Ableton Live: Working with Scenes


Learn how to use scenes in Ableton Live to capture musical ideas, sketch out a song structure, and record an arrangement.

In this video, Chris Gibson takes you into Ableton Live and introduces a technique used to record a song arrangement from captured scenes in Live’s Session View. Learn how to capture and organize clips into scenes, sketch out song structure variations, and record those ideas into the Arrangement View.

Working with Scenes

Live’s unique Session View provides an environment where you can improvise and quickly experiment with musical ideas. Designed for performance, the Session View gives you the freedom to mix and match musical ideas without the constraints of a timeline. Quickly sketch out song ideas, experiment with clip combinations, and make edits on-the-fly without ever stopping the music.

The horizontal rows in Live’s Session View are called scenes. This feature allows you to launch multiple clips within a scene simultaneously. Additionally, scenes are very useful for sketching out rough arrangement ideas and organizing various song parts for live performances.

When sketching ideas in Session View, you may have several clips triggered across multiple scenes. Live offers a great feature that collects and organizes those active clips into a new scene. The best way to achieve this is with the Capture and Insert Scene command.

The Capture and Insert Scene command places copies of the running clips into a new scene. This command is extremely helpful when developing ideas or capturing an interesting moment on-the-fly.

Once you have developed a series of scenes, you can record them into the Arrangement View. Record your ideas by activating the Arrangement Record Button and then launching each scene using the Scene Launch buttons located along the Master track. This improvisational approach offers an alternative way to compose songs and scores.

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