Epic Pitchbending

By default, the pitch bend envelope in Ableton only goes two semitones up or down. If you want to get a huge, sweeping pitch bend effect, increase the pitch bend range in the synth — not in Ableton. I’m using the “Space Radiator” preset in Massive for this, but most other soft-synths also have this feature.

Make a two-bar note in Ableton, then click the “E” button and click “Pitch Bend.” Draw a line from the lower-left to the upper-right corner of the envelope:

Use Ableton's pitchbend envelope to gradually increase a note's pitch.

Ableton starts the pitch two semitones below the note, then gradually brings it up to two semitones above the note. Which is good, but not epic enough. Go into Massive and click the “OSC” tab. Click and drag the “Up” and “Down” fields in the “Pitchbend” section to 24.00 and -24.00, respectively.

Set Massive's Pitchbend controls to 24 and -24.

Ableton now starts the pitch two octaves below the note, then raises it to two octaves above. If that’s too epic, try setting Massive’s pitchbend to 12 and -12 instead.

If you want to try this out with one of Ableton’s built-in instruments, load Operator, click on the “Time/Tone/Volume” section and change the “Pitch” setting:

Ableton's Operator synth includes a pitchbend control.

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