some great free instruments!

Playing Live With Ableton Live Course

Be sure to check out my new video course on how to play live with Ableton Live.  It covers pretty much everything I know to play live and walks you through my performance set to show you how it's done.  In the videos I cut to the chase and get down to business.  It is on sale for 25% off until the end of August!  Here's a testimonial on the course:

If you're interested in performing live with Live, this is an incredible trove of examples, advice, and techniques. Designing your setup, advanced routing of audio and MIDI, getting the most out of your hardware - It's a intimate, very smart, and evolving setup, based on his personal experience. Not like reading a manual - AfroDJMac steps you through his setup, and shows you how and why it works. An incredible jump-start to evolving your own Live system. Thank you, AfroDJMac, for sharing this - it's changed my concept of what Live can be. -JollyMade

AfroDJMac Live in Support of WUSB Radio This Friday 8/30

Speaking of playing live, if you are in the New York neighborhood, I'll be playing at Mr. Beery's in support of WUSB.  WUSB is the Stony Brook University radio station that plays an amazing selection of music all day everyday. Here's the Facebook Event.  Hope to see you there!