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Imagining a Tablet Synth: Developer Christopher Penrose Shows Us SynthTronica for iPad

What can a new digital synth be in 2011? How will it work and sound? And given access to so many excellent tools, how can it stand apart? In place of a press release and some marketing-speak, developer Christopher Penrose (Leisuresonic, Cosmovox) sent us an extended essay explaining his thinking behind his just-released SynthTronica synth for the iPad. Aside from getting into the nitty-gritty technical details, it cuts to the crux of the issue: how to make something personal and new that nonetheless can work for other people, and how that idea can be tailored to a tablet. As the …

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Customization-Friendly Renoise 2.6 Arrives; Duplex Controllerism Explained

The tracker for the rest of us – now more customizable. Click for full-sized version. Ever wish your music software could do something your way, something it can’t do now? Wish you could just get in there and change it yourself? That’s some of the ambition of Renoise 2.6, the multi-platform music creation tool. By opening up the entire music tracker to scripting, users can create custom functionality and control surface. But scripting – while it sounds like the domain of hard-core geeks – doesn’t have to be daunting. That’s important, as presumably you want to spend some time making …

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Apple’s App Store May Not Work for Audio Devs; Developers Respond

Music software development includes some of the most sophisticated, expressive software out there. But it has long faced serious challenges in sales – audio software still appeals, generally, to a small slice of people, made smaller by factors ranging from piracy to the sheer complexity of available audio tools. As computing’s distribution model for software shifts, audio developers are undoubtedly watching. Love it or hate it, what’s unique about Apple’s App Store for iOS is that it’s a one-stop shop for everything. With App Store fever spreading – new stores for mobile and desktop are either available or planned from …

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Data+Music: Echo Nest and 7Digital on Discovery, Ping, and Social Music’s Future

Photo (CC-BY-ND) verityatthedisco. Remember the music industry? We used to talk about radio play and record deals. Now, we’re talking developers, APIs, and analytics. Of course, the test, now as then, is whether there’s actually substance for music listeners and artists. On Friday, we looked at Apple’s Ping and how, via TuneCore, artists who aren’t Lady Gaga can get their own pages. We also saw some vigorous discussion of TuneCore, which helps you get your music into “big bucket” sites like Amazon and iTunes, and SoundCloud, who together offer integrated sharing and distribution. The Echo Nest is an unusual animal …

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SoundPrism – Colorful, Playable iPad App – and Organizing Tones and Harmony Visually

The iPad may be the catalyst, but look beyond the platform, and you’ll see a reinvigorated examination of how to think about musical interfaces. If you’re looking to relax and make some musical noises on your iPad, check out the videos above. It isn’t actually necessary to fully understand the design work behind the interface to play and make music. But if you are interested in reflecting on the way design issues impact musical expression, and you’re a bit of a music theory nerd, read on. Using an array of rectangles arranged in a harmonically useful way, and color coding …

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Apple Opens Access to iTunes Library on iOS? DJ Apps to Follow, Flare Ships First

Developers for iPhone, iPod touch, and now the iPad have long complained about lack of access to the iTunes library, the file store and metadata for uploaded files. While version 3.0 of the OS provided limited playback capabilities (play/pause/stop), it was a far cry from what you’d need to build a DJ or other music app that made use of a user’s content. You couldn’t, for instance, adjust volume control, cueing, no mixing, or scratching. Update/clarification: I may have exaggerated how much access is available. Obviously, Flare is working, as you can see, but the question of the exact mechanism …

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iPad and Screen Real Estate for Music Making: bleepBox Developer on Process

After years of bitmap-based graphics and tiny knobs, making interfaces scalable could be the next challenge for music software, regardless of platform. Today, it’s the iPad; tomorrow, it could be a new generation of touch-equipped devices, or greater sensitivity to people with aging eyes and vision problems. Musicians, translating invisible sound to the metaphors of music notation, acoustic instrument designs, visuals, and the abstraction of hardware knobs and faders, have a unique perspective. (Steve Jobs used to regularly brag that the original Mac team was composed of people like musicians and artists, not simply technology specialists.) I got into a …

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Obsessive Windows 7 Under-the-Hood Guide for Music; Can You Finally Dump XP?

Windows 7 running on a laptop, as photographed by / (CC) Luke Roberts. Windows 7 makes far subtler changes than Vista did, which gives it an opportunity to refine features by the ship date. And it’s been tested unusually widely, by testers like Luke. Windows matters. It’s what roughly half of CDM readers use, and – for all the attention Apple gets – it’s a big part of the computer music world. Windows today also faces many of the same under-the-hood challenges that other operating systems do, so even if you’re a die-hard Linux or Mac user, you may want …

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Plogue Bidule Modular Music App: Get Started, Meet the Creators

PEMF Lessons: Bidule – Direct Cabling & Your Default Layout from Primus Luta on Vimeo. Ed.: Music creation is all about the special relationship we have with certain, powerful tools. And one app that gets very little attention is unquestionably the deep but elegant modular patching environment Plogue Bidule. CDM turns to power user Primus Luta to kick off a series on learning this tool, starting with an exclusive interview with Bidule’s creators. And if the interview sounds, at times, more than a little pro-Plogue in bias, make no mistake: this is love. Primus Luta takes it away, as we …

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