Ableton’s Push is the most innovative new instrument to hit the market in years. So we decided to place one in the hands of the world’s most innovative keyboard player: Jordan Rudess. See how Dream Theater’s synth wizard pushes Push to the limit!
When we proposed this course to our partners at Ableton, we wanted to see what magic might happen when a master musician/composer met Push for the first time. So we sent a pre-release version of Push to Jordan Rudess and gave him week to learn it before our camera crew appeared a his front door. We set up a video shoot –in his technology filled music room– and set the stage to let Jordan share his experience and expertise in creating and performing with Push.
The course is available AskVideo Library Pass subscribers now. A HD download is available from macProVideo.com for $19.50 USD.
Wizdom Music has released Geo Synthesizer is a musical instrument and MIDI controller for iOS.
A collaboration of Wizdom Music’s Jordan Rudess and Kevin Chartier (MorphWiz, SampleWiz) and Rob Fielding (Mugician), Geo Synthesizer is an incredibly expressive musical instrument specifically created for a multitouch surface.
Jordan says: “Since touching a preliminary piano keyboard on an iPhone screen and realizing the amazing potential for musical expression on a multitouch device, I have been inspired to create next-generation musical instruments for iOS. Geo Synthesizer is a dream come true in many ways. It is the fastest truly playable iOS instrument that I have put my hands on to date. I can fly through the range of an instrument while expanding on the kind of advanced pitch control we introduced in MorphWiz. As someone who grew up with synthesizers, I can tell you that pitch bending has never been this good!
Geo Synthesizer features
Ability to load waveforms from SampleWiz presets.
Octave rounding for effortless soloing over large ranges.
Whammy slider with absolute and relative modes.
12ET, 24ET, 53ET, and 665ET temperament options.
Mono, string, and full-polyphony modes.
Tuning and transposition controls.
Snap speed control to affect how quickly the instrument pulls notes in tune.
Playing surface options for number of rows and columns on screen.
Octave and fifth harmonics synthesis options to rich, organ-like sounds.
Gain control to add distortion to the sound.
FM and touch FM controls for timbal variation.
Mono out for use with guitar amps.
Sine, sawtooth, square, and custom (SampleWiz) wave options.
Attack and release controls.
Synthesis body control.
Lowpass filter with resonance.
MIDI output with polyphonic note bending and multiple configuration options to allow compatibility with a wide range of hardware and software synthesizers.
Performance menu lets you make your own custom menu so all the controls you need are always right at your fingertips.
40 presets carefully selected by Jordan Rudess, including patches from Jordan’s personal sound library.
Geo Synthesizer for iOS is available to purchase for $9.99 USD.
Jordan Rudess’ Wizdom Music has released SampleWiz, a sampler music app for iOS.
Jordan says: In creating this instrument I wanted to create something that would appeal to the sonic explorer in all of us. Creating a sampler for iOS devices has allowed us to push the boundaries of traditional sampling instruments.
From playing a selection of my signature sounds on the SampleWiz keyboard (JR lead anyone?) to getting up close and personal with sounds by playing directly on the waveform screen, our mission was to blow your mind, put a smile on your face, and expand your creativity.
In creating SampleWiz, we have created partnerships with leading sound developers in addition to my personally selected onboard presets.
Choose from three different sampling modes: classic, granular, and modern:
Classic – the traditional method of sampling where the sound will speed up and slow down as you go higher or lower than the recorded pitch.
Granular – Wizdom Music’s own take on a granular synthesis engine. Adjust grain size and speed while the entire range of notes maintain the same speed.
Modern – explore new sampling possibilities using Dirac technology to allow formants and time to be adjusted automatically over a device-selected range.
Up to 10 seconds per sample.
Jordan Rudess presets from his private collection.
Resample anything that you play on the playing surface to create all new samples derived from your existing presets!
Three playing surface modes allow you to play on the keyboard, wave-edit screen, and the ADSR window.
Wizdom Music’s Advanced Pitch Rounding for initial attack as well as after a slide.
Every note you play is an independent event allowing powerful, expressive control of pitch and amplitude.
Finger vibrato effect allows you to achieve vibrato even when pitch lock is activated!
Unique visuals for each sampling mode. A glow tracks your fingers and respond to the amount of amplitude of every note you play.
Choose from many different scales and customize your own.
Play your samples forward or reverse!
Looping options include standard looping as well as back-and-forth looping.
Allows trimming of samples.
Unique visualization of the amplitude envelope on the ADSR page.
FX include delay with a choice of tap-tempo, BPM, and seconds control over the rate.
Have two keyboards on the screen, each with its own range and scale!
Unique hold mode where every held note can be in a different synthesis mode!
Share your presets with friends by mailing them as SampleWiz files or standard audio files.
Play directly on the waveform and hear the audio that is right under your finger. Slide each finger separately in any direction to change pitch and position in the sample.
MAPI AudioCopy/AudioPaste allows sharing of audio with top audio apps.
Load your own audio files with iTunes file sharing.
