Hack lyrics into the Ableton Live lessons area.

I’m playing live tonight at Tresor. It’s one of the more well known clubs in Berlin. On stage tonight I will be keeping a secret from the audience. Don’t tell anyone ok? The secret is I will have a cheat sheet with on it lyrics in front of me. In fact, I will play a song tonight where as I sit here right now typing this I can’t even remember the opening line! My lyric cheat sheet won’t be on a Textedit or Word document. It’s built right into Ableton Live. Remember when you first opened Live there are those Lessons that pop up on the right part of the interface? If you forgot about them and want to see them again just open Live and under the View menu choose Lessons. See them now? Let’s hack these Lessons and get our own text in there. Here’s how to do it:

Create and save a Project (song) in which you would like to have some of your own text in the Lesson area. Next, find the Project folder that was created when you saved your song. Inside that folder create a new folder with the exact same name as your Project followed by the word “Lessons”. Inside this folder create a plain text document and name it LessonsEN.txt

I use TextWrangler (free!) but you can use the plain old Mac TextEdit too. Type your lyrics or whatever reminders and notes you need. You can create separate pages by using the following syntax:

$Page Name of Song

If you add a: / before text it makes the text italic and bold. I like to make most of my text like this because it’s easier to read. Save the LessonsEN.txt and open Ableton and your Project to see your lyrics. Click on the screenshots in this post to view them larger.


  1. I do something similar to this when I’m writing. in the MASTER TRACK, I’ll edit the info text to put reminders such as key, chord structures of each section, and lyric ideas. It’s quicker, but not nearly as pretty, or easy to read as this. :)


  2. thats an awesome hack! now to convert all my .txt files in my lyrics folder so that the show up on the actual session! fantastic.


  3. thats a great tip to use for notes on a song – the notes window in the bottom left is too small – my sound notes usually consists of lots of txt files on my desktop with names which are to-do’s e.g.: ‘TRY TO MAKE KICK HEAVIER.txt’ etc eheh


  4. You’ll hate me for this and rightfully so, but here goes:

    They’re dancing the samba


    There’ dancing the samba

    You can remember this by realizing that “they’re” is short-hand for “they are”. The apostraphe is there to indicate missing letters.

    I know, this post is obnoxious. I really like and respect _your_ blog. Always great to see what _you’re_ up to!

    AAGH! I’m stopping, honest.

    I mean, really. When you see comments like this you must wonder, “What’s going on over there? I mean, what goes on in their heads? Where they’re going, I’ll never know!”

    Great hack for the lyrics, btw. THANKS!

    ; )



  5. No don’t worry no offense taken. In fact, calling me out on bad grammar is good… pain teaches! I’ve made the “you’re” mistake on this blog before and was called out for it before too. I pretty much have learned everything I know the hard way!


  6. MAD PROPS, This was EXACTLY what I was looking for. They should really add this as an actual feature…


  7. Tries this in Live 8.0.4 and can’t get it to work…


  8. Thanks for the great Hack.

    Somehow I keep getting the original lessons instead
    What do I do wrong:
    I ‘ve created
    – projectname text
    -foldername : textLessons
    -filename : LessonsEN.txt

    I use live 6

    Best Regards ,


  9. Thanks. How do you add an image to the Live Lessons area? This must be possible too – many sets from Ableton feature an image in the Lessons area.


    1. I never tried. Anyone know?


  10. This does not seem to work in Live 8


  11. yea, hey Oliver any advice how to make this wonderful trick works in Live 8?



  12. doesn´t work in live8 any idea???


  13. Nope… no idea and I really wish someone would come out with a solution. I really do like to have a space for lyrics inside of Ableton.


  14. Funny, I just got notification of this post as I am typing out the lyrics to songs in my current live set. Thanks so much for this post, I’m totally doing this!
    BTW,sSince we are talking grammar (and I teach high school English), “Crashing there minds” should be “Crashing their minds.” Lol… The way I teach my students to differentiate between “their” and “there” is that “there,” which indicates location, has the word “here” in it. The same trick works for “Where.”
    Much respect and thanks!


    1. Ironically, my previous post has a couple mistakes!


  15. Stephen Dawson April 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm


    Does this hack still work with Live 8.2.6, please? Cannot get it running.


    1. Stephen Dawson April 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Got it. It is under the Lesson folder in user profile…..for Vista, that is.

      That is…

      Follow the LESSON and CATEGORY structure. Make a copy of one of the lessons, hack step by step.

      VERY NICE!!!!!


      1. There are no text files there dude.


        1. Stephen H. Dawson September 12, 2013 at 10:55 am

          Um, you make the said text file…..dude.


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