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Python remote control of Ableton Live

Project description


PyLive is a framework for querying and controlling Ableton Live from a standalone Python script, mediated via Open Sound Control. It is effectively an interface to the Live Control Surfaces paradigm, which means it can do anything that a hardware control surface can do, including:

  • query and modify global parameters such as tempo, volume, pan, quantize, arrangement time
  • query and modify properties of tracks, clips, scenes and devices
  • trigger and stop clips and scenes

It can perform most of the operations described in the LiveOSC OSC API.



From PyPi:

pip install pylive

Via git:

git clone
cd pylive
python install

To check that pylive is communicating successfully with Ableton Live, try running one of the examples, or run the test suite with:

python test


# Basic example of pylive usage: scan a Live set, trigger a clip,
# and modulate some device parameters.
import live
import random

# Scan the set's contents and set its tempo to 110bpm.
set = live.Set()
set.scan(scan_clip_names = True, scan_devices = True)
set.tempo = 110.0

# Each Set contains a list of Track objects.
track = set.tracks[0]
print("Track name %s" %

# Each Track contains a list of Clip objects.
clip = track.clips[0]
print("Clip name %s, length %d beats" % (, clip.length))

# We can determine our internal timing based on Live's timeline using
# Set.wait_for_next_beat(), and trigger clips accordingly.

# Now let's modulate the parameters of a Device object.
device = track.devices[0]
parameter = random.choice(device.parameters)
parameter.value = random.uniform(parameter.minimum, parameter.maximum)


To begin interacting with an Ableton Live set, the typical workflow is as follows. Live should normally be running on localhost, with LiveOSC enabled as a Control Surface.

  • Create a live.Set object.
  • Call set.scan(), which queries Live for an index of tracks, clip statuses, and (optionally) clip names and devices
  • Interact with Live by setting and getting properties on your Set:
    • set.tempo, set.time, set.overdub are global Set properties
    • set.tracks is a list of Track objects
    • set.tracks[N].name, set.tracks[N].mute, are Track properties
    • set.tracks[N].clips is a list of Clip objects (with empty slots containing None)
    • set.tracks[N].devices is a list of Device objects
    • set.tracks[N].devices[M].parameters is a list of Parameter objects

Getters and setters use Python's @property idiom, meaning that accessing set.tempo will query or update your Live set.

If you know that no other processes will interact with Live, set set.caching = True to cache properties such as tempo. This will query the Live set on the first instance, and subsequently return locally-stored values.

For further help, see pydoc live.


  • Set: Represents a single Ableton Live set in its entirety.
  • Track: A single Live track object. Contains Device and Clip objects. May be a member of a Group.
  • Group: A grouped set of one or more Track objects.
  • Device: An instrument or audio effect residing within a Track. Contains a number of Parameter objects.
  • Parameter: An individual control parameter of a Device, with a fixed range and variable value.


Note that pylive is not intended for sending MIDI note events or control messages to a set. For MIDI controls, use a separate module such as mido.

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