MIDI day on Palm Sounds : Roland PMA-5

Ok, this isn't really a MIDI software review for the palm OS. However, someone asked me this evening if I was interested in buying one of these so I did a little research. Very interesting indeed. I might have to say yes and have a play.

I'd never heard of this device before, but I have to say I am very interested indeed.

MIDI day on Palm Sounds : NotePad 1.4

Of course, you can't leave out NotePad 1.4 from any MIDI applications list. Especially as you can export to MIDI. I like the ability to export to MIDI from NotePad and import into Bhajis Loops.

Here's more detail on 1.4:

The chaps over at MiniMusic are cooking up another update to their excellent NotePad application. The new version includes:

- Scrolling Playback - Music will now scroll with playback.
- Page View - tap on new page icon or write/type the letter "z" to "zoom out" to a page view showing twenty measures of the song. The current measure is highlighted. Tap on a measure to zoom in on that bar (see lower screen shot to the left).

- Tempo Changes - Use the Change menu to set tempo changes anywhere in a song. Select a note and choose "Tempo Change" to change the tempo when that note is played. Select the same note and use the "Clear Change" menu item to remove a temo change (a change to 122bpm is shown in the top screenshot to the left).

- Instrument Change - Use the Change menu to set instrument changes anywhere in a song. Select a note and choose "Instrument Change" to change the instrument that will be used for this note and all following notes in this voice. Select the same note and use the "Clear Change" menu item to remove a temo change (a change to "Reed Organ" is shown in voice 4 in the top screenshot to the left).

- Keyboard support - Consult the graphic below to see the functions you can access from the keyboard or by using Graffiti hand writing. You can now exit the song, add rests, or change duration tools from the keyboard or Graffiti.

- Follow note entry - Song will scroll to keep up with notes being entered on the piano, entered using graffiti or entered on a keyboard (like the on Treo).

- Card Launch - NotePad can now be installed on a memory card (like an SD card in most current models). Both NotePad and its database (mMusicDB.pdb) should be installed into the "/Palm/Launcher" directory on the card (this is the default for all applications).

- Grid Screen Fix - No longer fills measures with rests; only adds needed rests as you draw.

- Song Scroll Bar - Quickly navigate to any measure in the song (shown in both screen shots to the left).

- Directional Pad - Use the left/right controls on your handheld/phone to scroll through a song (up/down still transposes notes).

- Select Color - On handhelds/phones with color screens, selected notes will be colored red (shown in top screenshot to the left, first three notes in voice 1 are selected).

- Library Scroll Bar - Quickly find a song anywhere in the category.

Should be fantastic when it is done, and hopefully that'll be soon.

MIDI day on Palm Sounds : Music Studio 1.0

I was quite excited when this came out and I bought it too, but I have to say it was a bit of a let down. It arrived in July 2003 and there doesn't seem to have been an update since.

In effect it was a simple sequencer using GM sounds where available. I used it on my Sony Clie NX73V, which was fine as it had a GM chip in it already.

Here's the blurb anyway. Sorry, no screen shots.

Music Studio is a unique polyphonic music composer that allows you to create beautiful melodies for your Alarms, Mobile phone ringtones, and Midi files for your PC.

With enhanced sound (Sony Clies), Music Studio utilises the 100s of instruments and multitrack features to create awesome original compositions on your device. These can be imported to your PC or even beamed to your Nokia/Siemens mobile phone.

Devices without enhanced sound can still enjoy the rich features and great graphics of this Music composer, listening to their polyphonic creations through their mobile phones or PC!

Music Studio has a great special introductory price of $12.95!

Features include:

Create & edit polyphonic melodies!
Compose upto 8 different tracks per melody!
Over 100 instruments to utilise!
Save & manage alarms on your alarm database!
Import melodies as Midis to your PC!
Beam melodies as ringtones to your mobile!
Convert each track to standard RTTTL format!
Great graphics
Easy to use, for beginners, amateurs and professionals

MIDI day on Palm Sounds : ittyMIDI

I had a brief play with ittyMIDI a long time ago when I had a Sony clie. The nice thing about the clie was that it had an on board midi chip so you instant access to GM sounds. The down side was that Sony had not implemented the Palm Sound API and so you needed a third party hack to run things like Bhajis Loops.

