Palm Guitar: PhonTuner

I used this to tune my son’s guitar today. It worked really well (and he was really impressed too). It wasn’t the cheapest of tuners, but the technology and interface are brilliant so I felt it was worth the extra money.

Palm Guitar: Perfect Pitch

Another good guitar based application for palms, but also available for PocketPC as well.


Here’s a useful app for palm guitar enthusiasts. I’ve only just started learning to play guitar, but I can see the use of this tool. I may look out some more guitar based apps soon.

Music thing: Whistler – the music program for non-musicians

Music thing: Whistler – the music program for non-musicians

I voted for this app as I think it is a really worthwhile development. However, I think the real niche for this would be on a PDA.

Minimusic have had this in RnD for ages. I don’t know if the hardware would support it, but I can’t think why not.

For me it would be almost a pinnacle for mobile music making. To be able to get a device to pick a hummed or whistled tune on the fly and then drag it in to another piece of software to manipulate or develop it. Cool.

The Mobile Studio: Wrap around Applications: Transpose

I found this on palmgear today. A simple yet effective little tool for helping in transposition. Useful and fun.

Learning music on a palm: Bugband

I’ve been thinking about how I use PDAs for various musical purposes, and one that I hadn’t given much thought to was learning music. As I am currently learning guitar at the moment this little application is perfect. But don’t be fooled into thinking it is just a bit of fun. It can seriously help you to learn, it is just a fun way of going about it.

Here’s what the minimusic site has to say about it:

BugBand helps you practice sight reading, letter names of notes, piano, guitar and brass instruments. With a practice level for the complete beginner and ten levels of difficulty, BugBand can help anyone improve their sight reading skills. Great for teaching kids the basics of music, helping students get through music classes at school, or anyone learn to play an instrument. Lots of bugs! Lots of fun!

The new 1.1 version adds: high resolution color graphics, brass instruments, high scores and many other new features to make it easier than ever to dive into reading music. Now supports sound cards built into Tapwave Zodiac and some Clie handhelds (T, TG, NR, NX, NZ) and includes software synthesis on most handhelds running Palm OS 5 or greater for better sound.

Like all of our software, BugBand supports MIDI playback on attached hardware (like samplers, keyboards, synthesizers, etc.). You can also set BugBand to accept MIDI input from any electronic music instrument so that you can practice your sight reading on a full size keyboard or electronic wind instrument! MIDI connections require a handheld with serial capabilities (USB only handhelds like the Zire 21, 31, 72, Tungsten E and others cannot be connected to MIDI instruments).

It couldn’t be more simple, but I’ve watched my daughter play with this for at least half an hour at a time, and be really pleased when she gets up a level.

Really worth a try for children and adults too.

Palm Drum Kit Studio: Oh dear!

So I loaded this onto my T3 and ….

… nothing!

Yeah, nothing at all, no sound whatsoever. Strange I thought, then it caused a crash. So I reset, I try again, same thing, so I give up. Shame, nice idea for a toy, but obviously not for me.

Palm Drum Kit Studio

Ok, this is a toy application more than anything, but fun none the less. The more musical toys you have the better I say, and as it is also freeware who can argue.

Click the title for the link to Palmgear to download.

Here’s the right up about it.

Play your sequence with this pretty Drum Kit Studio. Drums, Cymbals,
Hihat.. briefly drum-kit instruments you need are there. May be you
need double styluses.

Capers: Running the apps and more info

I have tried these apps on an OS5 device with little success. Where they worked best was when I had them working on my Palm IIIx using a Swivel Systems SG20. That was an excellent MIDI module in palm terms and worked really well with NotePad and BeatPad. The fact that it worked with the likes of hedgehog and burrito was a big bonus, but at the time I never delved deep enough into those apps.

Of course now I really want to I don’t have an Palm OS4.1 device anyway to use. So, I’ve decided to get an old Clie series palm. Why clie? Simple, the older clies (some of them anyway) have a built in MIDI chip and hence don’t need a module like the Swivel Systems SG20. If you’re interested there’s a good list of which ones have the chip at the MiniMusic site under the hardware section.

