The Ableton pitch bend control allows you to smoothly change the pitch of the sound that a MIDI note generates. Creating a pitch bend envelope that gradually increases from zero to 8191 -- the upper limit of the pitch bend envelope -- causes the note's pitch to glide upward. By default, Ableton's built-in Operator synth increases the pitch bend by a maximum of two semitones. If you want to make the maximum pitch bend higher, change the "Pitch Bend Range" setting in the synthesizer's controls.
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Launch Ableton. Click the "Live Device Browser" icon. Expand the "Instruments" section, then drag and drop "Operator" onto the channel labelled "2 MIDI."
Double-click inside the first clip slot in the newly created Operator channel to add a MIDI clip. Right-click inside the piano roll window that appears and select "1 Bar" in the "Fixed Grid" section. Double-click a note field inside the piano roll to create a one-bar MIDI note.
Click the "E" button in the lower-left corner of the window to reveal the MIDI clip's envelope section. Click the "Pitch Bend" button in the "Envelopes" section to set the envelope to affect the pitch bend.
Click and drag the pink envelope line to the top of the envelope. Double-click the pink dot in the top-left corner of the envelope to create a pitch bend envelope that smoothly glides from zero to 8191. Click the "Play" button on the clip to listen to the note bend upward by five semitones.
Press "Shift" and "Tab" simultaneously to switch to the Operator control panel. Click the "Time" knob in the lower-right corner of the Operator panel to reveal the time controls.
Click the "+5 st" field next to "Pitch." Type the number of semitones by which you want the pitch to increase and press "Enter." You can apply a pitch bend of up to 24 semitones, or two octaves. Click the "Play" button again to listen to the note play with the new, higher pitch bend value.
Tips and warnings
- Many third-party VST synthesizers also allow you to customise the pitch bend range.
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