Add random pitches to hihats for unique fills.

Ableton Live - Random Hihat

I think it’s very important in electronic music to be extra wary of letting any part repeat without any change for too long. I like to add little variations all over my music. There are thousands of ways to make mini-breakdowns  and fills interesting. Here’s a technique I use from time to time that involves hihats and Ableton’s Random plug-in. You can click the image above to enlarge it.

This is a fairly simple trick. In this example, I open a Drum Rack and load in a set of Sequential Circuits Drumtraks samples. You can get the same sample pack free from: Next, I click on the Show/Hide Chain List icon to reveal all the samples being used and click/highlight the closed hat. I also click the Show/Hide Devices icon which reveals the closed hat’s waveform. I grab an instance of the Ableton Random plug-in and drag it in-between the waveform and the Drum Rack module. Inside the Random plug-in I set the Chance parameter to 93%, Choices to 12 and the Scale to 1.

Now whenever I want to add a little spice to a fill I drop out the kick, change a few snares, add some more HiHats and automate the Random plug-in to turn ON. Here’s an audio example. Listen to bar 4 and 8:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

You can have the Random plug-in effect many different elements including filters, pans, and note lengths. If you keep the Chance Parameter set low you can add a subtle unique mark on your music.

More info about the Sequential Circuits Drumtraks:

This entry was written by Oliver Chesler, posted on February 10, 2009 at 9:52 am, filed under Ableton Live, song writing and tagged , , , . Leave a comment or view the discussion at the permalink and follow any comments with the RSS feed for this post.