Ableton Live

Interface Tour - Time Controls

November 29, 2020

In this first part of our deep dive into the Ableton Live interface controls, we’re looking into the first set of buttons at the top left of the screen. The time controls.

Starting from the left, moving to the right.

Ableton Live Time Controls

Ableton Link is a proprietory technology created by Ableton that allows musicians to perform electronic music together over the same local network. There are a number of applications that support Link. I highly recommend looking into it if you’re interested in performing electronic music with other people. You can find more about Ableton Link here

Tap Tempo

The tap tempo button allows you to physically tap (either using a MIDI controller, or your mouse) to set the global tempo for your project. Which leads us to…


View and set the global tempo for your project.

Ableton Live Screenshot

Phase Nudge Up/Down

Use the phase nudge buttons during a live performance to match the tempo of your track to that of an external song. Think of it as the digital equivalent of matching tempos on a turntable.

Time Signature

Choose whichever time signature you want, Ableton supports them all. However, if you want your listeners to dance, you’ll probably want to stick to 4/4.

Metronome (and metronome settings)

Turn the metronome on during recording sessions to help keep in time, although if you are unable to stick to the rhythm you could always rely on…


The quantization setting lets you choose how “in time” you want your recordings to be. For example, if you choose “1 Bar”, your recording will be quantized to the nearest bar.

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