I used Ableton’s Stretch MIDI function often. You can hear it clearly in my song You Are Disturbing from my 2007 album Attack Decay. The main synth line switches from single to double speed. There is another detailed post on Wire to the Ear about Stretch MIDI notes from April 2008 titled “use the stretch notes command in ableton live” which you can read: click here. I think it’s a great and useful songwriting feature so it was definitely worth a revisit.
“The Stretch MIDI Notes feature allows the user to take a selected group of MIDI notes and stretch their duration, a lot like how you are able to stretch warped audio. You can either lengthen or shorten the duration of the selected notes, and even better is that you don’t have to select every single note in the clip in order to start stretching… that way you can stretch the timing of the kicks and hi-hats without altering the timing of the snares for instance. All you need to do is select a note (or several, or all notes) in your MIDI clip, then right click in the clip, and at the bottom of the contextual menu you will see Stretch MIDI Notes!” – Thavius Beck
Here’s a cool Midi feature you may have missed in Ableton Live. It’s called “Stretch Notes” and I’ve been using it lately. Double click a Midi Clip to show it’s contents in the Clip View (the bottom right panel of the Ableton Live interface). Select all or multiple notes and then either Right Click or Apple Click to open the Contextual Menu and choose “Stretch Notes”. Now two handles pop up which you can drag left or right. As you move the handles the notes shrink or lengthen. Cool and easy no?
When multiple notes are selected in the Note Editor, the Stretch Notes command becomes available from the context menu. Note Stretch markers will then appear in the Note Editor, allowing notes to be scaled proportionally in time. The markers are a pair of downward-pointing indicators that snap to the beginning of the first and last notes in the selection. – Ableton Live User Manual
Here’s an example how I used it in a song. In my song “You Are Disturbing” there is a melody that plays over and over as the chorus. At one point in the song after I say the lyrics “What are the things you like sexually” the same melody plays using TC Powercore’s Roland SH-101 emulator Powercore01 but at double speed. I did this using the Stretch Notes feature:
There is an interesting video by Andreas Wetterberg called “Phase music with Ableton Live” where he uses the Stretch Notes feature to create an entire song. Check it out: click here
I hope this tip inspired you. Oh yeah… try it on some drum loops!