Unless you have the same songwriting chops as Bob Dylan, it’s probably best to stick with putting bananas on your breakfast cereal rather than pursuing them as a musical instrument. In any case, that may soon change.

Ableton, makers of the hit professional music production software Live, wants users to set up new and experimental ways to interact with and extend their software with the introduction of their new Max for Live Connection Kit.

When used with Arduino, littleBits, Leap Motion Controllers, LEGO Mindstorm and other technologies that make use of sensors, lights and motors, the connection kit converts a seemingly endless amount of input possibilities into usable sounds for use in Live – as evidenced in a Rube Goldberg demonstrative video released by the Ableton team:

YouTube video


00:02 Drumstick starts playhead, which triggers an LFO that controls a servo using the Arduino device
00:07 Another servo with a pen attached to it is being controlled by parameter changes in a clip
00:11 The golf ball is mapped to the XY pad of the Camera device, which controls the frequency of a filter
00:13 The pendulum swings between a light sensor and a light source, this motion modulates an EQ8
00:22 LFOs in Live are controlling graphics in Processing using OSC
00:25 Input from Leap Motion controls Live using OSC
00:30 The golf ball triggers a MIDI note
00:34 The JSON Video device loops a video snippet, creating a new beat
00:38 Automation in Live controls the motors of the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 device
00:50 The robot uses a crocodile clip to close a circuit when touching the banana
00:53 A pressure sensitive pad from littleBits™ is triggered by a hammer, causing the music to stop

Says Ableton:

“For the tinkerers among you, Connection Kit is here: a new Max for Live Pack that makes it simpler than ever before to set up new and experimental ways to extend and interact with Live. This free collection of Max for Live devices provides instant connection between Live and technologies like Arduino, LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3, OSC and much more.”


Download the free Connection Kit over at Ableton.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.