Learn Python through Music with Ableton Live

person icon Jor Van Der Poel

Learn Python through Music with Ableton Live

Explore the Ableton API, Create music from Data, Send CC data with your webcam, make a MIDI remote script, and much more

updated on icon Updated on Nov, 2023

language icon Language - English

person icon Jor Van Der Poel

architecture icon Programming Languages,Python,Music Production

Lectures -56

Duration -12.5 hours


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Course Description

Welcome to the 'Learning Python with Ableton' course!
In this course I will teach you how to develop in Python without the need of any prior programming knowledge.
We start with the absolute basics, but within the framework of a highly practical approach. What this means is that you'll start to work on useful musical projects right away! Because of this you get to explore and practice with the language syntax without having to go through boring exercises. At the end of the course you'll be very familiar with Python and you should be able to take on any projects, even when they're not related to making music or controlling Ableton! On top of that, you'll gain in-depth knowledge about the Ableton API, how MIDI works, and how you can create music and control musical parameters via code.

The course is divided into multiple sections, in the first part we will set up our development environment. Here you learn how to install an IDE, the basics of MIDI and some other important knowledge to get started.
In the next section we start writing our first Python program, which will already be useful and fun! You learn how functions work, how to send musical events to Ableton, we create a complete song by using Datasets and we'll even learn how to capture Webcam input to send Notes and CC data to Ableton or any other Application.

After that, we dive into the mighty Ableton API...
In this third section we will explore the LOM (Live Object Model) and we start to get an idea about OOP (Object Oriented Programming). Getting to know Ableton from a developers perspective will allow you to interact with all aspects of the program, the Mixer, the Clips, the Devices and pretty much everything which you can see in the Ableton UI (and even some features hidden to 'regular' users). We will write our first class and make some useful programs to speed up your workflow in Ableton and to come up with new creative ideas.

Lastly, we dive into MIDI Remote Scripts, this has been a highly requested section of the course, filled with information never before exposed or documented. This section of the course is the result of working with Remote Scripts and the Ableton Framework for more than 10 years and it will show you how to make a script for your MIDI controller, making it useful for the way you work in Ableton or for your specific Live Performance setup. After this section you don't have to rely anymore on Third party scripts, you can make your controller exactly fit your needs.

I guarantee you that after this course you will be very comfortable with Python and you are able to think about and develop your own (creative) projects. You will also become a true Ableton Live guru with in-depth knowledge about the program itself and how all its components interact. You will end up with a whole set of scripts & tools that are unique to the way you work!
On top of that you will be well on your way to getting hired as a Python developer, even if that's something you don't desire ;)

Please feel free to checkout some of the Free Lessons or ask my any questions!
Happy {coding with [Ableton]} !

Programming Topics

  • Loops

  • Math & Matplotlib

  • SciPy

  • Functions & Classes

  • Datasets

  • Multithreading

  • Numpy

  • Object Oriented Programming (OOP)

  • Plotting

  • Waveforms

  • Mediapipe

  • Open CV

  • Terminal

  • Servers

  • Clients

  • Sockets

  • Dictionaries & Other data types

  • OSC

  • Randomization

  • Context Managers

  • Error Handling

  • Graphs

  • Algorithms

  • And much more..


What will you learn in this course:

  • Learn how to Control Ableton with Python
  • Learn programming in a fun interactive way
  • Learn Python Syntax
  • Get to know Multiprocessing and Multithreading
  • Get familiar with the Ableton API
  • Create Remote scripts for your own MIDI controller
  • Learn how to tackle real world projects
  • Practice Sonification (using Data to make Music)
  • Get familiar with Sockets, Servers and Clients
  • Gain a bigger understanding about MIDI and OSC
  • Learn the basics of OOP (Object Oriented Programming)
  • Get familiar with various important Python Modules (Pandas, OpenCV, socket, multiprocessing)


What are the prerequisites for this course?

  • No programming experience needed, we will start with the absolute basics
  • Ableton (v11 is preferred although you can follow most of the content with earlier versions as well)

Learn Python through Music with Ableton Live


Check out the detailed breakdown of what’s inside the course

Course Introduction
1 Lectures
  • play icon Course Introduction 04:07 04:07
A - Getting Started
5 Lectures
B - Python & MIDI
21 Lectures
C - The Ableton API
16 Lectures
D - Remote Scripts
13 Lectures

Instructor Details

Jor van der Poel

Jor van der Poel

Sound Designer (Loopmasters, Camel Audio, ADSR sounds, SoundFreqs), Music Production Instructor (Pyramind), Grade C certified music teacher

My name is Jor van der Poel, I was born in the Netherlands and lived in Vancouver, BC for years. Currently I am living in Berlin, which proves to be a great playground for the experimental minded (i.e. Mad Scientists).

I am a music producer, composer, teacher and sound designer. I am certified in both music theory and sound design education. When I was younger I wanted to be a famous drummer, which resulted in me practicing for a ridiculous amount of hours per day, which eventually got me into music education and my first job as a music teacher. This introduced me to a whole new world of music, and I realised that if I knew how to record and arrange I could be my own band. So I started practicing piano and guitar, both classical and jazz and learned how to record this to use in my music.

Besides acoustic music, I also love the extreme flexibility of synthetic sounds which made me want to learn about sound design, mixing and mastering. I spend a few years practicing this 8 hours a day, I got pretty good at it and 7 years ago I started making weekly sound design videos for the online community ADSR. This introduced me to a lot of people in the music industry, and taught me more about educating others. It also got me on the Sound-Design team of various Software Developers and a position as a featured mentor for Pyramind, CA.

I am a co-founder of Sound-Freqs, a sound-design label that focuses on community and the owner of Subject Sound, an online school for Sound Design, Production & Music Theory.
I also create music under the alias Jorgalad

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Riccardo Destratis

The rtmidi package seemed to change, it does not work anymore even though I have installed the same version. There is no midiconstant, that is only available in the package python-rtmidi but that does not have CONTROL CHANGE. Hard to follow like that

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