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MIDI Remote Script for Ableton's Live 9/10, adding MPE-utilities
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README.md

MPE_Util

MIDI Remote Script ("Control Surface") for Ableton Live 9/10, adding MPE-utilities such as:

  • Automated creation and setup of channel tracks for MPE MIDI input device
  • MPE channel track properties (e.g. arm and firing of clips) follow input of their instrument track

Get it for free

Quick demonstration on youtube:

MPE Util demo video

MPE stands for MIDI Polyphonic Expression, https://www.midi.org/articles/midi-polyphonic-expression-mpe

Ableton Live doesn't support MPE well, as all the incoming MIDI on a MIDI track goes to channel 1. However, one can create "MPE sub tracks", individual MIDI tracks for receiving each of the MIDI channels from a MPE-source, and route their output to an instrument on another MIDI track, the "MPE Master track". This requires a lot of manual operations, such as setting of MIDI From and MIDI To parameters.. The MPE_Util MIDI Remote Script automates the creation and configuring of the MPE sub tracks and it updates MPE sub tracks properties when the MPE Master track is modified. Currently changes in MPE Master tracks arm, instrument, name, color and clip firing are handled. Unfortunately the updates get applied with a tinyish (usually less than 100ms), varying delay (launch quantization recommended).

By default, all MPE Master tracks utilize a GhostMidiInputTrack as MIDI Input. The GhostMidiInputTrack is a gray MIDI track with no input and no output. It enables Arm button and 'ghost' clips on MPE Master track, while not interfering the MPE input.

Use the script at your own risk, it may break your Live set or even installation! Try it first on a new set, and backup your project before loading it while the script is active (selected as a Control Surface)! However, no one has reported any issues so far.

The script should work on Live 10 and Live 9 (from 9.7, could work on older versions as well, but it would require some work. I won't try unless at least some people are interested).

Supported Live versions:
  • Live 9 (9.7->)
  • Live 10
Supported MPE controllers:

All the MPE controllers should be supported, but here's a list of devices which have been tested:

  • Roli Seaboard RISE
  • Roli Lightpad Block

Installation:

Ableton's instructions for using and installing 3rd party Control Surfaces: https://help.ableton.com/hc/en-us/articles/209072009-How-to-install-a-third-party-Remote-Script

Download the latest release, or clone git or download zip from github: (https://github.com/juhot/MPE_Util) and get the MPE_Util -dir to Live's MIDI Remote Scripts dir (if your folder is named with github stuff, e.g. "MPE_Util-master", rename it to "MPE_Util"). Afterwards, script's dir should look like as in the linked picture:

Start Live, go to settings, and on Link MIDI tab select MPE_Util as a Control Surface on a free slot. You should see a message at the bottom of the screen saying "MPE Util loaded!".

Configuration:

You may configure default values for your MPE-Controllers MIDI port names, the number of MIDI channels to use, and whether a GhostInputTrack will be created. The default settings may be changed by modifying file (instructions are in the file): MPE_Util/conf.txt

You may alter the list of keyphrases which activate the creation of the MPE-midi tracks from the conf as well. Note: you will have to create a new or load an existing Live set for the changes to take effect!

Usage:

As the automatic firing of clips on subtracks isn't perfectly synced, global launch quantization value other than None is recommended.

When you want to create input tracks for individual MIDI channels, rename a track with an instrument by adding "-createMPE" to the end of the track's name. MPE sub tracks should appear after a moment, and immeadately switch their names, colors and arm-states to match the instrument track. You may define the number of MPE Subtracks to be created by adding the number to the end of the postfix, e.g. "-createMPE8", otherwise the default value from MPE_Util/conf.txt is used.

You may group the input tracks, but do not include the instrument track in the group. Group track's name and color will follow the instrument track as well.

Input tracks will automatically update their "MIDI To" target whenever the instrument on the instrument track is changed.

If you would like to change the "MIDI From" on the subtracks, select the new input source on the first input chanells track, the rest will follow. If the "MIDI To" on the subtracks is pointing in wrong destination, e.g. MPE Master tracks "Track In", change the "MIDI To" on the first MPE sub track to any other value. MPE Util will then try to fix the routing on all MPE sub tracks.

How it works:

MPE Util works as a Control Surface in Live. It is a python script which listens for changes, and extends functionality in some objects in Live set. e.g. if track's name changes to end with a certain phrase, a method extending the track's model is called, or if a track extended to be a MPE Master track is armed, a method arming its MPE sub tracks is called. MPE Util saves some parameters of the extended items as a part of the set, and loads the information when the set is loaded.

Development:

I have a lot of stuff on my TODO list at the moment, but found bugs may be fixed more or less quickly. I'm planning to include new features as well, but probably after the release of Live 10.

TODO (things to implement, sooner or later):
  • verifying the support of other than listed MPE coontrollers
  • add parameters (such as follow track colors) to conf.txt
  • find out if a MIDI effect plugin could act as the midi receiver on a MPE Master track, instead of the instrument
  • add support for manually adding and removing MPE Sub tracks
Unable to implement (lacking API functions or skill):
  • controlling of clips in Arranger
  • sub tracks clips looping parameters to follow master tracks clips changes
  • perfectly synced operation (without quantization)
  • automatic grouping of tracks
  • adding controls (e.g. buttons and context menu items) to Live's GUI

Contact:

If you encounter bugs, or would like to throw suggestions about new functionality, or altering the current, you can email me, juhodev att gmail.com.

Acknowledgments:

  • Ableton for providing the python API (and Live:)
  • Julien Bayle for his Live API -documentation
  • stufisher at github for LiveOSC2, which I found a great example.
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