Anyway, this is what the ittyMIDI site has to say about the software.

ittyMIDI Player converts your Palm OS® compatible hand held into a full featured MIDI player and will transform the way you practice or perform. To see for yourself, download the free demo today. ittyMIDI Player works on many Palm OS devices. Please check the compatibility list to see whether your model applies.

Most handhelds require an external synthesizer to generate polyphonic MIDI, although a few models have built-in synthesizers. Again, please see the compatibility list for details.

Sony Internal Synthesizer Support
BeatPlus Support
Palm OS 5 Support
Color Support
MIDI OUT to External Synth
MIDI THRU from External Controller
Works with Swivel SG20 and Tsunamidi synths
Works with Handiclip
Count In Option
Disable Alarms Option
Practice Loops
Program (instrument) Mapping
Channel Mapping
GM to non-GM Mapping


MIDI day on Palm Sounds : MixPad from MiniMusic

I can't wait for this product to come out. It really interests me, especially the pro-version. I love the idea that I will be able to play and remix MIDI tracks on my palm.

That is not to say that there aren't already MIDI player apps available, there are. But none that allow you the control that MixPad offers.

You can use Bhajis Loops to import MIDI files that's true, and it works very well with them, but I look forward to the simplicity of an application built for working with MIDI on the Palm OS, and also that can integrate with the other minimusic applications.

Here's what MiniMusic say about it:

MixPad is a full featured MIDI file player/recorder/editor. It will let you take any raw MIDI file with you on your Palm and play on any connected MIDI hardware. MixPad differs from any other Palm MIDI file applications with powerful graphic support for simple viewing and quick editing.
Ideal for real performance situations, MixPad uses the Palm hardware buttons for playback control, allows you to lock songs to prevent unintended changes, and gives you a powerful real-time mixer interface to control channel volumes, panning, and solos and mutes for every track during playback. The main display gives smooth scrolling of all MIDI data (including velocities and controller data in the lower window) and full zooming functionality. We are also building in a full range piano controller to play along with the current file or to add a new track to an existing file, and some slider controllers as well that can be assigned to any MIDI controller value (pitch bend, volume, vibrato, etc.).

Here's a nice screen shot.



And another

Recording Gear News: Zoom PS04 Digital Palm Top Recorder

Recording Gear News: Zoom PS04 Digital Palm Top Recorder

A good brief summary of the Zoom PS04. I'm still thinking about that new Boss Micro-BR, but my friend Paul tells me that the Zoom is better and has more features.

Matrixsynth: Z4 Music and Griff - Pocket Samplers

Matrixsynth: Z4 Music and Griff - Pocket Samplers

I have to take out some time to do a decent review of Griff, but this is a good start. I never got Z4 Music. Perhaps I'll get it soon?

Ditch Digger Digs Ditches: Make Palm a portable sequencer and sampler

Ditch Digger Digs Ditches: Make Palm a portable sequencer and sampler

Another little review of Bhajis Loops. I'm amazed at how many people have raved about Bhajis Loops and taken the time to review it.

Tungsten|E Guy's Blog: Music Creation on the Palm Platform

Tungsten|E Guy's Blog: Music Creation on the Palm Platform

Good reviews of Bhajis Loops / Microbe and other music software like Psytexx. Definitely worth checking out this blog.

MIDI control via bluetooth

This little app for Mac has to be one of the coolest proof of concepts ever. I've used it with Garageband and it is very stable and robust.

Check it out.

Brilliant tutorial on Time-Stretching with Bhajis Loops

I thought I should post something about this excellent tutorial on Bhajis Loops. It shows a couple of things. One is just how versatile an application it is, and secondly, how clever the community is that uses it.

SG20

The SG20 was the very first module I got. It fitten onto the base of my palm IIIx and was slightly smaller than a packet of cigarettes. It was a GM module that had a midi in/out box that you could attach to it, although I never used this.

The quality of the sounds was excellent, and I always enjoyed using it, but as with all these things you get to a point where you say, actually it is too big / cumbersome / too many bits of kit to lug about, and that's what happened. In a way I wish I'd kept it, but I know I wouldn't use it at all.

MIDI Modules

When I started with music on PDAs I had to use a MIDI modules for anything like decent sounds. One of my favourite modules was for the Visor PDA which had proprietory modules called springboards. The module was about the size of a book of matches, it had 128 midi sounds on board, and a headphone jack. It powered itself from the visor PDA. Nice.

The sound wasn't bad at all really. The module responded to MiniMusic NotePad and BeatPad software.

