Making Music on the Beach With Roli and my iPad

I am on Spring Break and our first order of business was to stop at SweetWater Sound to pick up a Songmaker Kit by Roli. All week I’ve been messing around with the SeaBoard Blocks in my free time between running around to the beach and sight seeing. The reason I was so very intrigued with what Roli is doing is that the blocks support MPE. Don’t know what that is? Here is Roger Linn who created the Linnstrument, along with a few other important musical achievements, explaining…

MPE stands for “Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression” and is a new MIDI standard created by us, ROLI, Apple, Moog, Haken Audio, Bitwig and others for communicating over MIDI between MPE controllers (like LinnStrument, Roli Seaboard, Continuum, SoundPlane or Eigenharp) and MPE sound generators (like these).

Plus the Songmaker Kit is portable and Roli finally packaged it with the full version of their software Equator. Actually, the software that comes with the Songmaker Kit is pretty impressive. You get the full version of Equator for your laptop/computer along with other software you see in the screen shot below. You also get almost every sound pack that is available for the iOS Noise app when you buy the Songmaker Kit too!

Their are a few iPad apps that supports MPE- Moog just released their new Model D app which supports MPE along with Animoog and Model 15 which has been out for awhile. GarageBand also supports MPE and also released an app update this week to allow for facial control of parameters using the newest cameras built into our lovely devices like the newest iPads and iPhones. GeoShred also supports MPE because their developers, one of which is Jordan Rudess is an immense supporter of new ways to control and create music. Of course ROLI’s own app, Noise, allows for MPE.

So my first week impressions are that MPE is going to take awhile to get figured out and make full use of. GarageBand and Model D for instance, although supporting MPE do not develop each sound to make the best use of the messages coming from the Songmaker Kit Blocks. On the other hand, Roli has done an awesome job realizing that in order for their product to succeed and MPE to take hold, they must develop software that is designed to take full advantage of the MPE messages coming from the Blocks.

Anyways…. what is Roli’s main thrust? Making music anyplace you are with new tools and capabilities. So what else can I do but make some music and then share it.

This song was all GarageBand using the SeaBoard Block then I ran it through the Audio Mastering App which then allowed me to upload to SoundCloud. Then I had to open Safari, not the SoundCloud app, to edit the info and the cover art. (Come on SoundCloud…. why would you take away such basic capabilities from your app!????)

Anyways… if you are so inclined for some chill musical meanderings to listen to then check it out below… Also – if you have had success with the SeaBoard Blocks and MPE let me know where your music is and what you have found that works really well in the comments. I’d love to connect.


Moog Brings iOS the Minimoog Model D!

Minimoog Model D – $4.99 (Introductory price as of 3/27/2018)

There are so many great iOS music making apps but Moog has always been right there at the top of the greats ever since it released its first app, Animoog!

Now Moog Music has brought us a mobile version of the world’s first portable synthesizer, the Minimoog Model D- ironic considering how much MORE mobile music making gets with this app and our devices we carry now a days.

This app has it all too, well almost – more on that at the end. In fact, it improves on the original by adding four note polyphony, the ability to play chords, a looper, ping-pong delay and a Bender!

Since this is iOS and Moog has amazing developers working for them, the Model D app has support for AUv3, MPE, Ableton Link, Inter-App Audio, Audiobus, Bluetooth LE MIDI controller and will even makes sharing presets and audio recordings over AirDrop and to other iOS apps easy peasey!

If that list seems like someone is speaking a foreign language just take that as a way for me to say that it makes me weak at the knees to realize all that we can do with the app!

MPE is perhaps one of the most exciting items on the list – MPE is what allows controllers like the Roli Blocks so amazing! MPE allows for an amazing level of control over the sound and allows for nuances in your playing that makes for a much more expressive performance! Much like an acoustic instrument would instead of a traditional keyboard. Traditional keyboards have tried to evolve from a simple key press with the mod wheel, aftertouch, polyphonic aftertouch and even adding XY pads. MPE allows for 5 variations when pressing a key or controller…. strike, pressure, glide, slide and lift.

BlueTooth MIDI allows for your controller to connect wirelessly to your iPad! Let me say that one more time – WIRELESSLY WITHOUT DONGLES!

AUv3 allows for multiple instances of Model D inside of supporting apps like GarageBand and Cubasis (which is half price currently too by the way! $25!). Previously we had to record the audio for one track and then reload the app to do the next track. AUv3 is amazing!

Ableton Link keeps multiple apps and devices all in sync! No more feeble attempts at hitting the start button at JUST the right time and hoping things lock up. Now all your apps will lock in tight as can be and stay in sync – your drum app playing the beats, the bass line coming from another app and the lead effects from your buddy on his device will all be in sync!

AirDrop – who HASN’T used AirDrop? Please tell me you don’t have a device that supports it… if your device supports AirDrop and you have multiple devices or friends then you should have used AirDrop to share pictures, documents, videos and now audio recordings from Model D!

Below you will find the intro video but first I’ve got to remind you that four of Moog’s other apps are also on sale…

Duet Display – Anyone Using this?

So I’ve been keeping an eye on the Duet Display app for awhile now.

It looks very interesting AND it is 50% off right now! But I have serious questions as to how useful this would actually be!

For a teacher – how do you use it?

For a musician – how are you using it to extend what is possible with a simple laptop?

For a graphics design person – does the Apple Pencil work well with it or do you NEED the Duet Display Pro?

Any ways… if you are using this I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below….

Duet Display – $10 currently

St. Patricks Day Notion Sale

Well this is great news in deed! Even if you aren’t Irish!

PreSonus is giving you a 30% discount this weekend off of their stellar music notation app Notion as well as their DAW, StudioOne. PLUS you can even get 30% off a bundle of the two!

That means Notion is only going to cost you $105!

I have been very busy using this software combined with other music notation apps like PhotoScore in NotateMe and Sheet Music Scanner this past couple of weeks. We are doing a musical and there is no body around here that plays stringed instruments. Therefore I am putting those parts into Notion and then we will use the N-Tempo feature in Notion to have the Pit perform live with.

Not sure what that means? Well, someone taps along to the tempo and the string parts stay in sync with the live music! Plus you can even do vamps, jumping to a different section easily and all sorts of cool things that is just not possible in any other software.

Notion allows me to bring music into the software via computer keyboard and mouse input, via XML from the PhotoScore feature in NotateMe or Sheet Music Scanner, or via a MIDI keyboard input. Plus I can edit scores on my iPad while on the go and even make use of my Apple Pencil to quickly fix and add marking/notes that are easier because of using an Apple Pencil.

If you are looking for a new music notation app there is no better time than now to act!

Notion LargeNotion on iPad

Korg Module and KA Pro Symphonic Dreams Sounds

I’ve got like two seconds but I wanted to share that I think the new KA Pro Sound pack for Korg Module is just simply wonderful! If you need string and orchestra sounds then do yourself a favor – buy this while it is only $10 for the Strings Sound Pack!

Korg Module – only $20 right now because of the release of the sound packs.

Sound Cloud Examples: