Ableton Live

Interface Tour - Playback Controls

December 10, 2020

In this second installment in what critics are calling “riveting content”, we’re looking at the Ableton Live Playback Controls!

Once again, starting from left to right!


Ableton Live - Follow

When follow is active, and you are in arrangement view, the track playhead will scroll to follow the current time in the song

Arrangement Position

Ableton Live - Arrangement Position

The arrangement position shows you the current bar your playhead is centered on. You can manually adjust this to position the playhead, although 9 times out of 10 you’ll want to use this only for it’s display.


Ableton Live - Play Button

Plays the track, duh.


Ableton Live - Stop Button

In the name of love, before you break my heart. Stops the track.

Arrangement Record Button

Ableton Live - Arrangement Record Button

This button can be in one of two states. If you’ve enabled “Start Playback with Record” under preferences -> Record Warp Launch -> Start Playback with Record, pressing this button will record directly into the arrangement view. If this option is off, the record button will be armed, but won’t start recording until you press the “Play” button.

MIDI Arrangement Overdub

Ableton Live - MIDI Arrangement Overdub

If enabled, any new MIDI notes you play will be added to existing MIDI clips rather than replaced by. This could be a fun way of iteratively adding notes to increase the complexity of a MIDI phrase.

Automation Arm

Ableton Live - Automation Arm

Arm as in “armed” not like, a literal arm. So you can forget the images of a Tesla factory here and think more of a solider, actually don’t that’s not useful at all. Automation arm lets you record automation directly to the arrangement view. Automation mainly refers to changing effect parameters over time probably using those knobs on your MIDI keyboard that you always wondered what they did.

Re-Enable Automation

Ableton Live - Re-Enable Automation

If you’ve disabled automation for any tracks in the arrangement view, pressing this will re-enable that automation.

Capture MIDI

Ableton Live - Caputre MIDI

Ableton is watching, always watching. Just played a cool little phrase with your MIDI keyboard? Hit this button to let Ableton turn that phrase into a clip that you can use in your track.

Session Record

Ableton Live - Session Record

This button lets you switch between playback, and overdub. If you’re on a MIDI clip and session record is in overdub mode, you will be able to add MIDI notes to the current clip, as well as overdub automation. However, if you’re on an audio clip, you can only overdub automation.

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