Easily Generate Melody Lines and Bass Lines with Ableton Live

Not everyone can afford one of the new breed of controllers which allow you to play in a key of your choosing without hitting a bum note. This video tutorial looks at how to come up with melody lines and bass lines with Ableton Live, even if you’re not musically minded..

For those who haven’t already had a look at Ableton’s Push Controller, it is a control surface which allows for comprehensive control of pretty much every aspect of music production – from the loading of instruments and effects, to creation and ultimately sequencing of ideas in Live’s Arrangement view. One killer function is the ease of which one can play the unconventional keyboard layout to create very usable musical ideas using the devices ‘in key’ mode. In this mode, the user can select a key/scale from a huge long list of both common and esoteric scales, safe in the knowledge that they’ll never hit a wrong note, because each of the 64 pads will play a note from that scale. This means that you don’t need to be a keyboard wizard to create interesting melodic content – but what can you do if you don’t have one of these excellent controllers?

Ableton's Push controller


Load yourself a Scale Device preset 

Scale device is a hidden weapon which allows any incoming MIDI note to be snapped to a key of your choosing. It comprises of 2 main parameters: a note matrix which allows incoming notes to be snapped to a different pitch, and a base control which essentially sets the tonic or root of your tweaked incoming notes. You can customise your own scale by editing the note matrix, but you also have a range of preset scales available to you in the browser.

Most (but by no means all) Western music is generally written in a major or minor key, so if you’re new to music theory, I’d recommend sticking to one of those initially to give you a familiar feel to your music. Next up, you just need to adjust the base parameter to select the key of your choosing – i.e. “G minor”.

Voilà! Any MIDI controller keyboard will now play in ‘in key’ mode!

Watch this video tutorial which explains how to set this up, and also further methodologies for creating melodic loops:


If you’d like to know more about practical music theory, and how to apply it to your production, why don’t you check out our 12 week Electronic Music Composition course? If you’re a complete beginner and would like to know more about Ableton Live, why don’t you take a look at our 4-day Ableton Live weekend course?

MMS Sessions Ben Pearce Ableton Live Masterclass – We Are Live!

Released today: watch our brand new MMS Sessions Ben Pearce Ableton Live Masterclass video series right now!

Ben Pearce Visits school of electronic music

The school of electronic music’s MMS Sessions series recently teamed up with Ben Pearce (Purp & Soul Records) to bring an you an extra special Ben Pearce Ableton Live MMS Sessions. Joined by a live audience at school of electronic music, Ben de-constructed one of his remixes and showed us the techniques that go into producing a track on Ableton Live. He also took questions from the audience, answering a huge number of topics from the role an artist manager plays in your career to question’s on Ben’s October 2012 breakthrough track “What I might Do.”
This brand new MMS Sessions Ben Pearce Ableton Live Masterclass video series really is perfect for anyone who’s producing music or DJing, or looking to get into it. Ben’s rise to fame from the success of just one tune is a fascinating and inspiring story and one definitely worth hearing for those who are trying to make their mark in the industry.

Watch The Video Series Right Now!

There’s a grand total of 22 videos in this series and we’ve hand picked a few of our favourites here:

Top tips on getting your music signed!

Do you feel pressure after hit ‘What I Might Do?

The importance of social media

Producing different genres?

Did you have goals at 18 Do you have one now?


About Ben Pearce

The Creative Director of Purp and Soul Records, Ben Pearce has sported some great remixes on Lost My Dog and Southern Fried Records. Not only this, he’s been enjoying the recent success his deep house music piercing through into the public domain.

Back in October 2012, Ben’s breakthrough track What I Might Do caught the attention, ears and hearts of many. The EP, signed by Chase and Statuses’ label MTA Records reached dizzying heights, cruising in at #1 on Beatport Deep House Chart, #3 Beatport Chart and #5 iTunes Electronic Chart, with strong support from Seth Troxler, Solomun, Lee Foss, Maya Jane Coles, Pete Tong (his essential track), Annie Mac, Eats Everything,Tiefschwarz, and Crazy P to name but a few.

After a re-release on Mercury Records this October with a slew of remixes from Adam Shelton, Bonar Bradberry, Harry Wolfman and PBR Streetgang, What I Might Do has now hit #7 in the UK singles chart, along with major rumblings in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands nearly a whole year on from conception.

Want to get into producing music yourself? Jump on our next Music Production and Audio Engineering Diploma or come down and visit us to find out more. Book a tour here