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Ableton Live 7 Workshop Tension synth
Remember that it takes time to become familiar with each parameter and how it functions in different contexts – you’re more likely to have fun programming sounds and less likely to think you’re going crazy...
parameter modifi cations that can drastically increase Tension’s output (increasing the Stiffness of the plectrum will have a similar effect). After switching to the Bow, you’re going to hear a weird, breathy tone with very little fundamental pitch. In this case, the key to getting a clearer pitch out of the bowed string is to increase the Velocity (the speed with which the bow is moving across the string). For example, at 63% you’ll hear a nice, strong fundamental. 4
Now we’re playing with the Bow, the Decay control has a completely different effect. While a note is held down, it’s as if the bow moves continuously back and forth across the string, so the string won’t decay to silence until the note is released. If you adjust the Decay control now, you’ll hear a change in the string’s volume and timbre after the initial attack. The more dramatic changes to the string’s tone will occur in the very low values – going down to 5% will get you back to the breathy weirdness, similar to what we heard before increasing the Bow’s Velocity. However, as you play this sound across the range of the keyboard, you will get some interesting variations in different pitch ranges, with the higher notes taking on a clearer pitch.
At this point, you may be thinking that the potential complexity of all of these interactions could quickly become overwhelming. It’s true! However, this is an important piece of information to know. As long as you
remember that it takes time to become familiar with each parameter and how it functions in different contexts, you’re more likely to have fun programming sounds and less likely to think you’re going crazy! What’s more, it will help to know that the Bow is the most diffi cult of the Excitators to master and tends to produce the most unpredictable results. When programming bowed string sounds, it is highly recommended to start with a preset such as Cello or Violin and tweak from there. 5
you may think that the potential complexity of all these interactions could become overwhelming. it’s true!
To help understand the Damper section, we’ll take a look at another preset: Acoustic Piano. The Damper section models various characteristics of the material that is brought into contact with the string to reduce its vibrations. By default, the Damper section is turned off for the Piano preset, so the fi rst thing we’ll need to do is turn it on. 6
When you do this, you will notice that another switch, Gated, is already activated. This particular switch determines whether the damper is constantly in contact
46 Ableton Live MusicTech Focus