2 - Clips and Effects

Lesson 2: Launching Clips and Playing Effects


You will learn how to launch and control sample clips and loops in Ableton Live, enabling you to create dynamic and engaging performances.


Approximately 60 minutes


Same as last week.

You can use a MIDI controller, to get a more tactile performance experience, but you can also launch clips using your laptop keyboard.

Download this Demo Pack (hazy beat, from Novation Arcade)

1. Introduction to Launching Samples and Loops (5 minutes)

What is clip launching? 

Playing pre-recorded audio clips in a live performance.

You need to practice timing, arrangement, and creative expression.

2. Controlling Playback (10 minutes including hands on)

Open Ableton Live in Session View.

Click File - Install Pack, to install the Demo Pack

Your screen should look like this

  1. Click on the triangle buttons to launch the Clips
  2. Clips in the same vertical column will replace one another
  3. Clips in the other vertical columns will be added on top 
  4. Click on the Scene buttons ('Master' column) to launch all Clips in the same horizontal row
  5. Click on the square button at the bottom of the column to stop the Clip playing in that column
  6. Notice that Clips only launch at the beginning of a 1 Bar count i.e. after the previous 1 Bar has ended. You can change this with the Global Quantize button (next to the Metronome).

2A. Hands on Practice 

3. Assign Clips to Keys (10 minutes including hands on)

Click on the 'Key' button at top right corner

Click on each Clip and assign it to a key on your laptop keyboard. This is the recommended layout.

3A. Hands on Practice

4. Applying Effects (10 minutes including hands on)

You can adding Audio Effects to clips, to enhance the sound.

Select an Audio Effect, e.g. Auto Filter, and drag it onto the column (Audio Track) where you want to apply it.

While a Clips is playing, click and drag on the graph, or on the knobs, to hear the difference.

4A. Hands On Practice

5. Creating Dynamic Arrangements (5 minutes)

You can create arrangements by launching clips in different combinations to build tension and release.


6. Recording and Performing (20 minutes including hands on)

You can record a performance in Session View using the "Arrangement Record" button (black circle). Press the space bar to stop recording.

You can switch to Arrangement view, and see what you have recorded.

When your mouse is at the Clip Overview section, you can

  • Click and drag horizontally to move around
  • Click and drag vertically to zoom in and out

The Arrangement is greyed out because  Live is waiting for you to confirm if you want to use this Arrangement or go back to Session recording. Click on the 'Back to Arrangement' button.

You can export this as a WAV or MP3 by using File-Export Audio/Video


Record a short performance and share it with the class in the next session.