Audiobus: Use your music apps together.

What is Audiobus?Audiobus is an award-winning music app for iPhone and iPad which lets you use your other music apps together. Chain effects on your favourite synth, run the output of apps or Audio Units into an app like GarageBand or Loopy, or select a different audio interface output for each app. Route MIDI between apps — drive a synth from a MIDI sequencer, or add an arpeggiator to your MIDI keyboard — or sync with your external MIDI gear. And control your entire setup from a MIDI controller.

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Audiobus is the app that makes the rest of your setup better.

‘Industry’ standard scales

It has struck me for a while that in this wonderful world of music apps there are lots of standard ways of doing things with the technology, the most obvious one being MIDI but perhaps not so many standards regarding the musical side of things.

The one that jumped out at me recently is the handling of musical scales in apps…

Many recent apps e.g. Atom 2 and ChordJam to name 2 favourites have extensive lists of scales but they never really match. Some examples from these and other apps follow (and I know Tonality is targeting a slightly different area but it is a useful reference)

Coverage: Tonality has 108 scales, Atom 2 has 88, ChordJam has 42, GeoShred has 43 (+ squillions of Indian scales), Fugue Machine has 17.
Order: Tonality has Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Locrian. Atom 2 is Lydian, Mixolydian, Dorian, Phrygian, Locrian. Chordjam is Dorian, Mixolydian, Phrygian, Lydian, Locrian.
Scope: Obviously most of the ‘normal’ scales are common to all apps but if I wanted to play along with Arabian A from Chordjam I would struggle to find a match in the other apps. Similarly Yemen from GeoShred, Locrian #6 from Atom 2.
Terminology: Sometimes the same scales are present but under different names e.g. it turns out that Half Diminished in Tonality is Locrian #2 (can’t find a natural symbol!) in Atom 2.
Grouping: Some apps group scales e.g. Atom 2, some don’t.
Presentation: Some apps give the degrees in the scales e.g. Tonality, some the notes e.g. Tonality and Atom 2, some neither.
Searching: Some apps allow searching e.g. Atom 2 and Tonality, some don’t.

What would be great is if a few of the fantastic developers of these apps could get together somehow and agree on sets of scales , naming, presentation etc to include in the apps. Perhaps different levels e.g A Core set and then a level 2 set, level 3 etc gradually increasing the scope. So apps could be said to be level 3 compliant as part of the sales pitch.

The process of choosing which scales to include in an app, naming, presentation, research etc must take up a lot of time for each individual developer so eventually the use of standard scales would save everybody time and effort plus make the life of us, the users of these apps, a lot easier.

Obviously everything I have said about scales could be equally applied to chords, rhythms and possibly other aspects of music making apps.

End of ramblings…

Comments

  • Will MIDI 2.0 fix any of this?

  • A better solution is user-defined scales as in Animoog, Model 15, etc.

  • Yeah Animoog has the optimal scales implementation in this comparison.

    I never touch lists of preset scales, although I can imagine why they are useful sometimes.

  • @OscarSouth said:
    I never touch lists of preset scales, although I can imagine why they are useful sometimes.

    Same here - I just play whatever notes I need, then I never run into this issue.

  • @LinearLineman , not sure Midi2.0 helps but no expert...
    @Wrlds2ndBstGeoshredr , @OscarSouth , @michael_m , I think user defined scales are simultaneously essential and the icing on the cake if that makes any sense. For those of us (like me) that are going through a massive musical learning curve the availability of preset scales is both useful and educational.

  • Midi 2.0 makes sending midi for microtonal scales easier. It does nothing for standardizing scales, scale names, grouping, or any presentation or musical theory at all.

  • wimwim
    edited June 6

    Nice idea / dream, but I very much doubt that any effort to organize developers in that manner has any chance of success.

    If it's important to you @GeoTony, then why not pick the scale filter app that is the best for you, then simply play through that app only to every synth, with the synths themselves set to the chromatic scale.

    If you think about it, that's a far more efficient way to go about it anyway. Change the scale once, and you'll play in key on every synth you point it at, without having to trek through them all to set the scale.

  • @Wim, You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope some day the developers will join us And the scales will be as one…

  • @GeoTony said:
    @Wim, You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope some day the developers will join us And the scales will be as one…

    🤣 Bravo!

