New iPad App, sqsl White Keys, Lets You Get Freaky With Your MIDI Keyboard Controller

Developer Michal Macura let us know that he has introduced a new iPad app, sqsl White Keys, that’s lets you interactively remap the notes that the white keys on your MIDI keyboard control.

Macura is the creator of sqsl Circle geometry-based MIDI sequencer for iPad, and sql Canvas, an app that turns your iPad into a ‘control voltage playground’ for your modular synth.

sqsl White Keys is a MIDI note processor. It receives MIDI notes played on white keys of the keyboard (CDEFGAB), remaps them to other notes and sends them out. Each note of input can be remapped to any of the 12 notes of the scale. There is also an integrated scale pattern generator for quick access to most used heptatonic scales and their 7 modes.

The app could be used as a performance aid, or as a compositional tool for exploring new tonalities and harmonies.

Important notes:

  • sqsl White Keys is a MIDI processing app and does not produce any sounds.
  • sqsl White Keys is a standalone application.
  • sqsl White Keys does not produce MIDI notes on its own – it needs to receive notes from other MIDI device such as keyboard or sequencer.
  • sqsl White Keys works only in fullscreen/portrait mode.

Pricing and Availability:

sqsl White Keys is available now for 5.99€.

10 thoughts on “New iPad App, sqsl White Keys, Lets You Get Freaky With Your MIDI Keyboard Controller

  1. There is an app like this for Mac & Windows called Autotonic. But it goes way beyond because it lets you map different keys and scales to the black keys for real time switching of what’s laid out on the white keys.

    1. I added that feature to my wish before I noticed it in your comment.

      I remember checking out AutoTonic at some point. That ability to switch layouts in realtime.

      I see they offer a few Subscription options, and a “Full Version” as well as a “Lifetime Version” ranging from 17-94 Euros plus tax.

      What is a little off-putting to me is just that the website seems a bit dated, and it’s really difficult to see at a glance how frequently it is updated. The images don’t strike me as very user friendly.

      I wonder if Scaler 2 allows you to switch things with keys like that.

  2. On one hand, it has the potential to be a fun and useful app, but it has some frustrating limitations, and a few bugs.

    A white note can play ANY one pitch; so no chords. There’s a “Make” section that doesn’t let you make anything, that I can tell. Seems only to let you choose from a few preset scales & modes. There are some tricky bits of coding going on, so I think after I get to know it more it will make more sense.

    One little bug is that the note labels are wrong in some spots. On one side it shows Ab and the other side shows A# but it acts like they’re the same.

    It would be cool if all 12 notes could be remapped.
    It would be cool if one of the map options for a key would be to load a different note set.
    I was going to suggest that it would be great to have it work with chords, but I think that’s beyond what this app is designed for. Scaler does that really well.

  3. I bought it, and though it’s only a few dollars, I kinda regret it.

    I really like the concept of remapping– and in particular, triggering custom chords. I’ve bought a few of these things only to be let down by the lack of customization.

    In this case, it has a narrow feature set, and has some kinks to be worked out.

    Not super versatile, and seems to lack connectivity. Perhaps there’ll be some development.

  4. There is also another fun and limitless tool, that lets one play any scale, dynamically change scales on the fly, go out of scale and back at any moment and much more. It also learns and develops every time one uses it and with each new usage it gets more and more complex and sophisticated. However it seems to be dramatically underappreciated and overlooked these days. I’m talking about the human brain.

    1. I respect your point, and agree– especially with the implication that “shortcuts” deprive one of truly valuable learning opportunities. I will also confess that I waste far too much time musing about new tools. And I too cherish “the old ways”.

      However, the ability to remap notes to different keys is nothing new. And the reasons to want to do so go beyond the laziness of not wanting to practice or whatever. There are both practical reasons and legitimately artistic/creative reasons. Perhaps one can employ one’s amazing human brain to consider what those reasons might possibly be.

  5. I wish Aum included a built-in MIDI note-remap/chord-trigger– where you could assign any number of notes with individual velocities per note to any key– and (as we mentioned above) the ability to assign a “special” function to a key to trigger the loading of another set. I know it is a can-of-worms, especially with regard to stuck notes– but that could be addressed with some careful internal rules.

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