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Music is inherently rhythmic. Even complex syncopated grooves play off the regular intervals of a steady beat, and so it is as though all songs hang their varying elements off this scaffolding, a phantom metronome. Since producing in software doesn't require you to play instruments in real time, the grid functions as a kind of visual metronome. In this section, you'll learn how to start organizing sounds in Live by building percussion-based samples. This way, we don't have to worry about your sounds working harmonically together.


2.1 loading samples

You'll want to make sure you have a good understanding of how to navigate around the Arrangement View, so let's start there. Hover your mouse in the grey area towards the top where the numbers are, the mouse icon should flip to a magnifying glass as you hover if you're in the correct place. Click and hold the mouse here and try pulling down - this should zoom in the arrangement. Conversely, if you pull the mouse up, the Arrangement View will zoom out. 


The other element you'll want to pay attention to is the grid, which is split up into even musical divisions. These vertical lines represent the all-important scaffolding that you well hang your music on. The key to getting your head around the grid is understanding the labeling system at the top of the arrangement view. a.b.c where a is the number of bars, b is the number of quarter notes, and c is the number of eighth notes. So if you're looking for the 5th 8th note of the 15th bar, the line will be labeled 15.2.2. Try finding this yourself; you'll probably find you need to zoom in to reveal finer divisions of the screen.


Now it's time to put some sound in the project. We'll start by pulling in a kick drum from the pATCHES starter pack you got. Locate the samples folder we created in the sidebar and open the kicks folder.


Putting the sound in the project is as simple as dragging the name of the sample from the browser onto a line in the main part of the screen. Choose whichever kick drum you'd like and pull it over to the center of the screen. You'll notice that as you click and drag the sample over the grid, a transparent box will appear around your mouse cursor. This shows you how large your sample will be as a clip in your project. Notice how the left side of the clip snaps to the grid lines - try aiming this for the downbeat of a bar. Release to place it.


Now the sample is in the project. Let's hear how it sounds. Select the clip by clicking the colored bar at the top of it and you should see the clip becomes highlighted. Now just press the spacebar to start the playhead - this is the line that represents the current time. Press the spacebar again to stop the transport.


2.2 sample arrangement

Our rhythm section is going to be rather boring with just one sound, so let's put another one in. Go back to the browser and open the "snares" folder in the pATCHES starter pack. Choose one of these and drag this onto the grid. Horizontally, try putting it on the next quarter note after the kick drum sample you have in the arrangement. Select the kick and press spacebar again to hear your sequence.


You need some repetition to start to build a musical pattern, so let's add more of the kick drum. There's no reason to pull in the sample from the browser again, however, because it's already in the project. Select it (by clicking that colored bar at the top of it) and use cmd + c to copy it to the clipboard. Then, click the third quarter note (after the one the snare is on) and make sure you click the where the grid line falls in the vertical space of the track containing the kick drum sample you just copied. Press cmd + v and if all goes well you'll have pasted a second instance of the kick drum in.


We'll use a different technique to copy the snare. This time, click and hold the color bar of the clip and, still holding down the mouse, press down the option key as well. You should notice a transparent duplicate of the snare clip appear, and it's this you'll want to drag to the fourth quarter note grid line after the duplicated snare sample.


Select the first kick drum and press play. You should here your samples play in order - kick, snare, kick, snare in equal spacing. If this doesn't sound quite right, go back through and troubleshoot what could have gone wrong because it's essential to have a good understanding of these basic concepts before moving on. If everything is good, we'll turn our attention to looping these percussion clips.

2.3 creating a loop

As we just discussed, music is often built out of repeating patterns. While you've learned to use copy + paste to extend out sections, there are far more efficient means of accomplishing this same task. One simple one combines copy and paste into a single shortcut - cmd + d to duplicate whatever is in the selection. Try selecting your current 1-bar pattern. Make the selection from the very beginning of the kick clip to the very end of the bar. Notice that this means selecting past the last snare sample all the way to the next whole number on the timeline grid.


Now you've doubled the length of the pattern, but you haven't quite made a loop yet. Loops are one of the primary part of modern music production, so you'll want to be sure to learn the ways to incorporate them into your projects. The first step is to assemble all of the individual samples into a single clip using a process called consolidate. Try selecting the two bars you've made so far (again, remembering to select fully to the end of the second bar past the final sample) and the use cmd + j to merge them all into one clip.


Now find your way back to clip view if it's not at the bottom of your screen by clicking on the newly consolidated clip in the arrangement. This makes it the "active" clip, but if the clip view still does not appear, simply tap shift + tab to switch back to it from the devices list. When you get it up, take a look at the last side of the waveform and find the button labeled "loop". Just press this so that it fills with color.


Your clip is now a loop! Look back up in the arrangement view and hover your mouse over the right edge of the colored bar. You should see a bracket appear. When it does, click down and drag to the right. Et voila, your loop extends for as long as you drag! Much simpler than copy pasting a few bars 10 times!


2.4 loading a loop

Often, it will be useful to use pre-assembled loops from your library as opposed to building them from scratch every time. We've provided quite a number of loops in the pATCHES start pack you downloaded, so let's try dragging one from there into the project. Grab whichever one sounds interesting to you and drop it below the other clip you just made in the area marked "Drop Files and Devices Here". Just like before, you'll see the transparent outline of the clip before you release it. Try to get the start of this one lined up with the start of the kick/snare loop.


Try playing it back to see how it sounds. If the loops work well together, hover your mouse on the right edge of the colored bar of the newly loaded loop and pull it to the right to extend it out as long as the kick/snare.