One of the cool DJ techniques with Ableton Live is to trick multiple clips using keyboard keys. You could in principle ‘play the keyboard’ and constantly trigger various clips, resulting in interesting (or not) combinations.
Now, how to map this with a keyboard, that’s the organizational issue. Some are looking into so called POT USB keyboards — these are matrix-style keyboards with rows and columns of keys, and you could program these to any key values. The problem with these are usually the price, as well as driver availability for MacOSX. But you could then create any kind of triggering system you want.
Now, there’s the lofty standard keyboard… I tried to experiment tonight with this kind of mapping. For the first audio column I mapped the cells as Shift-1, Shift-2, Shift-3, and so on, with Shift-0 being to stop the clip. The new row was Control-1, Control-2 and so on up to 9, and the third, Option-1, Option-2…
Now, I really like four tracks when doing this, but you can’t find another control key, and the Apple (Command Key) is used by Ableton Live, so I used the numeric keyboard, 1, 2, 3 and so on.
Then I also renamed the column headers so I knew what control key controlled what row.
I could get pretty far with this, it was indeed like playing an electronic accordion with material! Note, I didn’t check if a default key binding was overridden, but Ableton Live didn’t complain when I did this…
Now, I don’t mind the mouse, if I use four-bar Global Quantization, I have four bars of time when I could turn on and off various clips. The problem with the number scheme is that you could just have a range of 0 to 9 with number keys, and if you reserve 0 as stopping the clip (good to have) then you are down to just nine rows of clips.
I tried to map the keys using rows of alphanumeric keys, a, s, d and so on, but it just didn’t feel natural.
Maybe a combination of this kind of mapping and the mouse is a good combination. Anyway, with some training you could achieve very complex arrangements, provided you have tracks chopped into clips, or other clip material. Make a test version, save it, and make it read-only as a file, and you could then later just open this template and use it for specific DJ purposes.