I’d all but given up home on miniMusic, but …

After a very long time miniMusic have announced an update to their only iOS app, PianoFly. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you probably also don’t know that miniMusic is part of real mobile music history. They were one of the first developers to bring music apps to the Palm OS platform way back in 1999!

Now they’ve announced an update. PianoFly 2.0 is coming! It’ll be back on the app store soon, which is great news.

From the beginning … PalmSounds on video, back in 2013: Palm OS controls

Moments in mobile music: 1 – miniMusic

As I mentioned yesterday I’m planning to talk about 10 ‘moments’ in mobile music that were important for me, and number 1 is miniMusic. It was a very big impact on my own personal journey into mobile music.

In fact, if I look back at the last few years I’ve cited miniMusic in lots of times and important moments.

When I look back to PalmSounds 5 year anniversary I was talking about miniMusic too. I don’t know what kind of percentage of overall posts on PalmSounds are about miniMusic, but I would guess it’s comparatively high.

Of course miniMusic did venture ever so briefly into the iOS world with the PianoFly Pro Synth, which was to be followed up with Tympanum, although that sadly never arrived. In fact they had big plans in the early iOS days back in 2008, which is when I did an interview with Chad from miniMusic.

I’ve been talking about miniMusic and Palm OS apps for a long time but I keep on reminding people about those days. Even in December last year I wrote a long piece in response to a question from Marc Weidenbaum from Disquiet all about early Palm OS apps and using them.

So you may be wondering why it’s so important:

When I first bought a PDA, a Palm III I had no idea that it could be used in any way to make music. In fact I pretty much used it just for being organised. Or at least that’s what I did to start with. As I started to discover sites like PalmGear and others I found a lot of different uses for my Palm and then I started to find some musical uses too. It was the beginning of something amazing, something that I’d be sharing with you for a long time!

miniMusic was a little revelation to me. I can’t tell you how much time I spent checking out every page on that site and following up every link. I found out everything there was to find out about making music on a PDA, and most of that was before PalmSounds was even started.

So that was where I began, and I can talk about music on a PDA for just about as long as you want (Mr Concreted0g will confirm this)!

My next moment will continue my journey in mobile music, and it’ll be with you in the next day or so …

AxisPad: A real PDA instrument

Of all the applications I’ve looked at for PDAs I have to say that I think that AxisPad is the only true instrument.

If you think about it all the others are sequencers of one form or another, that allow you to take sounds or create sounds for use somewhere else, or in another application, but AxisPad is an instrument in itself. It is the only handheld music application that you actually play.

Now, that in itself makes it very unique, but it also makes me wonder what are the attributes of a PDA (or smartphone) instrument application. So, what makes a PDA music applcation an instrument?

Here’s my first stab at a list of those attributes:

  • It has to be playable, like a real instrument
  • To play it well will take time
  • It must have an interface that copes with expression in some form
  • It must be more than just recording or sequencing

For me AxisPad is the start of a new form of music application for handheld devices that is more than just making music on the go or arranging new tracks. It is about giving mobile musicians the ability to find new forms of expression in mobile music.

According to the miniMusic development calendar the next step for AxisPad will be the ability to record and export. I am really looking forward to having the ability to record performances and then export them to enhance and manipulate them, I think that opens up some interesting possibilities.

A Four-Track for the PalmOS?


I love the idea of a 4-track (or more) on a palm. The idea is brilliant.

So, could SynthPad (or WavePad) from miniMusic be just such a thing? Well, I do hope so. I don’t expect it will be around soon, but I live in hope that it does come about.

MiniMusic are fairly good at delivering what they say they will (although perhaps a bit late), and so I take comfort that it won’t be just vapourware.

But what will it mean? Will it work in the same way as a traditional multi-track? Who knows. Would you even want it to, as the quality of mics on palm devices can’t be the best in the world.

So what will it be good for? The short answer is I don’t know, but one thing is almost certain. Whatever it does it will be interesting and useful.

I for one am looking forward to it.

SoundPad thoughts …

I hoping for a new version of SoundPad soon. Here’s what I’d like:

  • Square wave
  • Sawtooth
  • Copy and paste of sounds between bank
  • Lock sound
  • Lock bank
  • Export sound as wav (not hopeful for this one)

If I get one or two I’ll be pleased.

NotePad 1.4 Treo keys

I found this in a pile of papers today and realised that I haven’t used these keyboard shortcuts at all since I helped with the testing on NotePad 1.4. At the time I thought they’d be really useful and helpful, but now I don’t even think about them. Not that I am saying that it is a bad app. Quite the opposite. Nor am I saying they’re not useful, they may well be to others.

It is just interesting to me that some part of an app that you think will really work for you becomes forgotten in a very short space of time indeed.

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