What will you do with this blank slate? Photo (CC-BY) Yutaka Tsutano.

Apple yesterday described their iPad as “this magical pane of glass that can become anything you want it to be.” So – how about making mobile devices into what you want it to be?

With the help of author Peter Brinkmann and publisher O’Reilly, we’d like to give you a taste of Peter’s new book, Making Musical Apps: Real-time audio synthesis on Android and iOS. Imagining that a lot of you are especially curious about iOS, we’ll include the chapter on how to get started with development. It really gives you a sense of how easy this can be; the challenge is, as it should be, coming up with musical ideas. And Apple did say that they thought that technology was at its best when it was “invisible,” not when it was “inaudible.” So let’s make it make some noise.

(Android developers, libpd actually got its start on Android and runs quite well even on very primitive Android handsets, so consider this a sample; the full book – and the libpd site – include loads of examples on the Android side, too. In fact, because libpd works basically identically on the two platforms, it’s a great choice for making cross-platform development easier.)

In this excerpt, Peter covers:

  • How to set up your development environment
  • Starting a project with Xcode, and including Pd
  • How to make a Pd patch run in your app
  • Making the Pd patch and your UI connect with each other (here, from the app’s UI to Pd; the book covers both directions)

In fact, in just a few pages, you’ll have a working guitar tuner for iOS. Have a look:

Read it on CDM’s Scribd page:

Making Musical Apps (Excerpt: How to Build a Music App for iOS)

Direct PDF download link, hosted by CDM (please don’t link to this file directly):
Making Musical Apps (Excerpt) [PDF]

I’ve read an advance copy of the whole book, and my review is simple: if you’re curious about this stuff, get this book. Peter’s style is friendly and precise; no technical detail is left out, and yet those details aren’t overwhelming. The book can be accessible to those new to development, which is essential for a title that’s likely to be read by people who are used to Pd, but dipping their toes into Java and Objective-C for the first time in order to get their patches running on a device.

Ready for the full book?

Get a printed copy on Amazon:

Or read the Kindle edition:

For multi-platform epub, mobi, and PDF formats, head straight to the O’Reilly page:
Making Musical Apps [shop.oreilly.com]


  • http://twitter.com/regend REGEND

    Thank you Peter. It always opens doors for me at work when I learn to code something new. I bought an iPad thinking I was going to use it but I hardly touch it compared to the iPhone. I do aspire to make a useful piece of software even if it’s only useful for my own workflow.

  • http://www.facebook.com/alexandra.murashova Alexandra Murashova

     Mobile apps are hot today. But hiring a programmer is too expensive. I used snappii.com to make apps. It’s really easy, the web service allows to make mobile apps in minutes, and without programming skills at all.

  • Michael

    I’m not a pd user (I like to type rather than mouse, so my audio toolkit of choice is ChucK) but the promise of libpd allowing deployment to these devices is very intriguing.

    I wonder though about the following important (some would say required) features of iOS/Android audio applications, and whether they might be supported along with libpd in an open source base template project.

     – audio copy & paste
     – MIDI clock sync in and out
     – send/receive OSC events

    If these are supported in libpd itself, all the better!

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Those are all things supported client-side in an app, so because they’re OS-specific, not things you’d want to support in libpd.

      Now, that said, on Audio Copy & Paste is it possible to have an open source template / is there a canonical version?

      Many people are doing MIDI and OSC implementation. It’s beyond the realm of a generic sample app, but could be worth having in the repository.

  • yuki

    I am so happy to hear this.
    Having both coding experience and experience with MAX, this seems like a godsend to me, since making musical apps is what I aspire to do.

  • http://seattleclouds.com/ how to make an app

    well said  about iPod 
    “this magical pane of glass that can become anything you want it to be.” and thanks for this geat post about how to make a music app.