Fugue Machine For iPad Like ‘Bach In A Box’


Alexandernaut, creator of Arpeggionome, has introduced a new iPad app, Fugue Machine that they describe as ‘Bach in a box’

Fugue Machine is a tool inspired by composition techniques used in classical music, from Baroque to Serialism and Minimalism.  The developer’s goal was to create a tool that lets you manipulate a melody’s speed, direction, and pitch, as well as play multiple variations of the melody simultaneously.

Fugue Machine implements this by reimagining one of the basic elements of music sequencers: the piano roll.

The Multi-Playhead Piano Roll

Alexandernaut calls Fugue machine ‘the world’s first multi-playhead piano roll’.

It lets you create a musical sequence and play it back with up to four playheads at once — with control over each playback head’s speed, direction, and pitch.

Here’s a video intro:

Here’s an example that uses Bach as the starting point:


  • Style: play the sequence forward, reverse, forward-reverse, or reverse-forward
  • Tempo: speed of of the playhead relative to master tempo.
  • Start: step at which playhead starts playing the sequence.
  • Invert Switch: if enabled, the sequence will be harmonically inverted. In other words, the highest pitch becomes the lowest pitch, and the lowest pitch becomes the highest pitch.
  • Octave: transpose up and down by octaves.
  • Pitch: transpose up and down by single notes.
  • Velocity: loudness range of each playhead.
  • Fugure Machine lets you control other iPad music apps, hardware MIDI devices, and computer software
  • Shift-slider lets you transpose the entire sequence up-and-down

Fugue Machine is available for US $9.99 in the App Store.

9 thoughts on “Fugue Machine For iPad Like ‘Bach In A Box’

  1. Cool that it has several clock factors, including dotted & triplets. Also cool that it has MIDI outs (all one channel, currently, but will be different channels per playback wiper).

    I think the process will involve lots of trial and error, and not really working the way real fugue composition does; but even as a learning tool it is very cool.

  2. I played with it for a while but there is no facility to enter your own scales or series. Not too sure how that makes this tool inspired by Serialism. Need more than another diatonic sequencer. The idea is nice but not for me.

    1. Yes! Custom-scales and constrain to scale are absolute musts. This way, the PITCH setting will transpose by scale steps, which is critical.

      Having a randomize and randomize depth on that PITCH control, (with the constrain to scale) would complete the picture.

  3. Got this last night and had a blast playing with it. Very clever, but also very straightforward and instantly satisfying to jam with.

  4. I would love to download and try to use it as soon as possible. I read some commended and though that able to use with Baroque Style only or able to use it with new language like Shostakovich, or Stravinsky, or more further like Bela Bartok ? Anyone have any idea or experiences please .

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