Well now, this is pleasant news – Tunable is going to be free for a day! Tell your friends, tell your students, hey – tell your enemies!
Tunable is first a tuner with the capability to show a history of how in/out of tune you have played. Perfect to help us realize what our ears are telling us! A real eye opener for students who think they are “all that”!
It is also s tone generator! Teach different temperaments. Practice playing with a pedal tone, practice playing different parts of a chord in tune in different temperaments!
Tunable is also a metronome too!
Lastly and most importantly for ALL of us Tunable is a recorder! Record your rehearsal and practice sessions then even add a bit of reverb!
Chris has put together our latest Podcast Episode and it is available on Soundcloud (and likely iTunes overnight). In this episode, we discuss BLE MIDI, Sheet Music Scanner (read more about that here on Chris’s blog over at techinmusiced.wordpress.com), and Noteflight. Our special guest is John Mlynczak, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Noteflight, a Hal Leonard Company.
Show notes are available at metpodcast.wordpress.com
Get the New NOISE app (if you dare) (OK – actually, you should go get it unless you were using the old version)
LIVE IN FEAR PEOPLE! Yeah, I know… you just read my post title and then the first sentence and I”m sure you figure I’m nuts for sure now! But read on and I’ll explain!
I love writing blog posts like these because it is all about creating music in new and innovative ways using technology that gives us possibilities we’ve never had before! This app is serious fun and seriously let you get down to the actual act of CREATING!
Roli is at it again! You know, that company who brought us the Seaboard Grand and the Seaboard Rise?
Their next move was to bring us the ORIGINAL Noise app. Which was interesting and with a force touch iPhone became VERY interesting in that it was the first music app to take advantage of force touch – and it was COOL!
Their next move was to bring us the new and innovative BLOCKS (the modular music studio that lets anyone make music)
These things –
Then things went sour, very, very, very sour! Some bone head over at Roli made the stupidest decision in the history of the company – they took the original NOISE app and totally changed it into something NO ONE recognized! On top of THAT poor decision, they changed the icon and instead of creating a totally new app, leaving the old one still available…. they pushed out the new update as the SAME APP!
This is why I said – “Live in Fear!” This is a perfect example of why you REALLY should NOT have the auto update turned on for apps on your iPhone/iPad! Here are a few comparison shots for those of you NOT familiar with what I am talking about already –
Original icon – New icon
I’m here to let you know two things….
Firstly – Some people were relying on the original app for their upcoming performances and are now scrambling to figure things out.
Secondly – I actually think the new app is an improvement!
Third – The new version still has glaring omissions for a music app on iOS in current days!
Last – Go Get the new app!
Here is my thought on this new version…. creating music is supposed to be FUN! This new app accomplishes that! I have a ton of music instrument apps on my iPad and I can’t tell you the last time I just sat and created music with one of them! Now to be fair, that’s partly because I am a Band Director just finishing up marching season and trying to get things ready for the next round of performances!
Tonight though I just sat and played! Here’s what I found…
The original app used a keyboard like interface trying to simulate the Seaboard RISE and it was actually very difficult to control! I did not see myself using this in live performance or giving it to my students to use in live performances. I guess some people are though because they are ticked, I mean REALLY ticked!
The new app interface is different and in my opinion way better! It’s extremely useable! Take a look below – now we have a grid. On that grid you see colors that actually are vital information as they help you figure out the scale being currently used. On the top right are three exciting options – Scale, Chord and Arp. They do exactly as you would expect. In this screenshot you see all the notes of the chromatic scale available to you. Jump down to the next screen shot to see what it looks like when locked into the Mixolydian Scale….
Now we are less likely to hit “wrong” notes 🙂
The sounds included are all pretty good sounds. I like the fact that Roli has some great sound designers working for them. They take the time to really program the sounds to react to what is going on with your finger! Go to their website to read about the 5D Touch – it’s good stuff! It is NOT a simple note on, note off experience – this makes for a much more immersive experience. More sounds are going to be made available soon. Those people who bought the IAP extra sound banks in the original NOISE app are now able to download and restore those sounds into the new version of the app.
The next part takes things even further into the realm of fun…..
Pull down on the little line center of the top of the screen and you will get this…
Now you get to start recording your doodles! You have four tracks and four different sounds available to create a musical masterpiece. You then have 12 loops to fill if you so wish to create that many (and I think you WIL!!)
This is all about hitting the record button and playing. You don’t need to fiddle with settings like quantize (even though it’s already turned on for you and there’s no way to turn it off), there’s not any way to edit your recordings either (simply re-record it!) and each loop is locked into one measure of four four (there is a reason for this – play the drum pads and drag your finger up or down or all around!)
