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How do I make an instrument with a Makey Makey and Ableton Live? 

To design an instrument with a Makey Makey, you will want to use a music application. There are many different ways to do this. 

Think About:

  • How can I design an instrument or interface using the Makey Makey?
  • How can I use Ableton Live with a Makey Makey to make an instrument?

Note: This approach is a bit more advanced. So, you might want to try out some of the other options first before trying this one.

Get Started

Use the Makey Makey with Ableton Live

  1. Follow the suggestions in the following video clip to use Makey Makey with Ableton Live:
  • The following clip is very clear and outlines how the Makey Makey works and how to set it up from 0:00 – 4:48 
  • At 4:48 the video demonstrates how to use keyboard mapping function of Ableton to map Ableton to computer keyboard letters, which the Makey Makey could trigger.

  1. Check out the following video on key mapping and midi mapping in Ableton Live to learn more about some of the specific aspects addressed in the Makey Makey and Ableton video you just watched. 

  • From 0:56 – 3:00 the video shares information on key mapping and issues you might encounter 
  • The video also covers how to insert a MIDI effects randomizer
    • NOTE: Make sure you make a midi clip in a blank cell by double clicking
    • 2:33 – 8:16 = how to work with the MIDI scale effect (the example is if you are creating music with the piano roll editor but the concept still applies for using with a Makey Makey)
  • 8:20 = discussion of the random MIDI effect


  • In this video, the person creates a pattern in the MIDI clip
  • If you want the Makey Makey to trigger a pattern being played use this approach
  • If you or the person playing the Makey Makey want to create your/their own rhythms/content, include one short or long duration in the MIDI clip rather than an entire pre-set pattern 
  1. Once you have your instrument with Makey Makey and Ableton Live set up, try making some music

Next Steps

Curious about learning more? 

Go Further! Explore ways you can go even further creating instruments with the Makey Makey 


Move On

Return to the mini-playlist: How do I make an instrument with a Makey Makey and music application to share what you learned.