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Ableton Live Software Application in Music Performance Essay

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Updated: Jun 9th, 2020


Ableton live is a music sequencer and digital audio program. It is built for OS X and Windows. The first version of the software was developed on 30th October, 2001. The current and modern version dates back to March 5, 2013. The application is used by a wide range of music creators, such as producers and sound engineers (Buono & Margulies 2010). It is also used by songwriters in home, professional, and mobile studio locales. In addition, the instrument is used by DJs. The reason behind this is because it offers a wide range of controls for cross-fading and beat-matching. Since its development, the software remains a favorite of many artists who take part in live performances (Hosken 2010).

In this paper, the author will discuss the use of Ableton live performance software in relation to two artists. The two are Daft Punk and Krewella. Aspects to be analyzed include the artists’ career, discography, and performances. In addition, the hardware and software used and the compositional and production techniques employed in the performance and recording will be evaluated.

Daft Punk: An Analysis of Career, Discography, and Performances


Daft Punk is a French electronic music group. It is made of two artists. The two are Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. The duo’s career began when they gave a demo tape to Stuart Macmillan, cofounder of Soma Quality Recordings (Santorelli 2014). The two new artists were attending an event in Euro Disney grounds, Paris, in 1993. Upon its release, the tape formed the basis of the debut single ‘The New Wave’. In 1995, the French duo recorded ‘Da Punk’. The new project went on to become their first commercial success. The big breakthrough into music industry forced them to look for a manager.

They employed Pedro Winter, alias Busy P, who was a promoter of Hype nightclubs. Busy P managed them from 1996 to 2008. In September 1996, Daft Punk was signed by Virgin Records (Santorelli 2014). Since 1993, the duo has produced numerous tracks and worked with several artists. Such artists include Pharrell Williams and Kanye West. In addition, their records have won a number of awards. In 2014, for example, Daft Punk’s project Random Access Memories won five Grammys.


Daft Punk’s discography is made of four studios and three remix albums. It also involves two live albums, one compilation, one soundtrack, and one video album (Santorelli 2014). All the projects consist of twenty two singles and eighteen music videos. The four albums include ‘Homework’, which was released in 1997, and ‘Discovery’, which was produced in 2001. Others are ‘Human After All’ in 2005 and ‘Random Access Memories’ in 2013. All the projects have recorded success by topping various music charts from France to the United States. Their second single, ‘Da Funk’, was released early in their career. It peaked at number seven in France (Santorelli 2014). In the United States, the song went was on top of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. Other singles to attain the top spots in charts across different countries include ‘One More Time’, ‘Around the World’, and ‘Get Lucky’.

Range of Performances

The Daft Punk duo has appeared in numerous live performances since their rise to fame in the 90s. In addition, they have performed in different clubs using vinyl records from their collection. Daft Punk’s first major live original performance was in 1997 (Santorelli 2014). The two artists held the Daftendirektour with its primary purpose being to promote their first album, ‘Homework’. The duo toured a number of cities in different parts of the world. During this tour, Daft Punk used their home studio equipment for live stage performance. All their work on stage, which composed of drum machines and bass lines, was synched up. They used the sequencer to control tempos, beats, and bars (Williams & Webster 2006).

In mid 1997, the duo performed at the Tribal Gathering Festival at Luton Hoo, England. Towards the end of the same year, Daft Punk held performances in Birmingham, UK. In 2006/2007 period, the duo held the ‘Alive Tour’, which began in the United States at the Coachella Festival in Indio, California. They went on to conduct shows in Europe and Japan during the Summer Sonic Fiesta. In 2008, the duo made an astonishing appearance at the 50th Grammy Awards. They performed alongside Kanye West (Santorelli 2014).

Krewella: Analysis of Career, Discography, and Performances


Krewella is an American electronic dance music duet. It consists of songwriter and vocalist Jahan Yousaf and Yasmine Yousaf (Bartlett 2014). The group is from Chicago, Illinois. It was formed in 2007. At the beginning of their career, Krewella was made up of three artists. The third member, Kristopher Trindl, was also the group’s producer. He left in 2014. The duo’s music is a mix of self-produced electro house and dubstep. Their major project was released in June 2012. The work was an album titled ‘EP Play Hard’. Within the course of their career, Krewella has engaged the services of several managers. They are currently under the management of Chuck D. Lyor Cohen.


Since 2007, Krewella has grown to be an important name in the rock and house music genre. The duo has two albums. ‘Get Wet’ is the official studio album. It was produced by Columbia Records. Upon its release on September 2013, it peaked at position one in the US dance charts (Bartlett 2014). The project’s major hits were ‘Alive’ and ‘Live for the Night’. In addition, the duo has ten singles, 1 DJ mix, and 6 miscellaneous. In 2012, Krewella won the International Dance Music Awards for the Best Breakthrough Artist. They have also appeared in eight music videos as lead artists. Some of the videos include Killin’ It, Legacy, and Enjoy the Ride.

Range of Performances

Krewella has held live performances in various arenas in different parts of the world. In 2012, the duo headlined several EDM fiestas. They include Electric Daisy Carnival, Sunburn, Ultra Music, and Streosonic festivals. Others are Paradiso and Spring Awakening carnivals (Bartlett 2014). In 2014, the duo held numerous tours where they made electrifying live performances alongside other artists, such as David Guetta, Tiesto, Afrojack, and Martin Garrix. In most of their live concerts, the music duo uses custom LED technology from Illuminode to light up the stage.

