Can Your Mac Do This? No Can Do

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Windows 8 is not the hit that Microsoft had hoped for.

It’s had lukewarm reception with tech analysts, when it was released PC sales declined, it’s forced Microsoft to scale back its hardware ambitions and, most importantly, Synthtopia readers have greeted it with a collective ‘meh’.

So, why are we still talking about Windows 8?

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Giant Prototype Windows 8 Multi-Touch Instrument

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Veteran multi-touch synth developer Rob Fielding (Mugician, Cantor) has a new project, a multi-touch for Windows 8.

As you can see from the demo video, Windows 8 allows for large multi-touch controllers – which could lead to a new category of instruments and synths for electronic musicians.

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Sneak Preview – Geo Synth Controlling NLogSynth PRO, Via Virtual MIDI Ports

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Remember the recent posts on the Open Music App Collaboration Manifesto, MIDI instruments on iOS & the future of iOS music?

The explosion of interest in developing ways of getting iOS music apps to work more effectively with each other is starting to pay off, with more and more apps supporting “virtual MIDI ports”. Virtual MIDI ports let you “patch together” synths and controller apps on a single multitasking device.

Here, mvpadrini demonstrates two iOS apps working together, Rob Fielding & Kevin Chartier Geo Synth and Rolf Wohrmann’s NLogSynth Pro.

Note that this is a sneak preview of upcoming versions of the two apps. 

A Microtonal Synth Orgy

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Sunday Synth Jam: Developer Rob Fielding riffs on The Orgy, a track from The Conan The Barbarian soundtrack.

Fielding is using Pythagoras, a new microtonal iOS synth instrument, still in development.

“This thing is actually playable,” notes Fielding. “About as playable as Mugician.”

via rrr00bb

Pythagorean Tuning On An iPad

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Deverloper Rob Fielding demonstrates his implementation of Pythagorean Tuning on his Pythagoras synthesizer, now in development for the iPad.

Pythagorean tuning is based on the idea of going around the circle of fifths, tuning intervals in perfect fifths. While this creates pleasing fifths, things get interesting as you go all the way around the circle of perfect fifths and octaves aren’t in tune. This has traditionally been accommodated by including one interval, the “wolf interval” that is left out of tune.

Here’s what Fielding has to say about Pythagorean Tuning in Pythagoras:

When I first drew out the just circle of fifths, I noticed that this was extremely close to a 53 equal note per octave tuning. This allows the strings to be tuned in exact Just fourths to each other and have the tuning be close (to the pixel) with the harmonic series.

The point of tuning systems is to closely match harmonic series, of which Pythagorean tunings (circle of Just 5ths) is the simplest and most ancient. This allows you to play fretlessly without a lot of inharmonic slop, because the fret width is about the same size as the inaccuracy of the touch itself. In Mugician, fretlessness was to the pixel which has inaccuracies of its own. In Pythagoras, the tuning is sub-pixel so that each spot is some reasonable ratio with fifths and octaves as prime factors (ie: 2^n * 3^m).

Using the iPad as a multi-touch software instrument allows for dynamic pitch assignment, which introduces both dynamic scale and dynamic tuning possibilities, not possible on traditional instruments.

via rrr00bb

Microtonal + iPad + Keytar

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When it comes to getting negative feedback from readers, nothing seems to match our posts about these five topics:

  • iPad music software;
  • Microtonal music;
  • Keytars;
  • AutoTune; and
  • Anything to do with Jordan Rudess.

Developer Rob Fielding’s latest Pythagoras software synth demo features a triumvirate of the things that many Synthtopia readers love to hate: iPads, microtonal music & keytars.

The keytar issue is compounded by the fact that Fielding’s instrument is actually an iPad-tar. Continue reading

Free Electric Guitar Synthesizer For The iPad, Mugician

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iPad Music Software: Mugician for the iPad (App Store link) is a free electric guitar synthesizer app, targeting guitarists with real-world distorted sound.

Here’s what the dev eloper has to say about Mugician:

You can play fretless on it. It helps you visualize scales, including quarter-tone scales which are impossible on a fretted guitar. Visit the web link, and post recordings for me to collect.

It requires and rewards practice. There are no songbooks or chord books, just what a real guitarist needs to play microtonal music in a keyboard-like format. Simple and reliable to always have in your backpack when so you can jack into the local PA system without bringing any gear with you.

If you’ve tried Mugician, leave a comment with your thoughts on it!

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