Ableton Live gets a little help from a Tonearm. (Photo: lowfatbrains.)

My friend Ilia, aka Tonearm, has released his set of Windows XP-compatible shortcuts for Ableton Live. (Got to play out with Ilia last month and hope to do it again.) Ableton, if you’re listening, here’s another argument for more customization of the program.

Even if you’re not on XP, it’s worth having a look and even downloading the ZIP and readme for some inspiration as far as what could be possible with Live shortcuts.

Install the executable for Windows, and you get:

Keyboard assignments, including lots of handy shortcuts for manipulating clips on the fly, adjusting envelopes — everything you ought to be able to do. That includes changing gain, transposition, and BPM on the go (the last being especially nice)

  • Single-key shortcuts: Those shortcuts can be manipulated with one key. Where a modifier is used, it’s “shift” — so you can use caps lock and get one-key access to those, as well.
  • Mouse wheel and power zoom: Mouse wheel actions are contextual, so you can quickly scroll through the browser, session, plug-ins, etc.
  • Faster navigation on the timeline: left, right, page up, page down and shuttle around your timeline, and you can nudge clips left and right using the keyboard. “Sticky-click” mode makes it easier to grab and manipulate selections on the timeline.
  • Automation shortcuts
  • Multiple takes
  • Instant samplers: Grab a clip or a section of a clip and with one shortcut create a MIDI track and Simpler with that sample.

Multiple takes, more flexible keyboard assignments, and more direct access to clips — Ilia’s implementation here is a bit idiosyncratic, and it only works on XP, but it definitely overlaps with some of my wishlist. Live 8, perhaps?

(Note: I disagree with Ilia about Live on Vista. I’ve found Live on Vista can work exactly like Live on XP; if your experience isn’t that under SP1, odds are poor drivers are the problem. Prior to the various hotfixes of the last year, rolled into SP1, that’s another story, though.)

Thanks to Ilia for sending this in, and Ronnie at Rekkerd for reminding me.