Composing with rules instead of playing notes directly, composer Richard Garrett has built a series of generative, algorithmic, ambient note makers and processors in Ableton Live and the Max for Live add-on. (And yes, user-generated content continues to be a rationale for why many people would purchase Max for Live in addition to Live itself.)

With loads of useful controls for duration, start, and voicing – and the ability to feed events into anything you like – the results in your own work could sound very different than what you see hear. But whatever your musical aspirations, you can check out the work in action in a demo video (top) and tutorial on how to work with the interface (bottom). And – provided you own Max for Live – it’s all free.

In another interesting twist, this isn’t necessarily just for making self-generating music. The event generator also has an input, so it could accompany live playing or otherwise respond to events.

Here’s how creator Richard describes the work:

I just thought I’d let you know about nwdlbots, my suite of algorithmic (generative) devices for the composition of music within Ableton Live. They include event generators, pitch and velocity selectors and control devices for interaction with each other and with other MIDI tracks and input devices.

As well as generating events at random, nwdlbots can respond to activity on other MIDI tracks in Live, or to input from a MIDI instrument. In effect, nwdlbots control the density of a piece by reducing their activity when things get too busy. They also have some rudimentary ideas about harmony and can follow a chord sequence.

The first set of nwdlbots are available for free download at Also on the site: documentation and videos

By the way, this and many other conversations are now happening on LinkedIn:
Ableton Live Users @ LinkedIn [invite group]

nwdlbots (“noodlebots”), free download at Sunday Dance Music

“Noodling” sounds like a great description – and I know many of us musicians do enjoy a good noodle.