Soooooo…… my final thoughts…..
The NOISE app has a ways to go to be fully functional in my opinion and here are my top issues…
Their BLOCKS web site is BAD! Come one Roli – get with it. This website needs to be awesome and it simply is annoying to use on a computer let alone a tablet! It is NOT a smooth, graceful experience that rocks my world!
You currently MUST create an account to use the app! This is NOT good in a school setting!
Once your masterpiece is created there is no way to record your “performance” of the loops! I had to hook up an aux cable to my laptop (good thing I was using my iPad and not my iPhone7! Good thing I didn’t have one of those new MacBook Pro’s!)
For that matter, there isn’t even a way in app to setup a “song” that plays back your loops in a specific sequence. (Although if you look at the featured image for this post I do spy an interesting capability that is NOT currently in this version of the app, that looks like MAYBE there is already plans for this capabilities)
Where the heck is AudioBus, InterAppAudio or Audio Unit capability at guys!? I mean COME ON! This is 2016! This is basic app functionality for any decent music app!
There isn’t any way to connect another app to this app via MIDI and you sure can’t connect an external controller to it (except those sweet BLOCK Roli just introduced for $169…. which brings us to the good things…
The app does have some outstanding features….
This app connects via BlueTooth MIDI! This is amazing! BlueTooth MIDI is one of the biggest inventions lately! Look Ma, no wires!
This app was made to connect with Roli’s new BLOCKS – dude, go watch the demo video below – this is wicked awesome!
This app is capable of keeping teachers, amateurs and students busy for 2-3 hours! Hope your spouse doesn’t get mad! If they do, don’t bring up my name!
DEAR ROLI – I would LOVE to get my hands on these BLOCKS to try out for myself and with my students! If you have any spares around send me a set! My Electronic Music Ensemble at our school could make you a video or two and you could use them for promo purposes and I would be more than willing to write several more posts about our thoughts on the BLOCKS! Heck, send us a Seabord RISE while you are at it! 🙂
Here is my musical creation from tonight – feel free to put this on in the headphones and let it play while you go grade some papers or compositions as it is kind of long! 🙂 (I told ya, I had fun using this but I didn’t promise a top 40 hit!)
Ten Kettles has just upgraded their wonderful app to help you train your ears for running sound and mixing!
As music teachers we are constantly performing with our students. That means someone has to run sound! That means probably someone else besides yourself IF YOU ARE LUCKY! If not blessed with a willing person to twist and slide those knobs and faders for you, then it’s all you! You, trying to do two things at once! In any case there is some training and skill involved in getting things to sound great!
Ten Kettles has one of the best apps I’ve run across to help us out! The app is hearEQ – the app for musicians, sound engineers and plain ‘ol music lovers. Getting that perfect EQ doesn’t “just happen”. This app allows you to pick a song from your music library and then gives you the ability to experiment with the EQ settings while giving you hints at what each frequency does to the sound. The app used to only come with a 10 band EQ but with this latest update now has a 30 band EQ for you to experiment with and get trained on!
I love the ability to give this app to the students running my sound. I love the ability to spend a few minutes with it here and there myself! I love the short exercises that I can customize to my ability level.
THE EXCITING BACK STORY – of the BEST TRICK OR TREAT EVER!
Well, I’ve gone and done it! I pulled the trigger on an Apple Watch! I have been interested in them since the day they were released but did not have the money. Then by the time I did then I had read enough about the gen 1 that I had realized I actually wanted to wait until the 2nd geo so that apps and such updated quicker on AppleWatch. Then WatchOS 3 came out and made many people much happier with the gen 1 speed and usability. I still waited. Then Apple FINALLY announced the new updates – bringing us the faster processor and updating the Watch to either a Series 1 or a Series 2 with the biggest difference being not the processor but a built in GPS and better waterproofness. Well, that sealed the deal for me! I’m a kayaker! I went Series 2 and ordered my watch. Of course I didn’t order it on day one like my son did but I had to wait a week later. That meant he actually received his Series 2 Apple Watch a full MONTH before me! Good thing he lives 12 hours away – that way I wasn’t quite so jealous! 🙂
Anyways – it has taken a month, yup, a MONTH to come!
The really fun thing was that I stopped in at my Verizon store to pay our exchange students phone bill and the nice lady took a look at MY phone bill too. She was kind enough to inform my wife and I that for $1 more a month she could upgrade my iPhone 6+ to an iPhone 7+ which immediately made my wife roll her eyes and mutter something I couldn’t quite hear but fully understood. My wife was kind enough though to sit and wait while we did the paperwork because the Verizon lady said that she indeed did have a 128GB phone in stock! So we did all the paperwork and at the end she finally went into the back to grab the phone. She came out with TWO! Turns out that the 128GB phone she had was only the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7+ was only a 32GB version. I was bummed. My wife saw it immediately too. In fact SHE was the one who told the Verizon lady, “oops, you lost him!”
