All for one and one track for all!
The KeySwitch & Expression Map is a Max for Live device for Ableton Live which provides you the possibility to switch in a single track easily between instruments, articulations or effects with your piano, MIDI controller or automation envelopes.
- Build your own customized key switches.
- Choose between 9, 18 or 27 key switches. Easy to create and individually nameable.
- You can control the key switches with your piano, MIDI controller or computer MIDI keyboard.
- Use Ableton Live’s automation envelopes for comfortable expression mapping in the arrangement view.
- Control remotely presets or sound banks from keyboards and synthesizers with MIDI CC, Bank, Sub and Pgm.
- The device supports ready-made key switches provided by your VST plug-in.
- Change on the fly between manual key switching and automation.
- Automatic or completely customized fill-out options.
- Display additionally the pitch range of your instrument.
- The design perfectly integrates into the interface of Ableton Live 10 and offers a great visual feedback on the current settings.
- No noticeable effect on your computer’s CPU.
Max For Live is part of the Ableton Live Suite.
If you use Ableton Live Standard you might have to buy an add-on license to use this device.
Ableton Live Lite and Intro do not support Max For Live!
Please find more information here:
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If you are a pupil, student or you have a small budget, please click here.
“Automate your articulations in orchestral compositions with Ableton Live’s envelopes and improve your workflow to gain time for creativity!”
The set-up of the device is not difficult and very straightforward. Please find below a short video tutorial or a detailed step-by-step manual. Basically, it works like this:
- Drag & drop an Ableton Live rack in a MIDI track, load instruments or effects in it and distribute their chain zones.
- Add the KeySwitch & Expression Map device, give names and pitches to your key switches and specify for each the chain value according to the defined chain zones in the rack.
- Map a macro dial to the chain select ruler and connect the new created dial named “chain selector” with the KeySwitch & Expression Map.
If you want to connect a ready-made key switch provided by your VST plug-in or to control remotely presets or sound banks of a single keyboard or sythesizer – it is even easier!
Only define control changes (CC), bank (CC 0, MSB), sub bank (CC 32, LSB, UACC) or program changes (Pgm) for your key switches, enter a name and choose which keys you want to use.
“Limited edition? Absolutely! Forget limited key switches in your VST and edit your own one.”
For a quick start, you can watch these video tutorials showing you quickly the set-up and basic features. In the next weeks will follow more videos. Stay up to date and subsribe to the YouTube channel if you like!
This video explains you quickly how to set up the KeySwitch & Expression Map in combination with an Ableton Live instrument rack or effect rack so that you can build own and completely customized key switches according to your specific needs.
Ableton offers a variety of Live Packs providing orchestral instruments which are implemented in a pre-configured multi-articulation rack. The video shows you how to easily connect these instruments and to draw their articulations with automation envelopes in the arrangement view using their names, or to control them with your MIDI controller and piano.
See first how to set up ready-made key switches of your VST plug-in. Afterwards, you will find some tips and tricks using automation envelopes for articulations. Finally, you can see the KeySwitch & Expression Map in action!
How to do the set-up in detail, you can find in a lovely designed step by step manual with a lot of illustrations, additional informations and some trouble shooting if needed. If you are in a hurry, check the quick start guide which shows you in an overview the basic set-up.
“You don’t have to know everything. You just have to know where to find it – all key switches are directly displayed on the piano interface!“
+ VAT (depending on your country)
If you are a pupil, student or you have a small budget, please click here.
I originally created this patch for own purposes, because I did not find any satisfying solution for Ableton Live to manage in a comfortable and clear way different articulations in a single track by playing key switches on a piano or using automation envelopes.
Many VST libraries sound awsome and offer you plenty of articulations that are sampled in great detail. Unfortunately, some of them provide only key switches with a few standard articulations or if at all, very limited options to customize them. Additionally, you can only automate them in your DAW by using anonymous notes or MIDI values which are hard to remember and change from library to library.
Therefore, the only solution to use the full potential of the library is oftentimes to create dozens of tracks with articulations of a single instrument, in which at some point you lose literally track or get a tendonitis from the constant scrolling through them;-)
Multi-Clip Editing in Live 10 is a great feature to edit numerous tracks simultaneously and has definitely helped to make composing in Ableton more straightforward. But it still didn’t allow me to work in the way that I had in my mind. I didn’t want to open midi clips and to push notes around just to try out how different articulations would sound in the arrangement.
The instrument racks, which are the basis of the KeySwitch & Expression Map, also offer a lot of possibilities. But can, or rather do I really want to learn the chain values for a whole orchestra with different articulations to know that I have to turn the macro control dial or chain selector between 10 and 18 to set the articulation Sforzando. Or that Tremolo starts at 67 and the Trills end at 112?
Finally, I had some time last year between two projects and decided spontaneously to build my own solution in Max for Live. Euphoric to have finally found my long awaited workflow for orchestral compositions, and encouraged by some enthusiastic musician friends, the idea came up to develop the device in such a way that it would be accessible to anyone else looking for a more natural feeling way to play or edit multiple articulations of an instrument in a single track.
So I tried to imagine what other Ableton users would like to have included in this kind of device. For example, I created the piano interface, added the “AutoFill” function for a quick and automatic distribution of the values, the option to protect the automation and the alternative to control keyswitches as well with the computer MIDI keyboard or a MIDI controller.
After the release in April I got a lot of nice and inspiring feedback from the first users and I decided to implement some new features. The version 2.0 includes now additionally the possibility to define control changes and program changes so that you can connect more easily ready-made keys switches provided by your VST plug-in. Like this, you can also control remotely the presets or sound banks of external instruments. Furthermore, the device allows you to draw automation envelopes for MIDI CCs directly in the arrangement view!
I hope that you will enjoy the patch as much as I do. With the risk that I may sound like a vacuum cleaner salesman now … it has made my workflow so much easier and faster that I cannot imagine working without it anymore. Especially, if you create templates from which you afterwards only need to drag & drop the wished instrument tracks into your new project.
If you have any ideas, wishes or questions, just write me a comment below or send me a message using the contact form. I am looking forward to your feedback!
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The software was developed with electricity from renewable energy sources.