Onboard help screens explain every parameter. Touch the question mark to activate.
SampleWiz for iOS is available to purchase for $9.99 USD.
One of the unique features of the Nerdle kit is the use of touch-sensitive capacitive-sense buttons, made from copper foil pads inside the case. While meeting with the camp directors to prepare these activities, we decided to try linking the raw information from the capacitive sensors to the on-board piezo speaker.
We added two lines of code, uploaded, and jaws dropped. It sounded like the computers of the future were supposed to sound.
In this guest column, we turn to veteran synthesist and music tech expert Jim Aikin. When Jim wants to do digital synthesis, one of the tools to which he turns is a veritable favorite with a direct-line legacy to the beginnings of computer sound. That doesn’t mean Csound hasn’t kept with the times, though, or that it has to be unfriendly. If you’ve been looking for a way to dive into sound and code, this could be an ideal path.
The Chipophone is a homemade 8-bit synthesizer, especially suited for live chiptune playing. It has been built inside an old electronic organ.
All the original tone-generating parts have been disconnected, and the keys, pedals, knobs and switches rerouted to a microcontroller which transforms them into MIDI signals. Those are then parsed by a second microcontroller, which acts as a synthesizer.
The Morphwiz app from Jordan Rudess takes the concept of the Hakan Continuum – which Jordan was also involved with, and applies it to the touchscreen of the iPhone/iPad to create a totally new instrument, while adding some trippy visuals, effects and a healthy synth engine. Dream Theatre are currently on tour with Iron Maiden in the US, we caught up with Jordan the morning after the night before at his hotel while on the road. He gives us an insight into the features and thinking behind the app.
Musikame has a beta of the souncloud dj player, the easiest way to dj your soundcloud tracks, allowing you to mix tracks from SoundCloud.
The soundcloud dj player includes various controls like pitch control, dj fx, looping, etc.
At this stage all the mixing is done automatically by the app itself: the user just picks the tracks and the length of the crossfade between them. While it's not actually possible to beat-match tracks as yet, the software does have pitch control with adjustable range, FX, looping and reverse capabilities, hinting at more advanced functionality in the future.
Create Digital Music has some exclusive photos of Griid, the controller for iPad that offers four fluid ways to navigate clips in your Ableton Live set.
Peter Kirn writes:
The developers of Griid, the Ableton Live controller on iPad created in association with Richie Hawtin, have shared photos and screen captures early with CDM to give us a look at the upcoming app. Just over a decade after its original inception, Ableton Live itself remains a ground-breaking user interface design. Love it or hate it, it’s a benchmark in thinking about how music apps might look.
Griid is compelling in part because it re-imagines how that central Session View and clip launching might work, now in the context of a touch tablet. Personally, I like the results. As on the Lemur, bold, saturated colors and contrast on a black background are central, of course. It’s also nice to see extraneous visual information removed. And for anyone with epic-sized sets of clips in Live, you’ll like the massive overview.
Wizdom Music has released MorphWiz a vertical grid based musical instrument for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad that allows a whole new level of expressive control.
Created by Jordan Rudess and Kevin Chartier, MorphWiz is enjoyable for beginners and seasoned musicians alike. It contains over 50 presets programmed by the wizard himself, Jordan Rudess, to allow for an instantly musical experience from the moment the application is first opened. For more experienced users, a wide array of synthesis, effects, and visual options allow the instrument to be precisely configured to the user’s tastes.
Assign audio waveforms as visual shapes to the grid and morph between them with your fingers on the grid or the accelerometer.
Advanced pitch control allows the player to round the pitch of the initial attack of any note. It also recognizes when your finger stops after a slide, and rounds your notes to the nearest diatonic pitch.
Rounding pitch on initial attack.
Rounding pitch after a slide.
Independent pitch and synthesis control for up to 10 simultaneous notes.
Finger Vibrato Effect (FVE) where you can achieve vibrato even when lock pitch is selected and the pitch is snapping to the grid!
Velocity Controlled Animation (VCA) in sync with your musical performance.
Complete control over what parameters you see on the screen.
Adjustable location for performance controls.
Editing never interrupts the sound and audio output.
Trippy full-color, animated particles, fire, and ring effects visually radiate under your fingertips and display real time pitch information.
Choose from a wide variety of scales and chords to assign to the playing surface with easy customization.
Choose to display names of notes or intervals to help guide you.
Consistent color display for pitch lines which indicate each step of the scale.
Playing surface is adjustable between 1 and 6 octaves.
Performance controls include octave shift, pitch lock on/off, record to delay buffer on/off, infinity delay setting on/off, and multi-function slider.
Unison detuning effect with separate pan control for that classic analog thickness.
Refined and intuitive FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesis can be assigned to the vertical grid or accelerometer.
Wave Sync Synthesis (WSS) can also be assigned to the vertical grid or accelerometer.
Volume separately assignable to vertical grid.
Adjustable note attack and release time.
Infinite-Track Loop (ITL) recorder features user-selectable measures and beats.
Record Undo and Redo.
