Getting Started 5: Working with Session View

  • Live Versions: 8
  • Operating System: All


Learn how to work with Live's unique Session View for composition, live performance and DJing.


Understanding the Session View is essential to getting the most out of Live. In this tutorial, we’ll look at how the Session View can be used for idea creation, improvisation, Live performance or DJing.

This is the Session View:

Session View

If you aren’t seeing this screen, hit the TAB key.

You can think of the Session View as a palette for sound possibilities. These possibilities can be MIDI or audio loops, sound effects, one-shots or even whole songs. Session View isn’t a traditional sequencer, but more of a sketch pad for creative ideas or a performance tool.

In the Session View we can work with Clips , which are containers of audio or MIDI. You can create clips by dragging audio or MIDI files into the Session View from your Browser or by recording your own.

Every clip has its own Launch Button that starts the clip. You don’t have to be precise - by default, launched clips won’t start playing until the beginning of the next bar, and they’ll stay in sync.

Launching a clip stops a previously playing clip in the same track.

To stop a clip, click one of the square Clip Stop buttons on its track.

To stop all clips, click the Stop All Clips button at the bottom of the Master track.

If you want to simultaneously launch a whole row of clips, which is called a Scene, click one of the Scene Launch buttons in the Master track.

The Session View also offers Volume and Panning controls for each track, and if you want to add an effect to a track, it’s as easy as dragging the effect onto a track from Live's Device Browser.

Or, you can put an audio effect on a return track, and send the desired track’s audio signal to it.

Basically, the Session View is where you can play with musical ideas and stay creative, without worrying about song arrangement or linear time.

You now understand the basics of the Session View in Ableton Live.