  • wimwim
    edited June 6

    It wasn't until the very waning days of the Third Kingdom that it was discovered that Gandolf mistakenly translated "nazg" to "ring" from the evil tongue of Mordor. A better rendering would have been "scale" according to most scholars of the time.

    Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

    "One Scale to rule them all, One Scale to find them, One Scale to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them."

    Beware what you ask. We are dealing with forces dark and powerful here.

  • Fair enough, I'll try not to make a hobbit of it...

  • touché

  • @GeoTony said:
    @Wim, You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope some day the developers will join us And the scales will be as one…

    Imagine no progressions, I wonder if you can…

  • Idea: use the normative powers of a excellent and comprehensive open source software. If a dev or a group of devs would create an extensive open source scales library for multiple programming languages and host it on github then it is very probable that it would be adopted by a huge number of music software developers. As a dev you usually don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

  • @Wrlds2ndBstGeoshredr said:
    A better solution is user-defined scales as in Animoog, Model 15, etc.

    This.

  • @GeoTony said:
    @LinearLineman , not sure Midi2.0 helps but no expert...
    @Wrlds2ndBstGeoshredr , @OscarSouth , @michael_m , I think user defined scales are simultaneously essential and the icing on the cake if that makes any sense. For those of us (like me) that are going through a massive musical learning curve the availability of preset scales is both useful and educational.

    GeoShred is the king. Every standard scale you could ever want in the menu, user-defined scales, and custom tuning for all. No other iOS app beats it as a controller. The only thing it lacks is velocity.

  • Absolutely @krassmann , I was a dev, I did not want to reinvent the wheel, I wanted to invent something new!

  • @krassmann said:
    Idea: use the normative powers of a excellent and comprehensive open source software. If a dev or a group of devs would create an extensive open source scales library for multiple programming languages and host it on github then it is very probable that it would be adopted by a huge number of music software developers. As a dev you usually don’t want to reinvent the wheel.

    Scala

  • Thanks for that @Wrlds2ndBstGeoshredr , I think in essence this is what I was suggesting / looking for.
    Having said that, when I look at the two apps that it lists as using Scala that I happen to have i.e. Synthmaster One and ThumbJam I am struggling to see any commonality in the lists of scales... But that might be my lack of knowledge, especially in the case of Synthmaster where I am struggling to even find Major, Minor, Dorian etc.
    I wonder how many Devs are aware of it?
    Also, how many are aware and have decided to plough their own furrow for some reason?

  • @GeoTony said:
    Thanks for that @Wrlds2ndBstGeoshredr , I think in essence this is what I was suggesting / looking for.
    Having said that, when I look at the two apps that it lists as using Scala that I happen to have i.e. Synthmaster One and ThumbJam I am struggling to see any commonality in the lists of scales... But that might be my lack of knowledge, especially in the case of Synthmaster where I am struggling to even find Major, Minor, Dorian etc.
    I wonder how many Devs are aware of it?
    Also, how many are aware and have decided to plough their own furrow for some reason?

    I think the idea is that you load Scala on your pc, make or choose a scale, then export it in a format that apps can read. There are other apps that read these formats besides the two apps you mention. I think the recent AD synths, Sunrizer, and others can do this. I don’t know of a comprehensive list though.

  • edited June 7

    Being that there is an unlimited number of scales, an industrial standard makes no sense.

    It would be like having standard patch presets across different synths. There are just too many possibilities (essentially infinite, especially once you get outside of 12 tone temperaments) and it's entirely subjective which ones are the useful or "good"ones.

    Scala, although showing its age, is still the finest scale software out there.

    Oddsound released a desktop plugin that retunes, and syncs everything to just about any type of scale (a true microtonal powerhouse!)

    Wish something like this existed in iOS! Closest thing is Tuneup, but too few devs have implemented it.

  • @michael_m said:

    @GeoTony said:
    @Wim, You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one, I hope some day the developers will join us And the scales will be as one…

    Imagine no progressions, I wonder if you can…

    👏

  • edited June 7

    @palms said:
    Being that there is an unlimited number of scales, an industrial standard makes no sense.

    This.

    And until devs understand how .scl files work (gotta include .kbm support or offer a way to assign the root note), most of the “microtonal” synths on iOS will only play in the key of C.

    .tun files are a bit more efficient, but for some reason, including the .scl files from the scala archive is as far as most get.

    So many wonderful synth apps. Most stuck with the same 12-note scale.

    :cry:

    Wait. Imma leave this here:

    A short list of scales and temperaments

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