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Effective: Summer 2015

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (72 hours total per quarter)

Description -
Producing music with Ableton Live software. Compose, record, remix, improvise, produce and edit music. Study Ableton Live interface, edit audio, use plug-ins, MIDI sequencing and realtime mixing techniques. Compile live sets from audio clips, loops, samples in realtime and create songs in a variety of styles including R&B, Hiphop, Trance, Drum and Bass, and House Music. Integrate Ableton Live with Pro Tools for final mixing and delivery to dance clubs, radio stations and iTunes.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Explain the components of Ableton Live software.
  2. Analyze the aesthetics of contemporary music production parameters.
  3. Navigate the Live interface, windows and view options.
  4. Create MIDI sequences and edit MIDi clips.
  5. Arrange songs and identify song structures in the Live edit windows.
  6. Insert effects on Return Tracks.
  7. Create an original music production with synthesizers and samplers.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus:
    1. 30 Macintosh computers, MIDI keyboards and MIDI interfaces.
    2. Video projector and screen.
    3. 30 Ableton Live software installs.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
    1. on-going access to computer with Email software and capabilities.
    2. Email address.
    3. Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Setting up Ableton Live (Lec, Lab)
    1. Audio preferences. (Lec, Lab)
    2. MIDi Preferences. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Optimizing performance with peripheral equipment. (Lec, Lab)
  2. Session Views
    1. Live browsers. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Live clips. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Working with Scenes and Clip Properties. (Lec, Lab)
  3. File Management
    1. Building Live Sets and projects. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Importing and exporting Live Packs. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Searching for and auditioning clips. (Lec, Lab)
    4. Setting up frequently accessed directories. (Lec, Lab)
  4. Recording and Editing MIDI
    1. Preparing to record MIDI (Lec, Lab)
    2. Recording and overdubbing MIDI. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Working with alternative MIDI entry methods (Lec, Lab)
    4. Using multiple output virtual instruments (Lec, Lab)
  5. Recording and Arranging Audio
    1. Preparing to record. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Recording in Arrangement View. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Recording in Session View. (Lec, Lab)
    4. Reworking Clips. (Lec, Lab)
    5. The Mixer. (Lec, Lab)
  6. Using Ableton Live in Live Performance.
    1. Preparing audio clips with the warp tool. (Lec, Lab)
    2. Triggering clips with actions. (Lec, Lab)
    3. Using Live as a sound source. (Lec, Lab)
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Graded lab assignments in the operation of the Ableton sequencers.
  2. Tests and problem solving activities using MIDI sequences.
  3. Preparing advanced digital sequences to an industry standard from a set of specifications for application in a MIDI environment, and evaluated from those specifications.
  4. A graded final project that demonstrates acquired skill in creating and mixing a master audio file and producing MP3 copies to an industry standard.
Representative Text(s) -
Margulies, Jon. Ableton Live 9 Power!. Independence, KY: Cengage Learning PTR, 2013.

Disciplines -
Commercial Music
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations and classroom discussion of the techniques for producing audio in Ableton Live.
  2. In-class viewing of Ableton Live projects followed by instructor-guided interpretation and analysis.
  3. Presentations of major music and post-production projects followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
  4. Demonstration of techniques for recording. editing, and mixing audio in Ableton Live.
Lab Content -
  1. MIDI
    1. Implementation and drivers.
    2. Velocity and aftertouch.
    3. Multiple routing assignments
  2. Virtual Instruments
    1. Layering.
    2. Volume matching.
    3. Panning.
  3. Audio
    1. Tempo matching via Logic time stretching.
    2. Elastic Audio.
  4. ReWire
    1. ReWiring secondary applications via insert tracks and bus assignments.
    2. Plug-in applications using internal busses affecting external applications.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Written critiques and analyses of audio production projects including albums, soundtracks, television, video games and Internet multi-media.
  2. Written summaries documenting technical and artistic elements for corresponding submitted assignments and audio projects.
  3. Written proposals, session logs, learning outcomes and reflections supporting submitted musical works and final master recordings.