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Ableton Live 8 Extracts Grooves from Audio

Groove Quantization was one of the ‘big deal’ features added in Ableton Live, and I suppose if I’d read all the marketing shiznit more carefully I would have figured it out before now, but as usual I only learn by doing.


So what I did here:

1. Load the track “Amazon” by El-B (from The Roots of El-B into live. (You can hear a sample of it here.)
2. Set 1.1.1 in the timeline to a downbeat. Make the loop region 2 bars starting there. Drag the ‘end’ marker for the track to the end of the loop. Drag the downbeat transients to line up with the timeline downbeats.
3. Right click the resulting clip and select Extract Groove(s)

Then you can apply your groove to any midi clip. Cool…

Other interesting things you can do with grooves:

1. You can drag a groove into a midi track to look at it, or e.g. trigger a hi hat. The beginning of the Audio example above starts out with the raw groove template played by itself.

2. You can drag any midi file into the groove pool. Together with 1, you can edit grooves. In the case of the El-B ‘Amazon’ groove there wasn’t a hit on every 16th note, in which case I don’t know what it does to the timings of notes that fall in the holes, so I plugged the holes with new notes and fiddled with them until they fit the rest of the groove.

3. You can put a groove on a track, and mess with the settings — the random setting and groove amount in particular — until you like the sound created and then hit ‘commit’ on the clip. That quantizes the notes in the clip to the groove settings. Then you can drag the midi clip back into the groove pool and have a new groove.

4. You can apply a groove to many clips simultaneously. Like — every clip in your session. Select the clips to put the groove on in the session view or hit ctrl-A (or cmd-A) to select all. The groove box is in the same place as it would be for a single clip. Then you can choose a groove and it applies to all selected clips.

5. There’s a slider that sets the amount of groove from zero to 130% — I understand what 0-100 means: it drags the notes 0 to 100% of the way to the nearest groove point. I’m not sure what it means past 100%, except that a swing groove swings even harder, and if you have non-zero randomization set, it’s even randomer. At any rate it can sound very cool.
Image stolen from

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