THE INTERESTING disinformation sales people try to pass on!
The next ten minutes was interesting – this lady was a good sales lady but I did have two squabbles with her.
She tried convincing me that the 32GB version would be OK because I could use Verizon Cloud to make up the difference! (Of course this made my wife roll her eyes once again as I had to educate the nice lady as to what benefit a “cloud” service ACTUALLY provides and more importantly, DOESN’T provide!)
She tried convincing me to switch to Android. (Which made my wife laugh out loud – no, really!)
MY ANDROID RESPONSE I’ve got to tell you people something here. I am fully aware that Android has come a very long ways since the days that I’ve had one BUT for a musician it still is not there. The apps available on iOS and on Android for musicians don’t even compare. I have PLENTY of “friends” who HATE Apple but will NOT use an Android because of this fact. When Android has the ability to provide the quality of apps like available on iOS we can talk lady!
Do you want my list so you can go look? Here is a starter –
Music Readers (ForScore, UnReal Book style not those proprietary things)
Instruments – Like Alchemy (yes, I know it’s no longer available but I own it along with a BUNCH of other people and I love it!), GeoShred, GeoSynth, the VirSyn apps, Thor, Nave, DrumJam/ThumbJam and a TON others.
TO CONTINUE Anyways, my question to the nice lady as I was putting my iPhone 6+ back in its case seeings as how I wasn’t getting a new phone THAT night was “How long until we can get one in?” – to which my wife said, “yeah, you’ve been waiting a MONTH for your Apple Watch! The nice ladies question was, “which color?” – to which my wife said, “which one can you get the quickest?” (Yes, my wife knows me well!)
At first she was only seeing the end of November and the middle of December and then for some reason the plain black showed up as shipping immediately! NOW she had me again! I was smiling once again!
So what ended up happening was the UPS guy was literally dropping my Apple Watch off on my porch as I received the notification that my iPhone 7+ was being delivered at the Verizon store in town! IT was like Christmas in October! Best Trick or Treat I’ve ever had!
THE BIG iPadPro and Apple Pencil
My iPad Pro and Pencil I was able to get last spring break while down in New Orleans at the end of our Spring Break. Never been to New Orleans but we did have fun there – it poured rain the entire time we had downtown to visit BUT I got my iPad! 🙂 I sat there outside the Apple Store in the mall and played blissfully while the girls shopped! This 12.9″ size was exactly what I had wanted for a couple of years! It was perfect for reading sheet music on plus the added benefit of having the Apple Pencil was amazing! I fully believe Steve Jobs was correct when he stated, “IF you need a stylus to use a a tablet/phone then you have failed.” I also fully believe that the use of Apple Pencil is not NEEDED it is utterly and simply a HUGE benefit! There ARE things that I CAN NOT do with my finger on an iPad in the same manner that I can when using that Apple Pencil. Chris, from techinmusiced.wordpress.com and I discuss some of the benefits/drawbacks to using an Apple Pencil along with Aron Nelson, developer of UnRealBook, on our latest ME&T Podcast. You should go listen!
WHY DO I SHARE ALL THIS? Because this blog was started with a post about the purchase of my first iPad – the very first iPad on the day it was released. That was also at the end of our Spring Break, while we were in Washington DC. It’s a good read and a good story – go look it up!
Can these devices change our teaching though? That’s the question I’ve always had. Along with, Can these devices change the way we create music?
THE BIG DRIVE AND PUSH FOR ME
This is why I share…. to expose others to the possibilities and to make them aware that this tech even exists. To make others think outside the box of “traditional” music ed./music creation.
EXPOSURE I just today, had an alumni look at my iPadPro in disbelief as how large it is while she immediately understood why I wanted it for music (I was filling in on piano for her church and had of course scanned the hymns for the morning and had them on the iPad). But she had never seen a tablet so large. She knew though why I had it!
SUCCESS STORY The other day in class my 5th grade beginning percussionists were staring at me in disbelief when I kept telling them that they were hitting the snare drums more than once with each stroke they took. They for some reason could NOT hear it even with me demonstrating (the rest of the class could though – it might be a long year, lol) So I took out the iPhone and fired up the slow-mo video and had them play. I then used AppleTV and AirPlay to play the video back for them which IMMEDIATELY showed them exactly what I was telling them! The kids loved seeing the slow-mo – they wanted to do more – again, we are talking about students NOT being what some define as “digital natives” of technology even though they exist in the same world and use that tech. Their use of that tech is very limited and if we as teachers do not SHOW them how to leverage it to LEARN they may NEVER do so.
