Forums > Max For Live

Making Live.button behave as momentary

December 19, 2009 | 8:51 am


I’d like to use a midi note or cc to press a Live.button. Currently it takes one press to turn it on and one to turn it off. Is there a way to have it listen to on/off commands and behave like a mouse click does?


December 19, 2009 | 11:40 am

To clarify, I have created the Live.button and am using the MIDI learn function in Ableton to map to my controller. The controller is sending this data:

04:37:14.996 From Plug 1 Note On 5 22 100 < -- button lights up
04:37:15.689 From Plug 1 Note Off 5 22 0
04:37:16.915 From Plug 1 Note On 5 22 100 < -- button turns off
04:37:17.576 From Plug 1 Note Off 5 22 0

December 19, 2009 | 9:37 pm

This is really driving me insane and could ruin my weekend ;) Anyone?

From the documentation, it seems that the button should never stay on – it should just flash for the specified ms time.

December 20, 2009 | 2:13 am

At this time there’s no way of doing that with MIDI/key assignment, because we don’t have a trigger mode. We already have this in our feature request list.

December 20, 2009 | 2:47 am

Thanks for your reply.
So how does the button work properly with mapping? Am I missing something?
Should I be using another object?

December 30, 2009 | 9:25 pm

I’m sorry, but I’m still wondering about this – is there no way to map a ‘button-like’ control through the ableton UI? Otherwise I have to hard code all my mappings.

December 30, 2009 | 11:56 pm

Trigger mode is not supported at this time. This is on our list of things that we want to support, but I can’t tell you when or if it’s going to be available. In the meantime, you can still fake it using a pattr object (if you want to automatize it) and some select object.

December 31, 2009 | 5:41 am

Thanks very much – I’ll look forward to that!

January 1, 2010 | 1:41 pm

I hope I understand correctly

I think you can do this with a Max messagebox containing "bang" cross wired back to the input of the Live buttton. It doesn’t go into an on/off loop, it just fires the once and re-sets the button back to off. It’s quite cool. I have this working in a patch for re-setting track sends that I’ll be posting up on soon.



January 7, 2010 | 2:14 pm

I’d like to see that, i’ve never used a pattr before and the APC40 has it claims momentary buttons for stop clips but when you map them they become toggles which i can’t seem to change with M4L….. Help anyone?


January 7, 2010 | 9:34 pm

All I have been able to get is more of a one shot button, not really momentary. I am still on the hunt for a solution to this one.

I dont quite grasp how to make pattr object "fake it"

January 8, 2010 | 11:22 am

I’ve got it working with the APC as if you observe what state a button is in it will tell you with a 1 when it’s pressed down and 0 when you release it….

Can’t do it with midi mapping though only through the control_surface live path….


January 8, 2010 | 3:19 pm

I saw someones patch on the Ableton forums that is using this method to make the Solo’s momentary, is that a correct comparison to what you are talking about?

January 8, 2010 | 8:43 pm

No in that version he’s calling a set call to the live api, the buttons on the apc when in ableton mode 1 are momentary so you just need to observe there state, this can then be tapped to give you momentary control….

Have a look at Mike Chenetz’s launchpad tutorial patches and you’ll see how to observe them, then you simply connect the output to a live.text button and then to a toggle….


September 29, 2010 | 2:00 am

So I’ve been having a problem where if I press a live.button too many times, too quickly it starts acting like a toggle instead of a momentary. I’ve been substituting live.button for live.numbox. When you map it, it acts the same as live.button no matter how fast you press it.

It looks stupid, but im only making utility type things for myself, so it doesn’t bother me too much. I know I could always hardwire it, but… meh.. Lookin forward to that being fixed though.

December 29, 2013 | 3:53 am

I was looking for a similar solution, and I have found a fantastic one.
I can now assign a button to a shift function in Ableton (without MIDI Learn), which sets all incoming button messages from my controller to momentary as long as the shift button is active.

M4L cannot access external MIDI ports by default, there is however a way to set up a patch that hijacks incoming MIDI messages from any port before they reach Ableton Live (and the custom MIDI assignments within it!!) — the patch and further file installation instructions are to be found here:
This basically allows for reshaping incoming MIDI messages before they actually reach Ableton and transform them before they go back to the controller in use. Bombastic.

in order to set any button’s messages to momentary alignment, one has to merely unpack the incoming MIDI message and pack it again after setting the incoming velocity to 64, this way a toggle function of a Live button will get a switch message again when the button is released (its 0 message is turned to a 64 message).
The incorporation of a shift button additionally allows gated routing and choice between momentary function and the usual toggle mode. Hijacking the outgoing MIDI message from Ableton then again enables individual LED feedback, i.e. blinking red when pressed etc.

very revealing and utterly practical. Best of luck!

May 20, 2014 | 12:20 am

Solved! However, I am very disappointed that Ableton still hasn’t delivered on the promise to support trigger mode…

— Pasted Max Patch, click to expand. —
May 26, 2014 | 1:29 pm

@kflak this doesn’t work if you try to record and play an automation for the momentary button. the second bang is interpreted as an input that breaks the playing automation.

May 26, 2014 | 1:34 pm

@11olsen: Suspected that it might mess up stuff, indeed…. Filthy code…Thanks for pointing it out!

May 26, 2014 | 1:39 pm

In the meantime, you can still fake it using a pattr object (if you want to automatize it) and some select object.

@Emmanuel Jourdan Yes, I want to automatize it. Can go into greater detail please ? Since this was on your list 2009, i guess it isn’t anymore.

May 27, 2014 | 5:25 am

i noticed this problem also with vsts. i cannot automate certain momentary buttons of vst plug-ins in Live without breaking the automation. I’m so sick of finding this kind of absurd limitations under the surface..

May 27, 2014 | 12:14 pm

On the other hand the limitations force us to become great workarounders. I added a button to my device to switch off the momentary mode in case a automation is played back. Because the "second bang" method seems to be working good except the automation..
And automation of the momentary button of a vst now also works after routing it to a macro.

May 18, 2015 | 10:29 pm

Momentary can be achieved it seems only by using a CC and not a midi note. For the launchpad it looks like this is possible with automap, for the apc40 you need to make a patch in max proper before live to hijack the notes. It’s a real bitch I know

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