FX include digital delay, stereo chorus, and tremolo, the latter of which is assignable to the X-Axis.
MorphWiz is available to purchase from the iTunes App Store for $9.99 USD.
Sound Trends has released version 1.2 of Looptastic HD, a live remix app for iPad.
Create your own non-stop remixes in an incredibly intuitive way. Combine over 900 high-quality loops with your own imported samples — without stopping the music! Personalize your performance with 9 touchpad-controlled effects. Capture your moves and export them as CD-ready audio files.
Changes in Looptastic HD v1.2
Performance Tempo Control — three fast ways to get in sync
Tap Tempo, the top user request, adjusts Looptastic HD’s master tempo to help performers match other gear, songs, or musicians. Just tap the screen on the beat and Looptastic HD locks in.
Tempo Nudge buttons momentarily raise or lower Looptastic’s tempo to ease the groove back into the pocket.
Direct Tempo Input enables the performer to input a precise tempo between 40 and 250 bpm (with 0.1 bpm resolution) using the iPad’s large onscreen keyboard.
Reverse Playback — add dramatic backwards sound effects to the mix
Looptastic’s unique Scratch Strip now enables performers to reverse the selected loop instantly during playback for ear-catching variations.
The Loop Toggle button is now implemented as two larger buttons — Always Playing and Touch To Play — for enhanced scratch control during live performance.
Stutter Effects — realtime sample-slicing is perfect for glitch and build-ups
Looptastic HD’s X-Y effects pad now has three new rhythmic effects designed in collaboration with virtuoso performer Jordan Rudess. Like all Looptastic effects, these work on any or all of the three mixer zones.
Stutter Looped lets performers trigger and repeat sounds via the X-axis and warp pitch via the Y-axis.
Stutter Stepped adds stuttering effects based on note lengths (1/8, 1/6, 1/32, etc.).
Stutter Gate clips the mix rhythmically for a more percussive-sounding stutter effect.
Looptastic HD is available to purchase for the introductory price of $9.99 USD. The price will change to $14.99 USD on May 24th, 2010. The update is free for current Looptastic HD owners.
Ants walking through IR gates manipulate the Auduino synth program. John spotted this at the RobotFest / Mid-Atlantic Mini Maker Faire. He writes:
I went to the RobotFest / Mid-Atlantic Mini Maker Faire yesterday. I saw this awesome project and thought you might like to put it on the blog. Basically it's an ant farm with optointerrupts. When the ants walk through the lightpath, they modify the audio output. The maker's name is Adam Franchino, and he was there with some of his classmates from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) His website is adamfranchino.net.
“This is a Jouney into Sound” is a demo of the RHIFID speaker control system developed for the Physical Computing class. Using a combination of RFID technology, Processing and Arduino, the speakers work as location aware controllers, allowing the user to interact with music and the environment by moving the speakers around.
Jordantron is a new iPad synth app that will include sounds by Jordan Rudess of Dream Theater.
Omenie in the comments:
The core sound generation is the Ellatron engine, and the same 'Toblerone' rotating keyboards have been retained – for now …
Inside it there’s quite a few changes, particularly trading off CPU burden against responsiveness – it’s become clear, particularly on the iPad, that it’s worth burning more CPU to get ultra-low latency for responsive playing, in Jordan’s hands this thing is *fast* and pretty amazing.
We are still shaking out details but the plan is to have different iPad and iPhone versions, slightly more voices in the iPad version as it supports apps with a bigger memory footprint than iPhone.
And yes, all new sounds, and unlike Ellatron all the sounds are stereo (and really immersive and immense) and have been pulled out of Jordan’s live rig, so these are authentic DT voices. So it’s not very much like a Mellotron at all! I think this one will turn out to be a must-have app for the DT fans, but the sounds are so damn PHAT that general synth hounds may end up picking up one of these to add to their arsenal.
Several EQs now have a mid/side mode. This opens up a lot of possibilities, but can be difficult to use effectively. Instead of simply tweaking the sound or the range of the controls, mid/side mode completely changes how the EQ behaves and sets new rules for how it can be useful and effective.
It helps to stop thinking about mid/side EQ as an equaliser – but instead to think of it as a surgical frequency-focussed stereo width adjuster. It works best on complex stereo material, such as groups or the mix bus.
I've always been a big fan of K'nex, ever since I was a little kid. Then, when I discovered this website, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. This is a "robot" that I built out of knex, it's designed to play the piano. This version can play up to a 16 note sequence in a 12 note range. I call it "Zeeanobot" (Zach's Piano Robot), corny, I know, but I couldn't think of a better name. I spent a lot of time on this, and I'm very proud of it, so please be nice. Just to be clear, I have not tried it on a real piano, I built it to play my Yamaha DGX-230. You may need to modify the design slightly to get it to work on real pianos or other keyboards.
# Sound Grain, a graphical interface where users can draw and edit trajectories to control granular sound synthesis modules. Sound Grain is written with Python and uses Csound as its audio engine. Csound 5 must be installed on the system to allow Sound Grain to run.