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Key Arranger by XY Studio Tools

Arrange your clips in real time with your Midi Keyboard


Key Arranger is a Max for Live device for arranging songs in Live’s Arranging view just by pressing keys on a Midi Keyboard. The Key Arranger workflow makes it easy to try out different combinations of parts and progress at your own pace. In that way, it merges the intuitive experience of the Session View with the linear workflow of the Arrangement View.
User Guide:

Key Arranger Manual

Developer: XY StudioTools
Compatibility: Ableton Live 11 Suite or Ableton Live 11 Standard with MaxforLive
OS: Mac (Sierra and later) & Windows 10+
Min. Requirements: Ableton Live 11 Suite or Ableton Live 11 Standard with MaxforLive 8 – Minimum 8GB RAM, recommended 8GB+


Key Arranger is a MaxforLive Device designed for situations when you’d like to arrange in Live’s Arrangement View. The tool combines the intuitive qualities that you normally only get in the Session View with the linear workflow of the Arrangement View.

Key Arranger lets you try out and create sections solely by pressing keys on your keyboard. While it is already possible in Live to map clips to Midi controller keys, the Key Arranger workflow makes it easier to try out different combinations and progress at your own pace.

How it works

When adding the Key Arranger to Live, your clips will be mapped to keys on your controller. Next, select a section length of your choice and enable your clips for arrangement in the Arrangement View. Midi clips as well as audio clips of any length can be used.

By pressing keys on your keyboard your clips will unmute or mute. This makes it possible to quickly hear how different parts sound together, and what it sounds like if you add or remove parts to what is currently playing.

When you have a combination that you want to keep, use a dedicated key on the keyboard to keep the section and get a duplicate to work with in the following section.

Note that the Key Arranger is not a performance tool, since it does not launch clips in a quantized manner like you can in Live’s Session View. It is a tool that uses the Live API to move, copy, mute and unmute clips as you press keys on your keyboard, making it useful for quickly creating arrangements. You’ll get the benefits of a linear workflow, as well as inspiration and speed.

Additional Features

With the Key Arranger you can sketch out a full arrangement just by using your keyboard and one function key. There are also additional features such as:

  • switch scenes
  • adapt section lengths
  • capture more detailed arrangements within your current section length
  • map a group of tracks to one key, and map individual sounds from a drum rack to separate keys

Basic Workflow

Hold some keys on your Midi Keyboard. When a key is held, the corresponding clip will unmute and you will hear the sound of the selected clips.

By trying different combinations of keys, you can quickly hear different alternatives for how the arrangement should start.

Whenever you hear a combination of clips that you want to keep, you have 2 options:

  • Option 1: Press and release the “Keep Section” key (C#)

This option keeps the playing clips, and you get a new copy of the current section. Live continues to the new section.

  • Option 2: Hold the “Keep Section” key (C#)

This option saves the playing clips and Live keeps looping the section.

When using this option, you can add more tracks by pressing new keys, (or mute clips if you press keys for clips that are currently playing). Hold the “Keep Section” key to save any changes, or press the “Keep Section” key to save and continue with a copy.

For both these options, the playing keys are “printed” so you no longer have to hold any keys on your Midi Keyboard


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Double Click on the .alp file provided as the download with Ableton Live open.


XY StudioTools

XY Studio Tools

XY StudioTools was founded in 2020 with the vision to introduce new workflows for digital music production. The focus is on enabling musicians to work faster, try out more ideas and achieve unexpected results, while making sure that the artist always stays in control over the final result and musical expression. This idea led to the development of Song Sketch, the first of its kind pattern-based arrangement tool.

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