How To Create A Custom DJ Tempo Transition Track
How do I transition from __ BPM to __ BPM, or from house music to hip hop? Today’s tutorial shows how to use Ableton to create a premade track that gradually transitions from one BPM to any other. We can use this transition track in DJ sets to go from an original track to an uptempo remix or switch between different genres. Build your own and download an Ableton template inside!
What you need:
- Ableton Live 8 or Live 9 Standard or Suite (Download a 30 trial)
- Drum Loops
- Track of choice
Step 1: Warping Your Track
Since we are dealing with a stable tempo electronic track, we won’t need multiple warp markers. In this case warping is very similar to beatgridding in Traktor. We just need to find the first downbeat, place a warp marker, and make sure our tempo is correct. In the case of Bubble Butt, we’ve got a warp marker on the first downbeat, and we have the correct tempo in the “Seg BPM”.
Step 2: Looping, Slice To MIDI
Once a is track warped, it’s really easy to slice it to a MIDI rack. To do this highlight the section that you want to slice (click and drag on the waveform), loop it, then right-click the waveform and select “Slice to MIDI”. You’ll then be given some options for how you’d like to slice it. We’re going to use ¼ notes slices. This will give us a new MIDI drum rack with 16 slices that are 1 beat long.
Step 3: Recording A Loop With Arpeggiator
Now that we have a MIDI rack we can start to experiment with our sounds. It’s important to note that Ableton does not time stretch drum/MIDI racks. But we can use an Arpeggiator to rapidly trigger MIDI slices at different tempo-synced rates. Once you’ve found the combination of slices that work for you, record a simple loop that will be used in the Arrangement.
Step 4: Arrangement/Automation: Putting It All Together
This is primarily a tool for DJs, so we want to make it as easy as possible to mix with. We’re going to start with a 4-bar drum loop (for mixing in). Then we’ll introduce our arpeggiated MIDI loop that we recorded. We can add emphasis by using a crash. This will be used to let the crowd know that something is big is about to happen. After the crash we can break into our new BPM track or new genre.
However we’re not done, we still need to record in our tempo automation. The tempo automation allows us to draw in tempo changes in the arrangement. In this case we’re going from 125 BPM to 99 BPM. To do that we need to select the “Song Tempo” under the Master track in the arrangement view. Now we can add breakpoints in the automation lane and adjust the breakpoints to create our tempo automation.
Step 5: Export And Enjoy
Now we can export the track. To export the track highlight the entire arrangement and then go to File ? Export Audio/Video. A menu will pop up with various options and settings for exporting. Here is my selection.
A STEP INTO PRODUCTION
Learning how to do this has an added benefit that may not be immediately obvious. You’re learning how to make your own custom edit (i.e. produce!). Don’t do yourself a disservice by thinking, “I’m not really producing if i’m using loops or if i’m not creating original material.” Instead of diving into production and trying create original tracks, start by working with finished songs and use sample packs to give you material to build off. This will allow you to build production confidence.
DOWNLOAD THE PROJECT
We are giving away drum loops and the Ableton Project used in the video. You can download the project and take your time to see how everything works. You can also use this project as a template to follow while making your own transition tracks – you’ll soon able to make these transition tracks in minutes. We’ve also included some loops in the download for your use!
Click here to download the transition project
(content included is for educational purposes only)