So, there you are in the DJ booth. You’re cueing up tracks, you’re twiddling knobs with indefinite purpose, you’re adjusting your headphones and spraying Cristal onto the crowd, all without messing up your hairdo.
Then it hits you: you have no idea where you are in the track.
Is this the second verse or the third? Wasn’t there supposed to be a breakdown midway through minute 27? Panic ensues. The track screeches to a halt, the disco erupts in chaos. You get trampled.
Luckily Ableton, in their infinite wisdom and benevolence, has given us a way to assign a MIDI button to automatically focus (bring into view) a playing clip. Oh thank you, Sages of Berlin!
The actual button, though, is somewhat difficult to find. First, enter MIDI map mode and you will see that there is a blue box below the Clip Slots for each track. Select this blue box and press a button on your MIDI controller (or keyboard) to map it. Now, if you press that MIDI button, you’ll see the playing clip pop up right away, no matter where you are in your set. This is a great feature to have when you want to switch between manipulating effects and manipulating clips really quickly. Since many FX autoselect, meaning that, when you turn a knob on a given effect, that effect will pop into view, having a quick way to get back to the playing clip is essential.
Another perk to using this mapping is that many mappings to Clip Controls (like Loop Length, Transpose, etc.) are context-dependent. This means that, if I map a MIDI button to set the loop length, it will perform that action on whichever clip is currently selected, not necessarily the one to which I made the initial mapping. Using this Clip Focus mapping, plus these context-dependent Clip Controls will really go a long way towards making your mappings more efficient.
Make sure to leave me a comment and tell me how this tip works out for you!