Will Launchpad Pro's Scale Mode make your MIDI keyboard redundant?

The line between what constitutes a controller and an instrument is becoming increasingly blurred, and Launchpad Pro's new Scale Mode, which was developed with Ableton Live users in mind, only serves to emphasise this. It could even make your MIDI keyboard redundant.

Introduced as part of a new firmware update, we'll let Novation explain how it works: "Simply activate Scale Mode to assign Launchpad Pro's 64 pads contiguously to the notes of one of 32 keys or modes - Major, Minor, Phrygian, Whole Tone, BeBop Minor, Iwato, etc. Seven Overlap options enable the relative positioning of notes on each row to be offset, while Chromatic 4th Mode keeps the pads assigned to the chromatic series but highlights the notes of the selected scale or mode within it."

If that all sounds a bit technical, the bottom line is that Scale Mode should enable any Ableton Live-based producer to play and record in-key basslines, melodies, chord progressions and lead parts whether you know anything about music theory or not. It can work with other DAWs, too, as well as MIDI-equipped hardware synths.

You can find out more and download the new firmware on the Novation website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.