Ambient Music Making with Ableton Live

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Ambient Music Making with Ableton Live

Due to overwhelming demand, we’ve decided to offer this in-person workshop again!

This 2-day hands-on workshop will explore the building block techniques to make Ambient and Experimental music, harnessing the common approaches of some of the genres’ iconic composers from the past and present, put into practical use in Ableton Live (10 or 11).

We’ll look at the generative and aleatoric composition techniques from people like Brian Eno, Suzanne Ciani and Terry Riley, as well as advanced sound design techniques for soundscapes and textures with synthesizers and audio processing. Each technique will be demonstrated using the built-in devices in Ableton Live 10 or 11, and students will build their own mini compositions using these techniques with help and guidance from the instructor.

Course Logistics

Dates: Tuesday, April 18 & Thursday, April 20, 2023

Times: 6-9PM PT

Location: Gray Area / Grand Theater – 2665 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

Cost: $180 for live in-Person two-day workshop.

Scholarship: We also offer Diversity Scholarships.
Apply by April 4, 2023.

Experience Level: Intermediate: A basic working knowledge of Ableton Live is expected.

• Laptop running Ableton Live (10 or 11)
• Headphones
• Some pre-recorded audio material to sample

Additional Information:
• No Refunds or Exchanges.
• View our FAQ here.
• Contact [email protected] with any questions.

Workshop Outline

• A brief history of ambient music, discussion of its essential elements.
• An overview of the essential areas of musical focus and strategies for ambient music composers and experimentalists
• Processing sounds and field recordings with advanced signal chains
• Composing with musical ‘cells’ in the style of minimalists like Terry Riley
• Creating polyrhythm and evolving patterns using audio and midi tools
• Creating captivating textures, drones, and soundscapes through sound design
• Process and Generative based composition techniques ala Brian Eno
• Performance strategies for live ambient music ala Suzanne Ciani and others

About Technologies:
Ableton Live is fast, fluid and flexible software for music creation and performance. It comes with effects, instruments, sounds and all kinds of creative features—everything you need to make any kind of music.

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A long time touring musician with the band Caribou, Ryan also produces futuristic techno music under the moniker Taraval, makes modular ambient music in the live electronic duo Bathing, and has a long running collaboration with Jeremy Greenspan of the Junior Boys, both producing experimental electronic music and running the label Geej. He produced a collaborative performance of a 1973 graphics score by avant-garde composer Frank McCarty called Tactus Tempus, a controlled improvisational process for 9 audio visual performers live at Gray Area. He is an expert level user of Ableton and Max For Live, VCV Rack (virtual modular synthesis environment), numerous hardware instruments and an accomplished guitar player.