Hardware and Software Devices used by Daft Punk and Krewella

Daft Punk’s Hardware and Software

The Daft Punk duo utilizes a wide range of hardware and software when rocking a live set. Their primary instruments include Ableton Live and four Minimoog Voyagers. In the 2007 ‘Alive’ tour, the robotic duo made a dazzling performance using a wide range of devices and controllers. They included custom super computers on the top row, 2 Behringer BCR2000 Controllers on the bottom row, and two JazzMutant Lemur touch-screens (Santorelli 2014). One other major software used is the Synth Drums.

Daft Punk uses Ableton live software to order their loops into scenes and provide structure to their songs. The tool allows them to position their loops before the live performance (Hosken 2010). As a result, they manage to play each scene using the right timing. The four Minimoog Vayager RME units and two Behringer controllers are used by the duo to mix, filter, shuffle, trigger loops, and distort samples. In addition, they are used to equalize in and out and to switch or deconstruct sythn lines (Collins 2011).

The JazzMutant Lemur Touch-screen is a customizable audio tool. It acts as a controller for musical gadgets, such as mixers and synthesizers. The device’s role is similar to that of MIDI controller. However, it is more advanced because it uses Open Sound Control (OSC). The tool works best with Reaktor and Max or MSP contrivances in developing custom software synthesizers (Buono & Margulies 2010).

Music Hardware and Software Utilized by Krewella

During their live performances, the Krewella duet uses a wide range of hardware and software. They include Akai Professional APC40 Ableton Live, reFx Nexus 2, Ohm Force Ohmicide Software Distortation Plugin, and Avalon VT-737sp Mic Preamp. Others are Native Instrument Massive Synth and Avid Pro Tools 11.

Akai Professional APC40 Ableton Live helps artists to balance analytical parameter control with imaginative expression (Collins 2011). The APC40 is an intuitive and powerful tool. It links an artist’s inspiration with Ableton Live. To use the software, the musician is not required to map its controls. They only need to connect a laptop to the APC40 by use of a USB.

The reFX Nexus 2 is a ROM synthesizer plug-in. It is used to produce a high level of sonic quality sound (Williams & Webster 2006). The device is fitted with euphoric leads, unique pads, and glowing keys. The hardware is preferred by electronic dance music groups, such as Krewella, due to its wide range of features. They include a filter with numerous frequency responses, an arpeggiator, and a stereo pattern controlled noise valve. In addition, with the nexus 2, an artist can delay and reverb effects.

An Analysis of Compositional and Production Techniques used by Daft Punk and Krewella

Daft Punk’s Compositional and Production Techniques

Daft Punk employs different compositional and production techniques in their performance and recording materials. Since the beginning of their career, the duo has refused to act on the rules of dance music. Unlike other artists, the two prefer to sample their own work instead of music from other artists. Their primary composition technique entails interlocking the worlds of analogue and digital sounds to develop an eclectic, tongue-in-cheek mix (Santorelli 2014). Each of Daft Punk’s songs in all the albums is a blend of diverse experiments and tricks. Due to this, a wide range of production techniques are employed in a single track.

While composing their songs, the duo also employs the bricolage approach. The French term refers to the art of using found sound and turning it into something new. Through the technique, Daft Punk uses various musical instruments for purposes they were not developed for. In production of their music, the duo uses the modest set-up. They use Logic Audio on an iMac DV and record the content to a Sony DAT, straight into the Revox A77 or B77 analog recorder (Williams & Webster 2006). However, this is influenced by the sound they desire.

Compositional and Production Techniques Employed by Krewella

Due to the unique nature of their work, Krewella utilizes different production and compositional techniques. However, when composing their tracks, the duo does not employ specific methods. The songs are based on their actual feelings at the time (Bartlett 2014). One track influenced by their moods is ‘Alive’. In addition, some recordings are influenced by the nature of drum and bass beats. The tempo and energy from the instruments act as the inspiration behind the compositions.

Production of electronic house music is a complex and versatile process. It entails the use of various skills and techniques (Hosken 2010). The production methods employed by Krewella include innovative vocoder and pitch, frequency shifting, and ring modulation. Innovative vocoder is a system utilized to reproduce human vocalizations (Buono & Margulies 2010). In the encoder, an artist’s speech is passed through an envelope follower. The signals produced are then communicated to the decoder. The entire process enables more speech straits to share a radio circuit.

The other production technique entails the utilization of pitch shifting, frequency shifting, and ring modulation. Pitch shifting transfers incoming signals by musical intermissions (Williams & Webster 2006). Frequency alteration involves moving each sound in a signal by a set amount. The technique allows artists to develop high quality chorus effects.


Music recording and live performances brings together a number of diverse components. A wide range of hardware and software devices are used to ensure the artist performance comes out as envisaged. Ableton live is one of the most preferred music software among artists, producers, and DJs. The reason behind this is because it enables them to compose, arrange, and master music. In addition, the software can be used for recording and mixing purposes.


Bartlett, B 2014, Recording music on location: capturing the live performance, 2nd edn, Taylor and Francis, Hoboken. Web.

Buono, C & Margulies, J 2010, Your Ableton live studio, Cengage Learning, Boston. Web.

Collins, M 2011, Pro tools 9 music production, recording, editing, and mixing, Focal Press, Waltham, MA. Web.

Hosken, D 2010, An introduction to music technology, Routledge, London. Web.

Santorelli, D 2014, Daft Punk: a trip inside the pyramid, St. Martin’s Press, New York. Web.

Williams, D & Webster, P 2006, Experiencing music technology, 3rd edn, Schirmer, Belmont, CA. Web.

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