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Connecting your Ableton Push 2 to Melodics keys lessons
Connecting your Ableton Push 2 to Melodics keys lessons

Ever wanted to play keys on your Ableton Push in Melodics? It’s possible, and here’s how you can do it.

Rhys avatar
Written by Rhys
Updated over a week ago

Important: this setup is designed for Push 2. Push 3 compatibility is yet to be confirmed.

The isomorphic keyboard.

Playing chords and scales on a traditional keyboard is complicated. The black keys are positioned behind the white keys, and the pitch intervals between each key are not always the same. That means you must learn different fingering for each of the 12 musical keys. Modern isomorphic instruments don’t have this problem. Playing a chord will use the same finger placements regardless of what key you’re in.

Ableton Push 2

Isomorphic: adjective—being of identical or similar form, shape, or structure.

We can use what we call a fourths string layout to create an isomorphic keyboard layout on a pad controller. This layout is very similar to a bass guitar tuning, where the intervals between adjacent notes are always a semitone. Like any stringed instrument, it has multiple instances of the same note on different rows. That makes it easy to play the same chords in different areas of the playing surface. You can also choose between multiple ways to finger a chord or scale, just like on a guitar.

This is the default note arrangement for Ableton Push, ROLI LightPad Block, Novation Launchpad, the onscreen keyboard in Bitwig Studio, and more. It’s fast becoming the new standard note arrangement for electronic instruments for its versatility, simplicity, and intuitiveness.

How to use an isomorphic layout with Ableton Push in Melodics.

Warning: this is an advanced guide, not for beginners! Please follow steps carefully.

The Push uses an isomorphic layout by default in ‘note mode’. This layout is only available while Live software is running. As soon as you close Live, the Push reverts back to the default pad layout and pad lighting turns off. Therefore to get ‘note mode’ working with Melodics, we’ll need an instance of Live and Melodics open at the same time.


1. Set up chromatic note mode on your Push 2.

Load a new Live set in Live and choose a blank MIDI track. Press the ‘scale’ button to change the selected key and/or scale.

In Key

You’ll see in the bottom left corner that ‘in key’ mode is selected by default. This means the pads will only play notes within the chosen scale. When using your Push 2 with Melodics keys lessons, change from ‘in key’ to ‘chromatic’ mode using the lower-left display button. You will now be able to play all notes regardless of scale.

For Push 1 users: these settings are on the right-hand side. Press the ‘scales’ button and then press the lower-right display button to switch from ‘in key’ mode to ‘chromatic’.

2. Set up a virtual MIDI bus.

It is necessary to run Live to use note mode. Because Live is running, your Push will not be able to map to Melodics properly. Therefore we need to route MIDI out of Live and into Melodics to play Melodics lessons.


You can send MIDI between applications on MacOS by setting up a virtual MIDI bus. Here’s how:

  1. Open Audio MIDI Setup.

  2. Click ‘window’ and ‘show MIDI Studio’.

  3. Double click ‘IAC driver’.

  4. Tick the ‘device is online’ box.

    Do not change the name of the IAC driver or the Ports. If no port exists, create a new one using the + button and name it Bus 1.



Windows computers don't provide an in-built solution as standard, but there is a great freeware utility: loopMIDI which allows you to set up a virtual MIDI bus on Windows computers. Here’s how:

  1. Download and install loopMIDI.

  2. Open loopMIDI, and click the ‘+’ button to create a new MIDI port. By default, the name will be ‘loopMIDI Port’. Do not change this—the name of your MIDI port must be ‘loopMIDI Port’.

3. Ableton Live MIDI settings.

In Live, open link/MIDI preferences. For Live’s tracks to send MIDI to a specific MIDI port, the corresponding output switch in the ‘track’ column must be set to ‘on’.

Ableton settings

For MacOS users, select ‘on’ for ‘Output: IAC Driver (Bus 1)’. For Windows users, select ‘on’ for ‘Output: loopMIDI Port’. You must leave the ‘Input’ option for these MIDI ports ‘off’. Only the ‘Output’ option should be ‘on’, otherwise you will get a feedback loop.

Next, in Session View on your blank MIDI track, select the IAC Driver or loopMIDI port in the ‘MIDI to’ menu in your track I/O settings. Remember, make sure this is a blank MIDI track with no instrument loaded.

Session view

4. Load the custom Melodics mapping.

Now that Live is sending MIDI to your virtual MIDI bus, you will need to download a custom mapping so that Melodics can also connect to the virtual MIDI bus. Download the virtual MIDI bus mapping here. Copy this file into the Melodics ‘devices’ folder on your computer. You can find that folder in the following location:


  1. In Finder, click on Go from the menu while holding down the alt/option key.

  2. Click Library. (Be careful here, don’t go randomly deleting stuff.)

  3. Browse to Application Support/Melodics/Melodics/devices.


  1. Open Explorer (the windows application for browsing folders, open any folder to get to this).

  2. Type %localappdata%\Melodics in the address bar on the top of the screen and press enter.

  3. From there, select the folder 'Melodics' and then 'devices'.

After copying the mapping file to that folder location, relaunch Melodics and select ‘keys’ as your instrument. In settings, select the ‘virtual MIDI bus’ mapping from the ‘selected device’ dropdown menu.

That’s it! You are now set up to play Melodics keys on your Push. Load up any lesson and start practicing keys on your pads.

Note: if you are experiencing latency, try reducing the ‘buffer size’ in Live’s audio preferences.

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