Even before the world had seen the iPad, the promise of Lemur was a touchable interface that could become anything – a Star Trek-like world in which you could touch fluid controls directly to make live music and visuals.

The reality, though, was more limited. Users were limited to a library of widgets. That included useful controls, like knobs, faders, and even more far-out physics-enabled X/Y pads, buct widgets, nonetheless.

A major update to Lemur this week blows that wide open, in two ways. First, it overhauls how sequencing works, with both tighter timing and new objects, ideal for use with MIDI gadgets. Second, it has a widget interface that can become just about anything.



The sequencing will be recognizably useful to anyone working with MIDI gadgets. There will still be a place for dedicated sequencers, including on the iPad. But for those wanting to integrate sequencing with existing templates, this looks ideal. You can sequence notes, switches, or slider values using flexible controls, then combine them with the rest of your template. And since the timing engine has been overhauled, this also works well with MIDI gear. Accordingly, confessed hardware lover Sam Barker does the launch video, sequencing racks of gear live. (His oft-collaborator and fellow Berghain regular nd_baumecker calls on the phone at the end, “phoning in” his appearance. See our studio tour – and I think they have more toys since then.)

In addition to the three objects (StepNote, StepSwitch, StepSlider), you also get new options for taking advantage of sequencing. You can use Lemur’s internal clock as the timing for these objects, or sync to external clock. You can now trigger events based on musical subdivisions, not only milliseconds. And scripting can get and set clock state and bpm. (What you can’t do, yet, is output a clock from Lemur, which would make it a more full-functioned sequencer. However, since you can slave it to an external clock, you could use that as the clock source and focus on Lemur for parameter control.)

in other words, the scripting environment now opens up custom sequencing powers.



The sequencing is already compelling, but when you’re ready to go deeper, Canvas offers still more. It’s a new object that can transform into anything. Based on the HTML5 Canvas element – and thus friendly to anyone with some Web knowledge – it allows you to draw all sorts of custom shapes, and add animation, shadows, transparency, and more. You still get multi-touch support, and you can still work with Canvas as part of familiar Lemur templates.

To be clear, this is still Lemur scripting, but because it’s based on HTML5 Canvas specs, it works in a logical way (and could be easily ported to the Web, if you like).

When you’re ready to delve into all of this, the new release includes new bundled templates among other improvements, so you can get a head start.

With all this power comes new responsibilities for Lemur users. There was a call out for more documentation, so I’ll see if we can work with Liine and others to get some new examples and tutorials in collaboration with all of you in CDM land. Can’t wait.

Lemur is available as of today on the iTunes App Store, at US$24.99.

If you already own Lemur, you’re paying … nothing. If you don’t, I don’t have a very good argument for you, as any iOS 5.1.1 or later device is supported.

Now, the first person to make an Ableton controller that looks like a control panel on a Klingon Bird of Prey, wins.


  • jaja

    Looks fun, but I cant control any internal audio application with it. Looks like I have to get to studio to connect it with iRig.

    • Liine

      Sure you can. Lemur can control another app running on the same iPad. Get in touch with support if you’re having any issues.

    • jaja

      I got it working without contacting your support. I just didn’t figure out that instead of creating Lemur Midi Out I could choose from i.e. Animoog, I had to choos Animoog Midi In from Lemur midi settings.

  • Big Mister Doom

    For free!? Amazing. Would have happily paid.

  • Tom Ritchford

    Would you really want a clock from the Lemur? Surely you want the clock to come from something that’s actually emitting audio?

  • keratec

    would love to see if this is available for legacy users. i’m currently torn between purchasing a legacy standalone lemur and an ipad just to run lemur on.

    • Alexander Phleps

      I don’t think this is going to happen. Liine licensed Lemur and only does the iOS implementation. The original company that introduced Lemur dropped the product after the iPad was introduced (before Lemur for iPad was released). By now, they changed their name to Stantum and focus on other things …

  • https://soundcloud.com/boulder-d4sh Freeks

    Big thanx to Liine for iOS 5 support! My retro iPad is still as good as when i bought it years ago and i still have no need to upgrade, than to Liine and others who still support iOS 5.

  • Nick Shepherd

    ohhh how sweet :) really looking forward to try those tonight !

    looking great

  • Leow

    Downloaded the update this evening. Had some luck using the mono sequencer with Magellan, but couldn’t get things working with the included Canvas objects. Can’t figure out where in settings I need to set my MIDI destination to get something like the hex keyboard shown above to send notes to the right place. Any suggestions?

    • Leow

      Never mind. I eventually figured it out.
      I needed to change a value in the “noteout” expression within the updateValue() script. I’m using MIDI Target 1 to send to internal synths, so I needed to change the default 0 to a 1. Now it is working with Magellan.
      Looking forward to some tutorials about setting up and using these new Canvas objects, as I’m not a programmer.
      By the way, if the folks from Liine are reading, sometimes when I switch out of Lemur and then come back I lose the ability to use the in-app editor.
      Anyway, thanks for this great free update!

    • Nicolas

      Please get in touch with support@liine.net if you can describe exactly how and when the problem occurs with the In App Editor.

  • Asdfghjkl

    As awesome as this is – I still hope that someday Liine will port the Lemur controller to Win8. Not because I’m fond of Win8; I just want to use Lemur on a *big* multitouch display.

  • http://www.softcore.net.gr/ Softcore

    I have been a big supporter of Lemur on iOS since I bought it! I always thought the original hardware (Jazzmutant) was the “future” when it came out! With this update, Liine re-establishes what “future” is!!!!

    *disclaimer: YES, Im biased….I love the freaking thing – one of these days, Im gonna draw a woman on its canvas and ask her to marry me!

  • Bobby A

    Is iRig what most people are using to connect this to Ableton? I have yet to invest in an iPad midi interface

  • ahonoe

    Does anyone know if version 5 implements arrays that are larger than 127 bytes? This has been a terminal limitation of Lemur to-date.