Ableton Live + Live 4 Max for a system of automatic accompaniment?

    Aug 13 2010 | 2:21 pm
    I am currently researching systems of real-time rhythmic automatic accompaniment (i.e. no more damned fixed click tracks!), for a Masters dissertation and am dying to stop writing about people doing interesting musical things and start doing them myself...
    So far the best option for 'popular' music (as opposed to 'art' music, electro-acoustic ect), seems to be either using B-Keeper and Ableton as a starting point and then seeing if I can customise that and maybe build on it to generate systems driven by pitched instruments, (I know that would be really hard). I am aware of Circular Logic's InTime, it looks good but not really flexible enough.
    As I only have Max5 at this point, my question is - would it be worth shelling out on Ableton Live + Live 4 Max, and would that be flexible enough to control not only the global tempo but other parameters such as timing and velocity offsets for different tracks / instruments? Clearly this is the Max4Live forum, but is there anything else out there that could do a similar job?
    Also, if that is the case and it is worth it - can anyone tell me if it would be worth getting the full studio bundle?
    Hope you can help, many thanks Tim Canfer

    • Aug 13 2010 | 2:44 pm
      hi Tim,
      It could be. I certainly think you might build an interesting system using it.
      I've just made a version of B-Keeper that runs in MaxForLive. This directly controls the tempo using live.object. That does away with a lot of the control buttons on B-Keeper that make it confusing. However, I still like the old one myself and am even gigging tonight using that. (with Higamos Hogamos)
      You could look at the zelastic object for Max - I've never used it yet - but it does the time-stretching apparently. We have various beatTrackers that would be of use to you - e.g. btrack~ by Adam Stark - that may be able to tell you the beats in the guitar signal. What exactly would you want to do? Synchronise with a rehearsed piece or have some kind of generative accompaniment?
      regards Andrew
    • Aug 14 2010 | 12:54 am
    • Aug 14 2010 | 7:03 am
      "So far the best option for 'popular' music..."
      there's no rule or 'best' as far as I've been able to see... 'popular' musicians use so many different things. some even also use SuperCollider: some use reaper: (seriously, take a GOOD look at reaper, if i didn't use Max/MSP so much, i would use reaper for everything) some use renoise:
      and so many other things(with scripting capabilities, reaper can definitely do so much that m4l can, renoise is adding similar scripting capabilities to their environment, the price of renoise and reaper is also bound to make a mockery of everything else... at least, to me, their price makes everything else look like a greedy, immoral, businessman's joke)
      max/msp alone, however(similar to using supercollider alone) is also a great option. you don't need ableton at all. max/msp has ITM and so much more for all your 'popular' and 'non-popular' needs, with even more diversity... (in Ableton, often the sound(that crunchy digital/interpolated sound that ableton has, especially when you do any kind of synthesis) is just too distinct to get away from: you can hear an ableton-user a mile away, unless they use extensive VSTs or stick religiously to sampling only)
      However, last but not least, you shouldn't listen to a noob like me ;)
      Instead, check out this 9 part series on British synth pop. I don't think any of these people would've wanted to adhere to M4L, instead, they would've wanted to build their own... M4L will never be as DIY as using Max/MSP or SuperCollider or PD or CSound or programming your own VSTs/AUs in C/C++ alone(let alone programming from the ground up), consider going as deep as the rabbit hole might take you(in my humble opinion, that's not the way of M4L).
    • Aug 15 2010 | 1:50 pm
      Thanks for your replies - re your questions andrew "What exactly would you want to do? Synchronise with a rehearsed piece or have some kind of generative accompaniment?"
      Initially - the former (basically, flexible score following for popular music), but then ideally tie in some elements of generative accompaniment.
      Re Noob4Life's points - I had not thought of using reaper - to be honest Max5 is as deep down the rabbit hole as I have been, I am not sure if I am up to the task of scripting, I had a brief crack at SuperCollider last year and the time it took to make a sine A440Hz kind of put me off.
      The appeal of Ableton and Max4live is that I wouldn't have to reinvent the sequencer wheel and could get to making interesting music relatively quickly. The price is pretty heafty though, but the idea of doing it all (and making it solid) in Max is appealing if a bit daunting.
      Is there some way driving Reaper with a Max beat tracker / score follower?
      Thanks again Tim
    • Aug 15 2010 | 2:24 pm
      I forgot to mention - the objects by Adam Stark are superb, btrack~ is surprisingly effective. Highly recommended, thanks Andrew.
    • Aug 15 2010 | 3:57 pm
      Re Reaper, I have started an interesting post on their forum re Max for Reaper, some interesting possibilities there... (Hope it is ok to link to from here: )
    • Aug 16 2010 | 8:34 pm
      nice! i'm glad others here are interested in Reaper. when they add OSC Max->Reaper and vice-versa will become a cinch(sp?). Renoise just added OSC, and I love scripting in LUA so i'm also excited about that(both are ridiculously affordable).... but for some, i understand the vertical tracker thing of Renoise can be limiting due to the adherence to quantization(even if you can easily overcome it with creative delays, quantization can still prove a counter-intuitive way of working)...
      but anyways, didn't mean to imply that it's not possible in M4L, either. but there are many ways you can do it all in Max5. another way, besides some LCD-scripted sequencer linked to ITM via transport and similar objects, might be to take a look at incorporating this new JSUI-based timeline object:
    • Aug 17 2010 | 3:08 pm
      Renoise looks really interesting, but a bit old school and as you say, quantized for my purposes.
      Re controlling Reaper or another 3rd party sequencer,
      do you know if it is possible to do the following using MIDI or rewire? :
      send an instruction that at the end of the bar, that sends the transport to a predetermined bar number and continues.
      or would I need to create a program that can access the Reaper API?
      Thanks again