The visor was a cool device and the modules were fun too. Shame they didn't stick around.

More on modules soon...

http://life-electronic.net/blog/?p=109#respond

Interesting blog

This looks like an interesting blog to watch...

Good BeatPad 1.1 Review

A nice review of the latest version of Beatpad I found whilst trawling...

Malleable Mobile Music: Social Computing driving New Content Forms

Interesting stuff here. It seems a bit old, but never mind, maybe something will come of it.

http://www.csl.sony.fr/~atau/mobilemusic/

Why make music on a palm device then?

It is a question I can see in people's heads when I tell them that that's how I make music, or how I use my PDA. They look at me with that "Why would you want to do that look", and it is a good question I suppose.

Put simply it is easier for me to be able to carry around my entire studio in one place rather (my bag), and make music wherever I am, and whenever I want.

Having children means you spend a lot of time sitting in a car waiting for them at some party, activity, club etc. That time always used to be a creative wasteland for me. Now it isn't. I can use it even if I only have 15 minutes I can work away quickly and quietly and still pack up in time to pick up my children. It makes sense.

Of course, it is not like it is a field that has a huge following. It is somewhat isolating, but it does serve me.

BeatPad 1.1 Review

BeatPad was one of the first pieces of musical software I purchased for the palm platform. I used it on my first palm, a IIIx which I personally upgraded to 8mb, but that's another story. At the time, I thought it was totally amazing, which in fact it is still, it has just got better and better. In many ways it hasn't changed very much, but from a different perspective it has changed vastly.

Essentially BeatPad is a simple sequencer for the palm. It has a single monophonic music sequence and a drum pattern editor. It arranges patterns into four banks, A through D, and each bank has 8 patterns in it.

In version 1.1 you can tell the app to move from one pattern to the next, but you can't give it specific instructions like "A1 four times, then A2 etc". I'm sure that this sort of thing will come in a later version. For now you can tell it to play the patterns in order, and that's fine. You can copy patterns too.

Within each pattern you can adjust parameters for each note in the pattern, such as velocity, duration, pitch etc, and you can choose instruments for your tracks too.

It isn't going to make you a pop star, but it is good fun with a very interesting interface, and combined with SoundPad it is a powerful combination.

http://www.minimusic.com/beatpad.html

Bugband

My children have been using this for ages. It is a wonderfully simple game.

I have always thought that the best games for children are the ones where they learn something without actually knowing that they were learning anything. That's what bugband does. Notes appear on a stave as a series of bugs. They crawl along and you have to tap the right note on the keyboard that corresponds with the note that they are crawling on.

It couldn't be more simple, but I've watched my daughter play with this for at least half an hour at a time, and be really pleased when she gets up a level.

Really worth a try for children and adults too.

Link: http://www.minimusic.com/bugband.html

Microbe 1.3: A Perfect Musical Sketch book

I thought I'd write about Microbe today. Microbe was the first piece of software I bought from Chocopoolp, and I think the first thing that was released from there. It is a fantastic application for jotting down ideas quickly. It is really about making electronic music, but it can be adapted to do interesting things...

What's in Microbe?

- 2 Mono synths
- Drum machine
- Effects
- X-Y Pad
- Export to Bhajis Loops (for when you want to expand your ideas)
- Render to WAV!

How do I use Microbe?

Usually I use microbe when I want to play around for a minute or two with ideas and not get hung up on being technical and having to worry about settings and the like. That's a nice thing about Microbe. Things are simple and straightforward. I like that. When something is done in Microbe it can then be moved out into Bhajis Loops, or if that's really it it can stay there and be rendered to a wav file right on your device.

If it needs to get more attention then it can be exported to Bhajis and from there you can do almost anything with it.

Mobile Music Technology Workshop 2

I read some of the materials from this site. It is quite academic, and really aimed at simple end applications for mass markets. Not that that is a bad thing of course.

One of the applications discusses mobile music making collaboratively. I've always liked the idea of real time collaboration using mobile media. There was an interesting proof of concept on the Bhajis Garden site (click the title for the link).

The idea was to have a bluetooth transport within Bhajis Loops that would allow users to collaborate and interact. Sadly this never made it into a build of Bhajis Loops.

But would people use it? Is it a killer app? I don't think so. I just can't see how it would work, especially with essentially non-musical types. If it was a killer app then people would have found a way to do it already.