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Max for Live is a programming language built into Ableton Live that allows us to create custom audio MIDI and instrument devices. It can even change the way Ableton itself acts, and allows Ableton to connect with robots, external sensors, and visuals. There is a vibrant online user community building custom devices, and if you are up to the challenge, you can make new devices yourself. In this video, from the Berklee Online course Ableton Live Techniques: Sampling, instructor Loudon Stearns demonstrates how the process of developing any programming language is breaking down a complex task into much smaller tasks and testing each one. Making your very own instruments from scratch is not necessary for making music, but for many of us there is great satisfaction in understanding the building blocks of the tools we use. This is where Max for Live comes in handy! The overriding concept is that devices here create and manipulate messages which are sent along patch cables to other devices, where those messages are manipulated further. We must, step by step, move from our input message, MIDI note messages, and end up with our desired output, a text box showing the musical note. The most common way to observe and check messages along the way is the use of the print object, which outputs the last message to the "Max console." There are a few interface concepts that must be mastered to work with this graphical programming language: Lock/Unlock and Patching/Presentation. At first it feels confusing switching between the two modes, but you get very fast and familiar with it!
About Loudon Stearns:
Loudon Stearns is an associate professor at Berklee College of Music, as well as a course author and instructor at Berklee Online. The courses he has authored include Advanced Music Production with Ableton Live, Composing and Producing Electronic Music 1, and Composing and Producing Electronic Music 2. With Erin Barra, he co-authored the courses Ableton Live Fundamentals and Ableton Live Techniques: Sampling. Within the Contemporary Writing and Production department at Berklee College of Music, Loudon prepares students to work as independent composers and producers in a technology-laden music industry. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Writing and Production and Bass Performance from Berklee College of Music, and a Master of Fine Arts in Media Art from Emerson College.
About Berklee Online:
Berklee Online is the continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, delivering online access to Berklee's acclaimed curriculum from anywhere in the world, offering online courses, certificate programs, and degree programs. Contact an Academic Advisor today:
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Loudon Stearns | Erin Barra| Max for Live | Ableton Live Techniques: Sampling | Ableton Lesson | MIDI Messages | Berklee | Berklee Online | Berklee College of Music