Anyway, I thought I’d put in some more information about the Capers applets / demos which I took from the cached pages of the original site. Sadly I have no images to post, but when I get a chance to get some put together I’ll post them.

Eggtimer {Demo} is a pattern-based MIDI-syncable arpeggiator with a two-dimensional control matrix for instrument parameters.

Hedgehog is a MIDI pattern sequencer. If you are familiar with the ‘matrix edit’ function of many upscale sequencers, or the ‘piano roll’ view, you’ll be right at home with Hedgehog. To make music, you simply draw on the grid: left and right is time, up and down is note. “What could be simpler?”
What makes Hedgehog so unique is its ability to sequence up to 16 MIDI controller values at every time tick along with the notes. For example, if you have a synthesizer that has filter cutoff, resonance, volume, pitch bend and LFO width controls, you can automate each one along with the note it is supposed to play. Think of the possibilities! We can’t describe the worth of such a tool in HTML. Just try it.

Hedgehog also syncs to MIDI F8 clock via Capers, and sends MIDI Sync as well, so it can play nice with your other gear.
There are math functions for pattern permutation: you can quantize a pattern to 1/8th, 1/4th or 1/2 notes, randomize the pattern or the controller sequence via various parameters, or stochastically alter the sequence while keeping either its tempo or melody. All in real time, while the sequence plays.

Capers can load any number of sequences, so you can load a group of them to play at once (or on different channels for different instruments.) Excited yet?

baby Hedgehog
baby Hedgehog is a standalone version of Hedgehog that lets you sequence 12 patterns and 2 channels per pattern. You don’t need Capers to use this version, and it is the version whose beta we are offering for free above.
From its menu system, you can set which controllers of the 16 each block refers to, the MIDI channel of the left and right side of the pattern, and the MIDI sync parameters.

Tractor Pull {Demo} is a MIDI controller LFO and control bank for controlling instrument and software parameters.


The Mobile Studio: Wrap around Applications: Spectrum Analysis

I just bought this app as another component to add to my mobile studio. I have to say it is an excellent application. Brilliantly responsive and really interesting to use. My plan is to use it to analyse the output from my work using my mobile studio to give me an idea on the range of the output. I’m looking forward to using it more in anger.

However, it is not an inexpensive application. I cost me about £20. I don’t mind as I think it is worth it to support developers who put these kind of apps together, and it helps me further build my mobile studio.

Here’s a few more of the technical details though:

The software generates real-time fading frequency spectrum or 1/3 octave ISO bar. An intelligent wave monitor window gives you a stable waveform display. Smart peaking envelopes are provided for music monitor. HandDee features makes speaker system frequency response & musical recordings check a snap.
More HandDee than standalone handheld audio RTA. (real-time analyser)

Features Highlight:

Waveform, fundamental frequency readout, plus either spectrum analyser or1/3 octave ISO bar display.
Fading reveals trends in waveform and spectrum plots.
Transition effect is even better than long persistence phosphor used in oscilloscopes.
Pause function for detailed inspection of waveform or spectrum / ISO bar display.

Other Features:

Waveform Display features

HandDee intelligent display with automatic triggering shows stable sound samples upon receiving stable sound input.
HandDee automatic scaling to expand low level sound signal for easy examination.
Digital frequency readout and marking on spectrum
HandDee fundamental frequency measurement with overtone rejection.
Loudest note display when multiple sounds detected.
Accuracy of about 0.5% or 1Hz, 10 times better than Fourier Transform.
Spectrum analyser & ISO bar Display features
Grid lines can be turned on or turned off.
HandDee musical sound peak power envelop.
1/3 octave ISO bar display.
Analyzer settings
Turn on/off grid lines.
HandDee preset analysis parameters for frequency and time averaging.
Three frequency scale selection.
15Hz-250Hz frequency range for woofer characteristic measurement.
15Hz-4KHz frequency range in monitoring musical performance or recordings.
15Hz-22Hz frequency range for all band response checking of hi-fi systems.

There’s a trial version available at palmgear. Try it out, it is fun to use.

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