Chopping up samples IN TIME to keys in Ableton 10

Chopping up samples is obviously a fundamental part of many modern music genres. All versions of Ableton ship with an instrument capable of doing this with almost no effort, it’s literally a couple of steps.

STEP ONE: Load a sample into Simpler and select slice mode, for this example we’re using the Breakbeat Funky 102bpm.aif sample that comes with Ableton standard. You’ll notice that the sample is already sliced, this is based on transients by defualt, which means it picks the highest peaks and slices by them, you can adjust the sensitivity and even go in and edit the slice points. If you’re doing vocal chops, this might be enough for you. Start playing the keyboard and you’ll hear that you’re triggering each slice already.

STEP TWO: If your sample is not in time with the project, you can select warp and the number of bars the sample should be (if it needs to be in time). Then select slice by beats.

This will slice the sample evenly based on the number of bars in the sample and the division you have selected (default is 1/4, or 4 beats per bar). Select if you want the slices to play all the way through (trigger) or for as long as a midi note is played (gate). At this point you’re basically done, the rest is up to taste. If you play the first few notes (probably from C3 depending on your settings) of a chromatic scale, you’ll be able to play the original sample.

STEP THREE Now you can start experimenting, putting the jigsaw back together in new ways. Select different divisions to get more or less granular. Fade in/out, transpose, filter, use the LFO to alter cutoff and pitch, whatever you need.