Control Surface Hacking with Live’s API / July 14th

Learn to program M4L devices that integrate with control surfaces such as Novation Launchpad.

Course Instructor: Mark Towers

Course level

Music Hackspace

Starts on: 14/07/2022 16:00 BST

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Thursday 14th July at 4pm UK, 5pm Berlin, 8am LA, 11am NYC

Duration: 2 hours

This workshop is live, and a recording will be made available on-demand a few days after the live date. 

The student must complete the prerequisite (Build Max for Live devices using Ableton Live’s API, Session 1 & 2) before joining the live workshop of Control Surface Hacking with Live’s API.

In this workshop you will build your own M4L device that integrates with and hacks the Novation Launchpad. This workshop aims to develop your skills and understanding of Ableton Live’s API and how control surfaces can be reprogrammed.

You will explore concepts and techniques associated with Ableton Live’s API and the Live Object Model (LOM) to repurpose an Ableton Live supported control surface into a fully customised and interactive controller for a Max for Live device. Expand your knowledge and use of the Live API and the LOM within the M4L development environment, which can be leveraged by M4L developers to enhance their practice and provide unprecedented control of Live


What you'll learn

  • Recall LOM/API principles.
  • Catalog and select a control surface for hacking/takeover.
  • Analyse available controls and test what data can be sent and received.
  • Create a device that takes over a Launchpad and repurposes it as a custom controller for MIDI or effects.
  • Customise colours and interactive features of control surface.


  • A computer and internet connection
  • A web cam and mic
  • A Zoom account
  • Access to a copy of Max 8 (i.e. trial or full license)

Course content

  • ---- Prerequisite before joining the live workshop
  • ---- Session 1 file to download
  • ---- Session 1 presentation slides
  • ---- Lesson 1 - LOM (Start)
  • ---- Lesson 2 - LOM Part 1 (Intro to LOM)
  • ---- Lesson 3 - LOM Part 2 (Object Paths)
  • ---- Lesson 4 - LOM Part 3 (Getting Properties)
  • ---- Lesson 5 - LOM Part 4 (Changing Properties)
  • ---- Lesson 6 - LOM (End)
  • ---- Session 2 download files
  • ---- Session 2 presentation slides
  • ---- LOM - Lesson 1 - (Start)
  • ---- LOM - Lesson 2 - (LOM Recall)
  • ---- LOM - Lesson 3 - (Observing Live)
  • ---- LOM - Lesson 4 - (Device Parameters)
  • ---- LOM - Lesson 5 - (Mapping & Controlling)
  • ---- LOM - Lesson 6 - (End)
  • ---- Control Surface Hacking with Live’s API / Jul 14, 2022 04:00 PM London
  • ---- Open the course in Zoom to access all the features

Who is this course for

  • Advanced Live and Max users
  • Artists looking to customise their Novation Launchpad
  • Max users building Max for Live devices
  • Developers curious about the Live API

Useful links

Download Max | Cycling '74 (

About the workshop leader

Mark Towers is an Ableton Certified Trainer and a lecturer in music technology at Leicester College. He specialises in Max for Live, as well as working with Isotonik Studios to create unique and creative devices for music production and performance such as the Arcade Series.