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README.md

Ableton.js

Current Version

Ableton.js lets you control your instance or instances of Ableton using Node.js. It tries to cover as many functions as possible.

This package is still a work-in-progress. My goal is to expose all of Ableton's MIDI Remote Script functions to TypeScript. If you'd like to contribute, please feel free to do so.

Prerequisites

To use this library, you'll need to install and activate the MIDI Remote Script in Ableton.js. To do that, copy the midi-script folder of this repo to Ableton's Remote Scripts folder. If you prefer, you can rename it to something like AbletonJS for better identification. The MIDI Remote Scripts folder is usually located at:

  • Windows: {path to Ableton}\Resources\MIDI\Remote Scripts
  • macOS: /Applications/Ableton Live {version}/Contents/App-Resources/MIDI Remote Scripts

After starting Ableton Live, add the script to your list of control surfaces:

Ableton Live Settings

If you've forked this project on macOS, you can also use yarn to do that for you. Running yarn ableton:start will copy the midi-script folder, open Ableton and show a stream of log messages until you kill it.

Using Ableton.js

This library exposes an Ableton class which lets you control the entire application. You can instanciate it once and use TS to explore available features.

Example:

import { Ableton } from "ableton-js";

const ableton = new Ableton();

const test = async () => {
  ableton.song.addListener("is_playing", p => console.log("Playing:", p));
  ableton.song.addListener("tempo", t => console.log("Tempo:", t));

  const cues = await ableton.get("cue_points");
  console.log(cues.map(c => c.raw));
};

test();

Protocol

Ableton.js uses UDP to communicate with the MIDI Script. Each message is a JSON object containing required data and a UUID so request and response can be associated with each other.

Commands

A command payload consists of the following properties:

{
  "uuid": "a20f25a0-83e2-11e9-bbe1-bd3a580ef903", // A unique command id
  "ns": "song", // The command namespace
  "nsid": null, // The namespace id, for example to address a specific track or device
  "name": "get_prop", // Command name
  "args": { "prop": "current_song_time" } // Command arguments
}

The MIDI Script answers with a JSON object looking like this:

{
  "data": 0.0, // The command's return value, can be of any JSON-compatible type
  "event": "result", // This can be 'result' or 'error'
  "uuid": "a20f25a0-83e2-11e9-bbe1-bd3a580ef903"
}

Events

To attach an event listener to a specific property, the client sends a command object:

{
  "uuid": "922d54d0-83e3-11e9-ba7c-917478f8b91b", // A unique command id
  "ns": "song", // The command namespace
  "name": "add_listener", // The command to add an event listener
  "args": {
    "prop": "current_song_time", // The property that should be watched
    "eventId": "922d2dc0-83e3-11e9-ba7c-917478f8b91b" // A unique event id
  }
}

The MIDI Script answers with a JSON object looking like this to confirm that the listener has been attached:

{
  "data": "922d2dc0-83e3-11e9-ba7c-917478f8b91b", // The unique event id
  "event": "result", // Should be result, is error when something goes wrong
  "uuid": "922d54d0-83e3-11e9-ba7c-917478f8b91b" // The unique command id
}

From now on, when the observed property changes, the MIDI Script sends an event object:

{
  "data": 68.0, // The new value, can be any JSON-compatible type
  "event": "922d2dc0-83e3-11e9-ba7c-917478f8b91b", // The event id
  "uuid": null // Is always null and may be removed in future versions
}

Note that for some values, this event is emitted multiple times per second. 20-30 updates per second are not unusual.

Connection Events

The MIDI Script sends events when it starts and when it shuts down. These look like this:

{
  "data": null, // Is always null
  "event": "connect", // Can be connect or disconnect
  "uuid": null // Is always null and may be removed in future versions
}

When you open a new Project in Ableton, the script will shut down and start again.

When Ableton.js receives a disconnect event, it clears all current event listeners and pending commands. It is usually a good idea to attach all event listeners and get properties each time the connect event is emitted.

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