Patterning, a New Drum App for iPad – Musicians and Music Teachers Everywhere Take Note!

Patterning Large IconPatterning by Olympia Noise Co. is a new iPad app that has just been released in this past week! I would have written early but I was off to band camp and was a bit preoccupied. This app comes at a time when teachers are all busy getting prepared for upcoming classes that they just started teaching or soon will be. Even in this hectic business you need to do yourself a favor and pay attention to this new app! I don’t care what kind of music class you are teaching I am sure that somehow you will find a way to fit the use of this app into your curriculum!

Patterning is $9.99 – not quite an impulse buy but for any music teacher this app needs to be in your kit of must have apps! The flexibility and fun you will find with this app is going to surprise you!

From the moment I saw the screen shots of Patterning I figured we were going to be in for a treat, in for a special moment with an app that gave us a new approach to creating beats. Boy was I right!

Patterning Screen shotTake a look at the screen shot to the right here and you will see what I am talking about if you are familiar with working with drum machines at all! Usually you get this boring, blank grid of a bunch of squares that you have to start inputting where you want notes. Well in Patterning you get this nifty, colorful, circle that serves as the basis for entering where you want not only notes but a slew of other important info to be played at. On the left you can see the 8 slots you have that are your 8 “instruments” for your drum beat. In this case I have a Kick at the top then Snare, Closed HiHat, Open HHat, a Percussion Instrument, Rim Tap, Tom and another Closed HiHat. The rings around the circle represent each of the instruments. As you tap on any of the individual instruments that ring grows big while the others shrink.

Now comes the really fun stuff! Notice the waveform on the right? Yup, you guessed it! Patterning uses SAMPLES! Under that waveform are the different ways in which you can alter that sample – giving you some nice control and flexibility!

Take a look at the next screen shot- This one show you on the right side of the screen the different options you have for each ring – notice I said for EACH ring. Patterning Steps Screen ShotFor each instrument you can choose the following options –

  • Note value – from whole note to 32nd notes, including dotted notes and tuplets!
  • Steps in the pattern – from 1 to 64 (Most drum machines give you 16 and assume that those 16 steps are all 16th notes.
  • 5 different Playback modes – Forward, Backward, pendulum 1 & 2, Urn
  • An Auto-Rotate option! Oh man… are you seeing the opportunities yet?
  • and of course it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing!

This section should be blowing your mind and making little drummer boys run around inside your brain with all sorts of giddy excitement! The poly-rhythms you can get out of this app are gonna be crazy fun! The ability to set different lengths for each instrument alongside the auto-rotate and mode is going to give you a drum pattern that is going to sound fresh but still keep the groove flowing! This is not your Daddy’s drum machine people!

Patterning Pencil ScreenWe still are not done with the crazy fun options in this app either! Take a look at this last screen shot! When you click on the Pencil icon you get access to all the layers that you can program for each layer! Look at all the automation you get going PER INSTRUMENT!

  • Velocity
  • Coarse Tune
  • Fine Tune
  • Pan
  • Attack
  • Hold
  • Decay
  • Filter Cutoff
  • Filter Resonance
  • Delay Send
  • Reverb Send
  • and most awesome of all….. Probability! Now we have just ratcheted up the level of fresh sounding beats pounding out of your speakers at your next concert!

The pure genius built into this app is going to inspire you and your students to really get down and groovy! There are going to be rhythms and beats that you have never imagined coming out of this thing!

Thing of the fun ways to use this in a class room – get some beats going for warmups, use this as back up for your scales, use this to demonstrate all those poly-rhythms in your band and choir pieces, use this as the basis for kids creating improv recordings over. the list goes on and on. The ability for the students to see what you are doing when you mirror your iPad onto the big screen will make them appreciate it even more!

Here are a few more highlights –

  1. There are some real fun drum kits built right into the app – 63 of them to be exact. You will be able to load your own, create your own and buy others.
  2. Song mode allows you to string a bunch of multiple patterns into one long song
  3. The mixer is well designed giving even people like me with big fingers, easy access to control volume, solo, mute, pan, delay and reverb send.
  4. FX are built in – Reverb, Delay, EQ and even Distortion!
  5. MIDI capabilities are there too – the clock can easily be synced to other apps AND each of the 8 instrument slots can control external MIDI devices/apps!

Let me conclude with a full list of what Olympia Noise has on their web page about their app. At the very end of this post is a video so you can see the app in action!

Patterns

  • Unique circular sequencer with independent settings for each loop in each pattern.
  • Variable loop lengths from 1 to 64 steps.
  • Step durations from a thirty-second note up to a whole note, with dotted notes and triplets along the way.
  • Get wild with loop modes : Forwards, Reverse, Urn (random without repeating), and two Pendulum modes.
  • Auto-Rotate feature spins the loop after each rotation.
  • Euclidean mode allows you to explore exotic polyrhythms like 7 against 11, 35 against 36, or even 3 against 4.
  • 64 bits of sample velocity trigger sensitivity.  (That’s a lot of sensitivity!)
  • Automation layers for animating track parameters : coarse and fine tuning, effects sends, panning, filter frequency and resonance, probability, and envelope settings.
  • Draw and erase tools.
  • Special “Pen Echo” mode for quick entry of repeating patterns.

 Samples

  • Extensive built-in sample library.
  • Easy import of user samples with Dropbox, Audioshare, iCloud, or iTunes File Sharing.
  • Modify sample start and end times.
  • Sample gain.
  • Attack, hold, decay amplitude envelope for shaping your sounds.
  • Coarse and fine tuning.
  • 2 choke groups.

 Mixer Section

  • Per track multimode filter with variable resonance and cutoff frequency.
  • Per track delay and reverb sends.
  • Panning
  • Mute / Solo
  • Track Volume
  • Amazing visualizer!

 Drum Kits

  • 63 kits and counting!
  • An assortment of classic and modern factory drum kits included.
  • Artists drum kits curated and created by contemporary producers, engineers, and musicians.
  • More drum kits available regularly through free in-app downloads.
  • Create your own kits and export them to share with other Patterning users.

 Song Mode

  • Fill the timeline with patterns to create songs.
  • Seamlessly toggle timeline on and off during playback.
  • Loop mode for endless pattern sequences.
  • Double tap to jump to a block in the timeline.
  • Time signature and snap settings for maximum flexibility.

FX Section

  • Digital Delay with feedback filter.
  • Tempo sync & free delay time modes.
  • 3 band EQ.
  • Unique distortion unit.
  • Reverb.

 MIDI

  • Per track MIDI settings allows maximum flexibility for ports, channels, and pitch.
  • MIDI clock sync courtesy of the Spectacular Sync Engine.
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