I’ve completed my round-up of some of the most compelling music creation applications coming to iPad at or near launch:

iPad Apps for Music Making: What’s Coming, The Bigger Picture

The revised post includes some new videos and apps introduced over the weekend, so check out the full line-up. My thinking was that putting everything in one place makes it easier to find, and to get a sense of the … well, the bigger picture.

The iPad DAW? Perhaps the most intriguing addition is StudioTrack from Sonoma (pictured at top), which looks most like a traditional DAW, but with bigger, friendlier, finger-tip friendly touch controls. Through Sonoma’s AudioPaste capability, you’ll be able to pull sounds from other apps and paste them into this environment for mixing.

The one, free app you need to get is clearly Richard Lawler’s PatternMusic, a unique way of generating looped, instrumental music ideas. I love the thought he’s put into the UI, which has yielded some unusual interface concepts, and his hand-drawn sketch above (lifted from his blog.)

Considering UI design: Speaking of UIs for slates, David Battino of Looptastic developer Sound Trends offers some more thoughts on “flattening” user interfaces which could be relevant to UI design for other apps, too — even beyond the iPad. Check out the video below.

Seeing the interface in action made me realize that adding space can have a significant impact on flow. I think it was Julian Colbeck who floated the great analogy that programming a Wavestation SR was like trying to paint your landing through your mail slot. Beyond the boost in performance, just increasing the space should make a surprising difference.

Hardware restrictions – more details: On the lest drool-inducing, more unpleasant side of our iPad coverage, I’ve gone into greater detail – to whatever extent possible – with the discussion of hardware restrictions on the platform. The situation is convoluted and complex, and researching this topic is challenging, as the limitations on developers are written in legal code that Apple then requires developers to keep confidential. But the short answer is, if you’re hoping for flexible hardware input and output via either Bluetooth or the dock connector, don’t get your hopes up. For the more technical answer, see the updated story:

Of MIDI, iPhones and iPads, and a Restrictive Future for Hardware?

Finally, if you’re curious to reflect on touch as a musical input – for better and for worse – here’s a look at Smule’s latest app, playing a familiar tune.

  • divbyzero

    Dangit — Ge beat me to it! Just a couple of weeks ago I had the idea for a spiral shaped touchscreen keyboard. My plan was that an octave of pitch difference would correspond to 360 degrees of rotational offset. This would make it playable by muscle memory (angle would correspond to scale degree regardless of octave) and isomorphic (rotate the whole device to transpose). I was also toying with the notion of making the inner rings of the spiral wider (concentrically) than the outer ones, so that the higher octaves wouldn't be so much harder to press than the lower ones; optimally each note would get an equal amount of screen real estate. I've been planning to implement it for Android, but haven't gotten to it yet.

  • RichardL

    There this Spiral Piano visualization from a couple years ago:


  • Thanks, Peter.

    What's also striking is that all the demo videos to date have been based on screencasts of the simulator, so developers couldn't show multitouch. Now that we have actual hardware, I'm sure new performance gestures will emerge. I'm also looking forward to more elastic interfaces, where the performer can move controls to where they make the most sense.

  • There are some GrooveMaker videos that are nice which are on an actual iPad the day of release (including the Free version):

    GrooveMaker iPad Free

    GrooveMaker iPad Hip-Hop

    GrooveMaker iPad House

  • Henry Lowengard

    Pattern music is very nicely designed, even if it's not too much different musically from good old 8-bit trackers.

    For fans of the Spiral Piano, but looking for something less event-y more Drone-y and microtonal, I humbly submit my own Droneo, which looks nice enough on the iPad and will look better when I upgrade it for iPad resolution.

  • Stij

    @divbyzero: Holy crap, I had almost the exact same idea a few months ago! With the isomorphic layout and everything. Creepy.

  • bring on the real news dammit.
    you could just make a separate blog called handhelds and get it over with already.

  • Thank you for posting wonderful article

  • barry

    enough of the ipad !

  • s ford

    I wonder what the progress of iPad's music making apps are going to do to the Jazzmutant Lemur.

    In the UK, for the price a Lemur you can buy a iPad and 15 ounces of the finest weed. I know which option which would be the one I would take….

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  • ed

    hopefully this will bring down prices for touch screen

  • HEXnibble

    I don't understand the hateful comments against the iPad coverage on here. It's a real device with many real developers making real apps for making music so it is "real news" that deserves to be covered. Just because you don't like it for whatever reason, doesn't mean others won't find it useful.

  • JavaJ

    Looks like he upped the price from free to 1.99. Guess he saw the free publicity and had to make some $$$.

  • Luke

    As a big fan of the groovemaker apps from IK multimedia on the iphone/touch, I am pretty excited about the ipad. The new groovemaker apps for the ipad look great, having all the controls for the 8 tracks on one screen is a god send. The bigger screen is just what was needed, far easier control over the live performance with groovemaker.

    And after all that playing with GM I can then sit back and now watch HD movies and TV shows on it!!! Looking farward to the ipads release in the UK

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