Abstract Composition in Ableton and Max For Live – On demand

Level: Intermediate

Ableton and Cycling 74’s Max For Live offer a vast playground of programming opportunities to create unique compositions and rich sound designs. In this workshop you will create musical and sonic ideas using abstract techniques of composition. This workshop aims to provide you with suitable skills to begin exploring generative composition and complex sound design.

Session Learning Outcomes

By the end of this session a successful student will be able to:

  • Discuss the relevance of using generative processes in certain musical contexts.

  • Explore how we can use these processes to create musical ideas.

  • Look at ways to capture these ideas to use for future projects.

  • Exploring various sound design techniques to add colour and shape.

Session Study Topics

  • Deploy Ableton and Max For Live devices to generate musical content.
  • Develop this content with various devices such as instruments and effects.
  • Capture, edit and consolidate the content.
    • Reflect on the content we created and discuss ways to develop the project further.


  • A computer and internet connection

  • A good working knowledge of computer systems

  • A basic awareness of music theory and audio processing

  • Good familiarity with Ableton and Max For Live

  • Access to a copy of Ableton Live 10 Suite, or Ableton Live 10 with a Max For Live license.

About the workshop leader

Ned Rush aka Duncan Wilson is a musician, producer and performer. He’s most likely known best for his YouTube channel, which features a rich and vast quantity of videos including tutorials, software development, visual art, sound design, internet comedy, and of course music.

Mash Machine live-stream with the founders

Discover a new instrument in this live-stream and learn their design story.

Based in Tallinn, Estonia, the Mash Machine team has put together a kit version of the Reactable. While it looks similar to the Barcelona instrument, the software and sound engine is different. Mash Machine is designed as a social instrument, playing and meshing loops as physical objects are drawn onto the board.

Meet the founders in this live-stream and learn more about the technology and design process.

Participate and build your own Mash Machine loops!

Create loops and send them to Mash Machine at hello@mashmachines.com, they will be used during the presentation! Detailed instructions on producing content for Mash Machine – here



Arcologies: a workshop for Monome norns & grid / On-demand

For Monome norns and grid, arcologies is a 21st century instrument for musical composition and discovery. Built by Tyler as a “2020 pandemic sanity project” and released in September it has already attracted passionate following.

Through a series of “breakout-room” team challenges you will learn how to build and sculpt evolving sound compositions with Arcologies.

We’ll cover signal flow, melodies, chords, and evolving systems with modulation, euclidean rhythms, and Turing machines.


  • Electronic music composition techniques.
  • Generative music.
  • monome norns
  • monome grid


About the workshop leader

Tyler Etters is a polymath-artist currently residing in Los Angeles. His uniquely 21st century practice encompasses a range of mediums including music, film, analog photography, and software design. He is Vice President at Highland and received his BFA in Graphic Design from Columbia College Chicago.




Noisy pompoms – make an e-textile instruments

Important note: This workshop includes a kit that will be shipped to your address from the UK, please note that registrations will close 7 days before the workshop to allow enough time for you to receive your kit.

What’s in the kit? The kit comes with a pre-soldered printed circuit board, e-textile material, a speaker, a mixed bundle of brightly coloured yarn and one crocodile clips. Batteries not included.

What you will do in this workshop:

In this online workshop, we will craft with electronic textiles to make a new musical instrument.

The workshop will provide an introduction to working with e-textile materials and DIY craft techniques, to enable us to make a new musical instrument to play and experiment with.

In this hands-on and craft-focused workshop, we will explore ideas in e-textiles, DIY electronics and experimental music making, to learn how e-textiles can be used within an electronic circuit and how we can be creative with crafts to make a fun and playful interface to perform with.


  • Electronic textiles (e-textiles)
  • Experimental music making
  • DIY electronics
  • Textile handcrafts


No prior knowledge or skills are required. This workshop is a great introduction to electronic instrument building and is suitable for any age (younger children should be supervised).

The instrument will be built from a DIY kit, which will be posted to you in advance of the workshop. The kit includes all of the materials you will need to construct the instrument.

The instrument will be made with tools found around the home. You will need:

  • scissors
  • recycled cardboard (approximately cereal box sized)
  • 9v battery
  • tabletop workspace

About the workshop leader:

Sam Topley is a sound artist from Leicester, UK. She works with textiles to create handmade electronic musical instruments and interactive sound art work. Her practice explores ideas in music, technology and textile handcrafts, to make new instruments such as giant noisy pompoms, knitted or ‘yarnbombed’ loudspeakers and DIY electronic musical instruments with e-textile interfaces.

Topley shares her work internationally through workshops, exhibitions, performances and presentations. Recent projects include commissioned work by Dubai Maker Faire, TEDxLeicester, Goldsmiths University of London and the University of Manchester.

Sam is a doctoral researcher at the Music, Technology and Innovation – Institute for Sonic Creativity (MTI2), De Montfort University (Leicester, UK), where she also lectures in experimental music, creative music technology and community arts practice. Her PhD is co-supervised by Nottingham Trent University and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Follow Sam on social media: FacebookInstagramTwitter.

Andrew Leggo: Designing Instruments

You can learn the basics of building a musical instrument at a Summer camp. Just Google “straw flute” and you’ll build a flute in 5 minutes. But designing an instrument that others want to play, now, this is hard. Most musicians are not looking for a new instrument, and it’s a difficult task to convince them otherwise. After spending 10,000 hours practicing, professional musicians are not necessarily looking to start all over again.

Andrew Leggo started designing instruments shortly after graduating in the early 1980s. He was one of the designers behind the Roland AX-1 Keytar and has also designed studio equipment, mixing consoles, digital pianos and percussion controllers.

In this talk, Andrew shares his lifelong learnings as a creative designer, and the multiple parameters that one has to consider when designing an instrument.

Join Andrew live on 7th September, and ask questions on the chat!