I love it when a plan comes together, even if there are a few fuzzy edges. In this case, it was the plan of using Ableton Live to provide some backing pads for the music at church this morning.
One refinement I added over last night’s experimentation was to set up my loops in a series of ‘scenes’ linked to each song. That meant that I could move through the set list one button press at a time. I could also program in the planned tempo for each song to avoid rushing or going too slow. You just append “; XXX BPM” to the end of the scene name and the tempo will adjust as you set it going. As well as a sustained chord, each pad had a pulsing bass sound that worked as a subtle, in-key metronome. It was’t very distinct so hard to follow but enough to get me in the ballpark and quiet enough to not be a problem if I wandered off a bit.
Problems? One was that I think the overall volume of the sound desk might not have been turned up enough. I have a feeling that a lot of the volume may have come from the foldback monitor and I set that, based on previous experience, pretty low! That’s in the hands of the sound team though and it was one of our less regular contributors on today, so I’ll be gentle about that. The other thing I’d change would be to try and find a way to get the laptop more directly in my eye line, not least so I could more easily see the pulse of the beat. An external monitor at a fairly low resolution might be a good solution for that.
All in all though, a worthwhile experiment.