Please help me out though with suggestions for how you use YOUR Apple Watch in your classrooms and music creation! Leave me comments, send me email, or connect via whatever other method you like using! I would love to share things you are doing with our other readers. I will share too!
IK Multimedia makes some great music apps and they have a bunch of them on sale right now!
SampleTank Is $1.99! This is normally a great deal at $19.99 but for 2 bucks it is a crazy sweet deal. The sounds are great and this gives you everything you need to create some great accompaniment tracks or even a stellar recording of the next top 50 tune you are writing! If you don’t grab at LEAST this app you are nuts! Combine this with a couple do MIDI files or an app with an alternative playing interface and you are all set for a performance with nothing more than your iPad!
Duet Display is on a great sale right now! 50% off at $9.99
If you are not sure what Duet Display is you really need to check it out! It turns your iPad into an external display for you laptop/computer. It even works with your phone! So now when you are doing things like entering notation into Sibelius and you want that number pad that Applestopped putting on their laptops… well now you put the toolbar on your phone and wa-la you are in business!
What about the fact that I’ve pretty well convinced myself to NOT buy a 15″ laptop the next time around. The smaller screen will be easier to handle because I can use my iPad Pro’s large screen with Duet Display and have MORE screen real estate than on a 15″ laptop! What’s even funnier is that my iPad Pro is a bigger screen than my sons 13″ MacBook!
Nebo is one of those apps that make having an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil a truely magical experience.
Nebo is powered by MyScript Interactive Ink. This is the same company that Notion gets its handwriting technology from. So those of you who have tried that already knows how good the recognition is.
The premise is simple – hand write your notes and have Nebo turn them into text and export as a digital document. You can structure your notes using titles, paragraphs and even bullet lists. Include equations,diagrams, sketches and annotate pictures.
Here’s the deal – this is not re-leading ,y use of Notability but Nebo sure is amazing!
First app is a no brainer for anyone who wants to use their iPad/iPhone for a musical instrument –
SampleTank is currently only $1.99! Normal price is $19.99!
SampleTank was just recently updated and now allows 8 multi-timbral slots into which you can insert sounds from a wide variety of included instruments.
• 8-part multitimbral professional-quality sound and groove module
• Expandable sound library with 600+ instruments in 16 categories
• Layers feature lets you easily create zones on your controller for multi-part performances
• Live and Song modes optimized for composition and live performance
• Streamlined interface for faster workflow
• Integrated 8-track MIDI recorder with song export
• MIDI learn feature makes programming external controllers a breeze
• Play interface with piano keyboard, scale keyboard and enhanced drum pads
• Universal app compatible with iPad and iPhone with iOS 8 and later
Secondly is an awesome app for anyone into looping who also uses MIDI keyboards –
From the stage to the studio, Infinite Looper will let you capture musical ideas, and can provide the framework for songwriting, all in a single integrated app. Loop MIDI phrases easily, control six different instruments, and quickly assemble loops into full songs. Visit the Secret Base Design web site for details and demonstration videos.
Internal SoundFont Engine – Built into the app is an extensive SoundFont library with hundreds of instruments, and multiple drum kits.
Inter-App Audio – Infinite Looper can host IAA-compatible synth apps
MIDI In and Out – The app recognizes MIDI from other apps, over Bluetooth connections, and from hardware controllers.
Loop sequencer – select different sets of loops for each section of a song, and the app will step through them automatically.
MIDI Export – Infinite Looper will export a MIDI file for a song, which can be loaded into professional desktop DAWs.
Keyboards and Pads – The app features a responsive piano-style keyboard — adjust note velocity by touching towards the tops of the keys. And because on-screen keyboards can be hard to play, there’s also ten pages of programmable pads.
Quantization and MIDI Latency – To lock down timing, you can toggle on quantization, or leave it off, for a natural feeling. If you use external MIDI controllers, the app can time shift to account for the delay of Bluetooth connections or WiFi. And if you use an audio-to-MIDI converter app like MIDImorphosis, latency compensation can tighten up the timing.
All the standards – Infinite Looper supports Ableton Link, making it easy to synchronize the app with other Link-enabled apps. There’s full support for Inter-App Audio and IAA MIDI, and Audiobus too.
MIDI Learn – If you’re playing live, your hands might be busy with a keyboard or a guitar. With MIDI learn, you can control the app with a foot controller. Toggle on and off recording, switch tracks, and more.
Import and Export – Easily share projects with friends using AirDrop, Dropbox, or by email.
Take Notes – Infinite Looper projects include a text notepad