Yesterday I spent two hours on the train between Croydon and Brighton. I like long train rides, and although this was only an hour each way it is long enough to get something done.
I spent the time working on some tracks that have been hanging around for a while. Mainly stuff that I’ve done from field recordings.
The other thing I did was tested the final beta of NotePad 1.4. The new features make it much more usable than before. However, my favourite new feature is the keyboard control from the Treo 650 keyboard. When I first looked at it I thought it was going to be difficult to use. But, after only a few minutes it all made perfect sense.
NotePad 1.4 will probably be around in a few days. It is really worth a look.
This application ranks in my top 5 for palm creativity. It has got to be one of the most unusal and ambitious uses for a palm handheld device.
SoundPad is an FM Synthesiser for a palm OS PDA. It allows you to create FM synthesised sounds which can then be used be other applications (NotePad and BeatPad initially).
This follows the software synthesis model of having an application which works as a sequencer / or host and other applications which work with the sequencer to provide sounds.
SoundPad runs in under 100k. It allows to create banks of sounds which you can then populate. The first screen is a bit of an admin screen really, giving you bank functions and allocating instruments to slots in the bank.
The second screen is the real eye opener. This screen is where you manipulate waveforms and their envelopes to allow you to create sounds. Each sound can be made up of up to four oscilators. Each oscillator can be set to noise if you choose.
Each wave has an ADSR Envelope. This can be manipulated using the superb interface.
Once you’ve made your sound other applications can access it, such as NotePad or BeatPad.
NotePad 1.4 is due to come out next week. Fantastic …
The chaps over at MiniMusic are cooking up another update to their excellent NotePad application. The new version includes:
- Scrolling Playback – Music will now scroll with playback.
- Page View – tap on new page icon or write/type the letter “z” to “zoom out” to a page view showing twenty measures of the song. The current measure is highlighted. Tap on a measure to zoom in on that bar (see lower screen shot to the left).
- Tempo Changes – Use the Change menu to set tempo changes anywhere in a song. Select a note and choose “Tempo Change” to change the tempo when that note is played. Select the same note and use the “Clear Change” menu item to remove a temo change (a change to 122bpm is shown in the top screenshot to the left).
- Instrument Change – Use the Change menu to set instrument changes anywhere in a song. Select a note and choose “Instrument Change” to change the instrument that will be used for this note and all following notes in this voice. Select the same note and use the “Clear Change” menu item to remove a temo change (a change to “Reed Organ” is shown in voice 4 in the top screenshot to the left).
- Keyboard support – Consult the graphic below to see the functions you can access from the keyboard or by using Graffiti hand writing. You can now exit the song, add rests, or change duration tools from the keyboard or Graffiti.
- Follow note entry – Song will scroll to keep up with notes being entered on the piano, entered using graffiti or entered on a keyboard (like the on Treo).
- Card Launch – NotePad can now be installed on a memory card (like an SD card in most current models). Both NotePad and its database (mMusicDB.pdb) should be installed into the “/Palm/Launcher” directory on the card (this is the default for all applications).
- Grid Screen Fix – No longer fills measures with rests; only adds needed rests as you draw.
- Song Scroll Bar – Quickly navigate to any measure in the song (shown in both screen shots to the left).
- Directional Pad – Use the left/right controls on your handheld/phone to scroll through a song (up/down still transposes notes).
- Select Color – On handhelds/phones with color screens, selected notes will be colored red (shown in top screenshot to the left, first three notes in voice 1 are selected).
- Library Scroll Bar – Quickly find a song anywhere in the category.
Should be fantastic when it is done, and hopefully that’ll be soon.
Last week I was away on holiday with my family. We went to the Isle of Wight, which is a family favourite. One thing that my family expect from me on holiday is doing slightly strange things.
Like what? Well, field recording with a mobile phone (Treo 650) for one thing. It isn’t easy to record sounds on a device that was built to be a mobile phone. But, it is possible, and this year I managed to get quite a good selection of recordings from our holiday.
However, recording software for the palm platform is not always easy to come by. This year I used Bhajis Loops, and whilst good it is not ideal for field work. I have also used Wave Edit Pro, and that too is good, but somehow not entirely satisfactory.
And so the search goes on.
Whilst away on holiday last week I made the decision to get rid of my HP Jornda 568 PDA. It is a sad day for me, as I’ve had it for a few years, and in the first year or so it was really useful. Sadly now I find that I hardly ever use it at all. It feels sad because it is a bit like an old friend you don’t want to lose touch with, but you know you’ll never have anything in common any more.
Some of the software is still useful, but for the most part I am using Bhajis Loops and NotePad/SoundPad, so it is difficult to use other applications which arn’t quite as intuitive.
It is a shame, and I wish I had a real use for the device as it is very nice indeed. Still, when you have no use for something like that, it just has to go.
One thing I’ve never been able to get my head around is how to use Psytexx. Perhaps it is because I never really grew up with software trackers in the early Spectrum / Atari days. Still, it is something I wish I could get to grips with.
In a world where this is precious little music software for the Palm platform it seems a shame to not use something like this.
Find Psytexx here:
Years ago I had a palm iiix (my first palm PDA). I really loved that device. When I found out that there were possibilities to make music with a device that small, I was astounded. My first departure into handheld music was buying MiniMusic software and an SG20 module for my palm IIIx.
Wow, that was fantastic. A full MIDI sequencer in the palm on my hand. For some time I thought that was the best that there could be.
For many years I’ve been interested in using handheld devices to create music. Simple.