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.Download on the App Store
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…