Ableton Note: Ableton’s new iOS music creation app


Image credit: Ableton

Ableton entered the realm of iOS applications with Ableton Note after a long period of speculation.

With the popularity of Ableton Link and its great functionality for wireless synchronization between applications, computers and digital music equipment, it was only a matter of time before Ableton itself entered the field of music creation applications.

But Ableton Note is not a full mobile version of Ableton, so it may be an anticlimax for some dedicated Ableton users. But that doesn’t mean the app itself doesn’t look great!

Introducing Ableton Note

Ableton Note aims to generate ideas rather than creating complete songs. Although limited in this respect, Note is designed for users to quickly generate ideas on the go. However, Note looks and functions differently than its DAW counterpart.

While Note isn’t what many were hoping for, the app is built on many of the same Ableton devices speculators are familiar with.

Therefore, you can export ideas you create in the Note application as Live projects as editable MIDI clips and devices.

With Ableton Note, you can:

  1. Create clips and scenes with eight MIDI tracks

    Ableton Note uses the same workflow as Live Sets and can host up to eight MIDI tracks that run from left to right across the interface. There is a sound selection tab at the top of each track and below that are 8 clip slots.

    A button at the bottom of the app lets you bring up a stripped-down mixer with a level fader and mute and solo buttons for each track.

    You can trigger each clip individually or as scenes. You can make each clip up to 8 bars long, and you can also add, duplicate, move, and delete clips or entire scenes.

  2. Use many live instruments|

    The three categories of sounds in Note are Drum Kits, Synth Presets, and Sampler Instruments based on the Drum Racks, Wavetable, and Simple Devices you’ll find in Ableton Live. After exporting to Live, the project will open the full versions of these devices.

    And each preset has two send effects like Delay, Reverb and Saturator which are also based on live devices.

    Eight macro commands let you tweak settings, but macro assignment changes depending on the preset you’re using.

  3. Sample with your iPhone or a compatible microphone

    You can use Note to sample audio that you capture with your device’s microphone or a compatible Lightning/USB-C connector microphone. Also note that the start point is automatically cropped to the first transient!

    You can load this audio into the pad slots of its drum kits or into a standalone sampler instrument, but you cannot record the audio directly into clips.

    And you can import samples from your computer, and if you are an iMac user, you can also stream sounds from Mac.

  4. Automate your settings

    Note lets you record automation to any of its instrument or effect macros. After playing, adjust your setting and it will be saved as an automation.

    A MIDI Capture-like button lets you choose whether or not to record automation. Additionally, you can select any macro that has automation and remove or disable it at any time.

Don’t forget to watch the video for all the details!

Other features include the ability to shift notes, adjust their velocity, and quantize them as well. However, you cannot work with MIDI controllers or import projects into the Note application.

Again, Ableton Note is a sketchbook for creating ideas. It is not a mobile DAW capable of hosting complex arrangements. However, Ableton says it has new features planned for future implementation.

To export your projects from NOTE to Live, simply enable Ableton Cloud in Note and Live’s settings. Then your downloaded projects will automatically appear in the Live!

However, you can use Note as a standalone app without Live. Although it’s not a full-featured DAW, it seems like a great, affordable beat-making app. But you’ll need an Ableton account and Live 11.2.5 or later if you want to integrate your Note projects into Live.


You can download Ableton Note now for just $5.99.

Unfortunately, Note is compatible with iOS devices supporting iOS 15+ and is only available for iPhones and iPads.

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