One of the areas I have not taken the time to fully explore is creating music with my iPad. I use the iPad daily for reading PDF music, organizational details, reading news and pictures to name a few things. What I have not done nearly enough of is create music with it! I have downloaded a ton of instrument apps and played with them! There are some awesome new ways to create and interact with music!
This weekend I started digging in and seeing what happened. In no way will I ever claim that the results of this experimentation is amazing as I am not a composer! In fact you may listen to just the first few seconds and decide you’ve had enough! That’s all right! I just had fun trying out all sorts of sounds, noises and messing with what is at my finger tips!
One of the very interesting things happening right now in the world of music apps is the way in which you interact with the music being created. Traditionally for instance when I play piano I don’t have many options… push the key and the note sounds. When playing my euphonium…. blow through the horn and I get a sound. These sounds all are pretty much the same every time. If I want to control the sound coming out of my euphonium I can change the embouchure and airflow along with maybe singing/humming while playing. On that piano I can get louder and softer and that’s about it (unless I get all John Cage on the piano!)
Now that world of what is possible is blown wide open and only limited by the developers imagination. Of course those developers get tons of ideas from the community that is using their app too. (One of the amazing side effects of the iOS musician community is that developers are willing to listen to their users and try new ideas in the apps!)
For instance – in the Animoog app I was playing with…. I tap the key and a note sounds but that sound can instantly be changed by moving my finger up and down on that one key. Plus I’ve got all sorts of knobs and X/Y pads right there to mess with too! The sound I’m creating is in no way static – I become a huge part of the creative process and decisions of what comes out of the speakers! It is so much fun too! In GeoSynth I am no longer stuck in the tuning of the traditional piano – chromatic. I can adjust to all sorts of quarter tones and microtones! In MorphWiz, as well as almost any of the other apps, I can select one specific scale to play with. The abilities to slide between pitches is easily done and programed. Effects galore, sounds you’ve never dreamed of and the capability to record, loop and create!
EQUIPMENT AND APPS
I am using my MacBookPro with LogicPro to record everything into. The iPad is simply using an 1/8″ cable from the headphone jack into the built-in input on the side of the MacBook. I have an Akai SynthStaion 25 that I picked up for $25 on Black Friday! In the 2 songs posted from this weekend all you hear is from Logic or an app. The Apps I used were MorphWiz, GeoSynth and SampleWiz all from Jordan Rudess the keyboard player from Dream Theater. Animoog and LaunchKey were the only other two apps I used this weekend. I should have used Impaktor or DrumJam but I forgot they were sitting on the next screen!
I also have had a Roland Fantom X8 for a long time now. You will not hear the x8 in the two newest songs though at all. If you are so kind as to listen to some of the music I’ve uploaded before this weekend you will hear lots of the X8 as that was the tech I used for years! I still do.
Now if you want to go old school and hear some of the tech that really got me excited about using electronic equipment to create music then take a listen to the four tracks I uploaded from Common Bond – this was a group I was in while in college in ’86-91. We were using Ensoniq keyboards and Roland drum Machines that “blew us away” back then! I remember wishing for control of my keyboard sounds back then like we have today! It was a pain to even get the volume to be recorded into the Ensoniq sequencer! So much fun was had recording in the “OutHouse” (it was really a garage). A few of us would spend too many hours in there as well as the recording studio at the school – That allowed us to record 8 tracks of audio! That’s how come I even have recordings of Common Bond – well I take that back…. My Mom did use her old Panasonic tape recorder in the front pew of a few of our concerts! She was excited about being able to do THAT! Do you remember those? A little rectangle black tape deck with one speaker – it recorded in mono! She had great fun using THAT new tech back in her day!
IT’S ALL ABOUT HAVING FUN!
As I write this the theme of “HAVING FUN” keeps coming up! My Mom with her little, mono, tape recorder – my buddies and I in college using the first keyboard that could record and playback 8 notes at a time – now creating music with an iPad and computer!
That brings me to my wrap up… please realize that ALL of the tracks on my ReverbNation/FaceBook page are there just because I was messing around enjoying myself! I know there are mistakes…. so what! I enjoyed myself and I hope you will enjoy listening a bit to them!
STUDENTS AND OUR CLASSES
We should be trying our hardest to inspire our students to just sit and create as well! Like when they were kids with a crayon and blank piece of paper! We should be inspiring our administration to support this idea as well! Even in these days of budget cuts – If our kids were doing more with being musically creative instead of merely recreating what someone else has already done I think our nation would be in better shape and our test scores would go through the roof!
Now for what you have been looking for all along… the music. You can find it on ReverbNation or my FaceBook page (both of which I am not paying for by the way… hmmm…. what implications does THAT have for our students?)
Safterry – created with Logic and iPad apps
Messed up E – created with Logic and iPad apps