Introduction: Creating a 4-Bar Beat Using Ableton Live 10

A quick guide to producing the base beat of almost every song.

Have you ever wondered how music producers create incredible sounding beats and songs on a computer software? Have you ever seen a music producing software and immediately got overwhelmed with all of the different functions on it? Well here is a basic tutorial to the beginning of getting to know the software functions and how to produce the start of your own song.


Laptop, Ableton 10 Live Software, (headphones optional)

Step 1: Get to Know the Basics of the Software

When the software is first pulled up, it can seem a tad overwhelming, but their are only a few functions in it that need to be used in this demo.

1) This shows all of the different sounds available for use. Each category has a wide array of variations of each sound.

2) Each one of these columns is referred to as a "track."

3) The MiDi tracks are where new notes and beats will be created.

4) The audio tracks are where existing audio files can be placed for use.

5) This area will display the MiDi or Audio track in use. It will also be where your drum beat will be created.

6) This area explains the function of whatever your mouse is hovering over, so if you get confused about what a function does, this will help you.

Step 2: Pick a Drum Kit

1) Select "Drums" in Categories.

2) These are all of the different pre-made drum kits that can be used. Go through them and pick one you like the most. There are many different kits so don't try to go through them all the first time.

3) Once you find one you like, double click it.

4) It will be displayed in the first MiDi track.

Step 3: Prepare the MiDi Track to Be Used

1) Double-click the first row in the MiDi track.

2) This now displays all of the sounds.

3) Right click (control-click for MacBook) and change the grid length/size to "1/8"

4) Increase the length of the loop to 4 bars (click on the length box and use the up arrow key)

Step 4: Place Down a Kick

1) Put your mouse in this dark grey area and extend the track section up. Now all of the sounds can be displayed at once.

2) Place down 1 "kick" (it'll say kick in the name of the sound) in the middle of each bar. There should be 4 bars displayed in the track section.

to place down a note, just double click any cell on the MiDi track grid. (double click the note to delete it)

3) Press this little headphone icon to be able to listen to the sounds being placed down and to also listen to any sound in the drum kit. (just click on the white or black box next to the name of the sound to demo it)

Step 5: Place Down a Snare

1) Place down 1 or 2 snares in each bar, you'll have to listen a few times to hear what sounds right.

-Bars 1 and 3 will be exactly the same, and then bars 2 and 4 can be different variations.

2) Each red bar controls the volume of each individual note.

3) Again, make sure this icon is turned blue, that will indicate that it is selected.

4) Click on this dark grey area (a speaker icon should pop up) to play the track and use the space bar to pause and play the track. You can click on any portion of the MiDi track to start it from whatever spot.

Step 6: Place Down Two Different High Hats

1) Place down two different high hats like shown in the image. This step will take some trial and error.

-Double click on a note to delete it

-click and hold on a note to move it

Step 7: Review and Refine

Play around with different variations of differently places snares and HiHats.

Tip: Making music is supposed to be fun, don't get frustrated if it is not sounding right. Just keep placing notes in different spots until you get something that has some rhythm to it. If you know music theory, that can make this a little easier, but like most people and myself who do not know music theory, you just have to keep on trying until you pull together something. HAVE PATIENCE and have fun with it.

Step 8: Listen to Your Finished Product

Enjoy your finished (or not finished) product. Making music is an on going process and takes time to create. You may not be satisfied with whatever you have created in this tutorial, but if this has peaked your interest, you can download a 30-day free trial of this application and learn how to use the audio editing effects and all of the different sounds/instruments that can be used. There are tons of youtube tutorials out there on the many different functions of this application.

Here is a link to a beginner tutorial on YouTube if you would like to learn more or you were confused with these instructions: (copy and paste this link into your browser to use it)