Ableton Live Tutorial – Automatic Tempo and Time Signature Changes in Session View

Let's say you want to play clips with different tempi and/or time signatures all in a Live Set in Session View. This can be useful for Live Performances as well as DJ-Sets.

Scenes are great for starting a whole row of clips at the same time. However, there's a functionality hidden in the scene names.

  1. Use Ctrl + R (Win) or Cmd + R (Mac) to rename the track.
  2. Type in the desired BPM and/or time signature, e.g. 140 BPM 4/4.
  3. You can name the Scene whatever you like. The order doesn't matter and you can include more than just the BPM and time signature, but the two have to be separated by at least one character.

I like to keep it all clean. So I generally name it something like this:

Now all you have to do is launch the scene and tempo and/or time signatures will be adjusted automatically according to its name.

Do you have any questions, suggestions or remarks. Why don't you leave me a comment? :)

There are plenty more Ableton Live tutorials where this one came from.

By |2017-02-02T20:23:13+00:00December 31st, 2012|Ableton Live Tutorials|10 Comments

About the Author:

Madeleine Bloom is a musician, producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer from Berlin. She studied Electroacoustic Music at the Franz Liszt Conservatory. In the last few years she's worked as a technical support for Ableton and has helped countless people with her in-depth knowledge of Ableton Live, various other music apps as well as audio engineering.


  1. Dodol Garoet November 23, 2014 at 06:33 - Reply

    And how about the ‘tempo change’ in the middle of the song/clip/scene? (say if the song is like “Raise your Weapon” (deadmau5) which start at 128 BPM and then in the middle it change into 140 BPM)…?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Madeleine November 23, 2014 at 15:20 - Reply

      As long as it’s an abrupt change as in your example, you’d simply cut the track in two parts. Put the first part in one scene that has 128 BPM in the name, then the second part one scene down, labelled 140 BPM. A scene is not necessarily for a complete track, but successive ones can be used for different parts of a track or song, e.g. verse 1, chorus 1, break…

  2. Dodol Garoet November 24, 2014 at 15:07 - Reply

    OK, thanks a lot Madeleine. That’s what I did before :) (make it into two fifferent clips)…I was thought there’s other way to do it, like ‘record’ it in the ‘clip’ itself just like other envelopes.

    • Madeleine November 24, 2014 at 17:45 - Reply

      Not currently, no. I tend to segment every song/track into various parts as it gives more more control over everything. That’s also the intention of Live.

  3. Gurpreet July 30, 2015 at 22:14 - Reply


  4. Michele C. May 20, 2016 at 23:28 - Reply

    Hello, I would like to record a song at 3/3 + 3/4 + 2/4. I know it makes up for two measures of 4/4, but the feeling is totally different, as the accents fall definitely on the ones of this complex time signature.
    Can it be done creating two scenes in 3/4 and 2/4, starting them in scene view and recording live instruments in the arrangement track?

    • Madeleine Bloom May 26, 2016 at 18:58 - Reply

      Not sure if this is a typo or not. There is no 3/3 time signature as there are no 1/3 notes. But the other time signatures you could indeed create in clips in Session View, record or copy into the Arrangement, and then overdub with live instruments. You could also create the clips directly in the Arrangement View. Simply add time signatures there.

  5. Thomas Zirkle November 17, 2018 at 23:35 - Reply

    I’ve just run across your site, and I’m a fan! Thanks for this page, it answered an exact question I had and gave me some secret information to boot (that the name of the track could set the tempo and the time signature). :) Looking forward to reading the rest of your entries.

  6. redshoesandoptions December 31, 2018 at 22:51 - Reply

    Hello Madeleine.

    I have this working no problem, thanks for the article. My question is how do I use 2 or more time signatures within 1 scene? I’m struggling with this.

    I’m brand new to Ableton, from Studio One for the live performance aspect. But this will be a deal breaker for me. I’m sure there is a solution, I just can’t seem to find one.

    • Madeleine Bloom January 7, 2019 at 14:20 - Reply

      If you want to use different time signatures, you’d do one per scene. If you meant that you want clips with differing time signatures, simply set them in the clips themselves.

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