How to Remix with Ableton: Warping an Acapella Part 2

Last post, we discussed how to warp an acappella whose backing track was still faintly audible. In this post, we’ll continue talking about warping acappellas, but focus instead on acappellas that have absolutely no audible backing track. We’ll work on warping the melody itself!

Our strategy for this technique is still basically the same as our first technique, though. In the first technique, we focused on warping one bar and then using the “Segment BPM” from that bar to warp the rest of the track, but in this technique, we’ll discuss how to warp one “region” or phrase of 2, 4 or 8 bars. Once we’ve warped that region, we can use the Segment BPM to warp the rest of the track.

*EDIT* Here’s the acapella that I used in this video: Marvin Gaye-Sexual Healing (Acapella)

Most melodies consist of at least one repeating rhythmic section. Even if the notes of the melody change, the rhythms are fairly consistent and tend to repeat. Look at the waveform of any acappella and you’ll be able to see this if you look for repeating shapes. And this holds true for rap acappellas just like sung acappellas.

All we have to for this second technique is isolate one “cycle” of a melody. Once we’ve done this, find the first occurrence of a note in this cycle and put a warp marker there. Right-click this warp marker at “Set as 1.1.1.” Remember that we don’t really care if it is ACTUALLY the downbeat.

Then, find the beginning of the next cycle or melodic phrase and place a warp marker. Now, eliminate all the warp markers in between (if they happen to be there).

Once you’ve done this, stretch this second warp marker so that the melodic cycle takes up 1, 2, 4 or 8 bars, depending on what’s appropriate. Loop it to make sure it sounds somewhat passable.

Now, find the segment BPM from this segment of the acappella and type it into the global tempo box. Right click on our 1.1.1 and select “Warp from Here (Start at [Global Tempo]).

Now, try it with a click or a drum track and it should sound, well, amazing!

I have one more short video ready about acappellas that I’ll post tomorrow, so as not to inundate y’all! It’s about my method for fixing small inconsistencies in the rhythm of either the acappella or a vocal that you recorded in the shower!

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7 Responses to “How to Remix with Ableton: Warping an Acapella Part 2”

  1. sanjay December 23, 2011 at 12:36 am #

    hey great tutorial! I just wondering were you could get that acapella as I would like to try this out for myself? thanks!

    • Anthony December 23, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      Just edited the post!

  2. Rob December 26, 2011 at 2:38 am #

    When you start going through the rest of the track [after correctly warping the first 4 or 8 bars] it seems that the remaining warp markers were positioned precisely at the beginning of each bar, right at the first beat.

    Was this just a fluke in Ableton’s automatic warping algorithm? Was it based off of a setting in Ableton’s Preferences? Or was this a result of using the “Warp From Here” function? I use the “Set 1.1.1 Here” function all the time but are pretty much clueless on all those Warp features in that context menu.

    Have you covered those Command-Click [Right-Click] Warp functions in your Warping tutorials before? I have never really known their use. I pretty much warp all tracks that need it by hand and the “Set 1.1.1 Here” function.

    • Anthony December 26, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

      TBH, the “Warp from here” function usually does it for me. Whenever I use that, I have to change a minimum of warp markers. The only hard part is finding a downbeat (especially on an acapella) and finding the basic tempo.

      I plan on getting deeper into those other warping commands, since they seem to befuddle a lot of people!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. How to Remix with Ableton: Fix an Acapella | Ableton Tutorials, Tips and Techniques for Producers of All Levels - December 27, 2011

    [...] = "How to Remix with Ableton: Fix an Acapella";reddit_newwindow="1"; In the last two posts on how to remix with Ableton, we talked about how to warp an acapella using two different [...]

  2. How to Remix with Ableton: Warp Acappella Acapella | Ableton Tutorials - December 27, 2011

    [...] This is the first in a series of three posts about warping acapellas. See the rest HERE and [...]

  3. How to Remix with Ableton: Fix an Acapella | It_Boy - February 5, 2012

    [...] the last two posts on how to remix with Ableton, we talked about how to warp an acapella using two different [...]

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