Tag Archives: ableton tutorial

How to Remix with Ableton: Warping an Acapella Part 2

22 Dec

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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How to Remix with Ableton: Warping an Acapella Part 1

20 Dec

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

The hardest part of figuring out how to remix a track is trying to remember how to spell “Acapella.” Is it Acapella? Or Acappela? Shouldn’t there be two “c”?!

The second hardest part is getting started. And a lot of times, this means warping the acappella from the original track. Even if you are going to be only using a small snippet of the acappella, the vocal is often an important element, since it is usually what lets the average person know that the track is a remix and not a wholly new production.

But warping an acappella presents its own special challenges. While Ableton’s best guess about warping the average track is usually pretty good, the warping of an acappella is almost never correct right out of the box. The reason for this is that acappellas often lack the basic rhythmic elements that Ableton uses as reference points to warp a track, since acappellas are only an isolated vocal track.

So, I’ve isolated two techniques for warping acappellas that have served me very well. One, which you can use with acappellas whose backing tracks are still faintly audible and another for acappellas with no audible backing track. I decide which technique to use based on whether or not you can hear the backup track.

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

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