How to use the “24 Scale Presets”

In March I released "24 Scale Presets" that aim to help you stay in key. I've gotten some emails from people asking how they differ from the included Scale presets in Live and how to use them. So here's a little tutorial to clarify things.

These days a lot of people start making music with computers without learning an instrument first and thus not learning music theory and harmonics.

The most simple and also most often used key in electronic music is C major. It doesn't have any bs or #s and only makes use of the white keys of the keyboard. If you use the computer keyboard to play, the middle row of letters played from A to K makes up the C major scale, that's C to C.

Its parallel minor scale is A minor, also employing only the white keys, but starting with A (and of course ending with A).

Those keys are your safest bet, but can become a little boring after a while, so you might want to try a Scale preset to change things up a bit. Let's say you want to change the key to F major. If you add the F major preset coming with Live, then, yes, all keys will be scaled to be part of F major, but if you have a melody in C major which means it usually starts with C, it'll still start with C even with the preset in place.

This is where my "24 Scale Presets" are useful. They transpose the notes so that the C becomes an F, making your melody or chords sound more musical, because not only all notes adhere to the F major scale, but the melody also begins with F.

If you actually have a melody that is supposed to be in F major (or another key), but you're unsure if all notes are right for the scale, then use the F Major Scale preset instead that is part of the Core Library of Live.

By |2017-02-02T20:19:45+00:00July 8th, 2013|Ableton Live Tutorials|4 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. […] this advice, your melodies, chords, stabs or what have you will always sound more convincing. And here’s a tutorial I’ve written about […]

  2. Alva October 19, 2014 at 23:08 - Reply

    thanks, this was a great help. I appreciate you.

  3. David February 17, 2016 at 16:22 - Reply

    All of the Major key scales I load work as described above (the Base is set to C and they transpose the notes so that the “A” key on my keyboard starts with the root note for the given key). Awesome. However, when I load any of the Minor key scales, the “A” key seems to correspond to the G note. Am I missing something? Bonus question: why do the Major scales have the Base set to C but the Minor scales have the Base set to A?

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.